©2022 Michael Raven
As I warned everyone a few days ago, I’m moving forward with writing a serialized bit of fiction here, written in real serial episodic, soap-opera, fashion: totally by the seat of my pants. Depending on how it is received, I will try to add episodes weekly — if it is roundly criticized as a turd, then it’s lifespan will go the way of most primetime television shows and be cut off, perhaps “mid-season”. If there is continued interest, I will continue to write for it to see where the story ends up.
The first post will come to life later tonight.
Originally, I had called it “Slideways” as a working title, which works, but didn’t have the sense of mystery I wanted for it. I had considered “fell; gate” and “Ash and Thorn”, which would have both been titles I could fit into the vague scheme I had in mind, but almost immediately after posting a survey on Twitter, I had decided that the former had the most potential, if slightly modified to “fells; gate”. For the record, the survey with 14 responses (not very statistically significant), ranked the titles: “Ash and Thorn”, “Slideways”, and “fell; gate”.
I have my reasons for shifting the title to what it is currently, which may become clear later on in the story — but suffice it to say that the word “fell” has deep, alternate meanings in the roots of the English language, and is the same root as the word “felon”. I think I’ll let everyone just chew on that tidbit instead of explaining further.
I’m still working out the exact premise as I write this serial, but the scene is a futuristic Sprawl so dense that the only way to build is up (there is no more “outward expansion” left). At the largely forgotten lower end is something worse than slums: there is zero option for upward mobility. At the upper end are the corps with their ultrarich suits. And there is the slice in the middle, who are relatively safe there, although anyone can fall.
This story is mostly not about the middle or the upper parts of the Sprawl. It is about the wastelands under it all, and some very concerning signs coming from that end of the Sprawl.
My goal is one episode per week. To keep each episode compact (and more “portable”), I am setting a soft limit of 1000 words per episode. This is to keep me from rambling on about things that might add flavor or backstory, but ultimately don’t add to the story. This limit may become a hard limit after I’ve had some practice returning to serialized storytelling (I am treating it as a hard limit already, but will be flexible if I feel there is good reason).
Anyway, encouragement and constructive criticism would be welcome if you feel a burning desire to do either. While I am treating this much more seriously than I have with other fiction I have posted on the site, there is a chance that I have overlooked critical spelling and grammar mistakes. I will correct those types of flaws if you catch them and let me know. Plot holes and stylistic elements that are pointed out will be seriously considered, but I will probably not make any significant changes to those parts of the online story (although I will consider them if I decide to rewrite this at some point).
Thank you for taking the time to read this. While I plan to always post here, I may consider publishing in tandem on Wattpad for those folks who like the ease of navigating stories on that platform. For now, we’ll see how interested everyone is in what I have on tap and I’ll add that option if it seems to be appealing to multiple people.
One final housekeeping note:
I am using some art by WEZ/Derek Weselake for the header to set the tone to this serialized tale. I do not own the copyright and it will be removed if someone with authority requests I do. Seeing as it is all over the internet, I doubt anyone will be too quick to make such demands, but I do respect copyright. It may disappear without warning as a result.
However, I would love to use your art if you employ a similar theme and are willing to work under a share-alike agreement. Hit me up in the contact form if you are interested in having your art showcased here. I can’t pay you, but I am willing to promote your work.