Plots and Series

[About Cat Hartliebe] [Writer’s Stuff] [Cat Hartliebe’s Books]

cursed items series cover

I have several series of shorts. Cursed Items is one of them. I mentioned Low Level Demons before and you may have noted The Dragon’s Quest for Hopper falls closer to this category than novel. Even Genie Wishes is closer to a series of shorts versus a novel’s chapters.

What do I mean by series of shorts?

Why is it I don’t call them chapters?

A story needs to have a beginning, middle, and end. All stories do. Even within a chapter it is still suggested to have a beginning, middle, and end.

However, when you are dealing with short stories even among a series, it’s more clear cut. As much as the bigger story exists and shows its head, the “chapter” or short focuses in on the current trouble.

Series of shorts are common for things like TV shows. There may be an overarching plot, but each show has it’s own plot and focal point. Many of my stories end up doing that. As if one chapter is part of the bigger picture, but also its own separate story. It feels closer to life to do that.

I don’t only write this way. If you’ve read several of my books, you’ll notice I haven’t published these types of stories often. A few of the First Meeting stories end up like this. Same world with same characters, but they aren’t using the same story line.

I’m not even sure why I started to write this way. I would write up a short and then just continue as if the characters are going on another random D&D quest. I’m not very good at one shots. (Happy Puppy and Dark Silence are both one shots.)

In my stories, it’s rare to find a true series set up. That you need to read the stories in order to get anything out of them. I hate series like that. I’m not even sure if I have one besides Dragon Rider right now. Do you gain more reading in order? Probably, but it’s not required.

I think part of the reason I do this are collections like Discworld. Every book in the series is its own story without any real connection with others minus the same strange world. Or perhaps like Sherlock Holmes where he is the same character but each story has no real connection with another. You can read them out of order without issue. I’m not even sure of the order.

To be a series of shorts versus chapters, each short must have a separate plot. Not necessarily completely separate, but basically. The first short may bleed into the second, but should have little connection to what goes on in the fifth. In Cursed Items, the story continues, but each story has it’s own plot and existence. You can jump between them and only mess with the time line in your head. Each has an opening, middle, and closing. The series goes in time order and follow the overarching plot of returning to their true selves.

I especially aim for this is Low Level Demons. I always did. You are watching as this character and her friends level from first/second up to fiftieth. She has a background story. The original one you watch is her protection and attachment to her boyfriend. But a few others start appearing as the story continues. Still, she has to focus on the here and now issues which are whatever is happening in that direct short. Each opening is meant to reconnect you with the characters and story as of now, but I have to keep the information to a minimum.

This is even the same world as Tsuba Ren, Head of Hart, and Love or Die. Where I am in the story is why I finished the rewrite for Head of Hart. Low Level Demons is visiting with the Hart family a few months after Head of Hart finishes.

Out of the 6k words in Low Level Demons Mission sixteen, 250 are the reminder about what has happened up to this point. Each mission is meant to be between 5 and 10k. That’s my goal posts for my series of short pieces.

But Low Level Demons isn’t on the blog. And I worry about adding it since it can fall into erotica too easily. Let’s look at Genie’s Wishes (which… also should fall into erotica too easily. I need to watch myself).

First, in a general novel, the first chapter should be pure opening. It should have the hook to keep a reader reading. In a series of shorts chapter, an event has to take place. It needs to complete the beginning, middle, ending category. A novel’s opening chapter doesn’t have to. This is also why I start struggling with genre marks. It can seriously depend on the chapter which genre suits.

In my opening “wish”, the characters are met. You find out a lot about how demons and genies are special. And you get to find out my main characters are highly skilled.

Is there a clear beginning, middle, and end here? Yes and no. You can point at each plot coming through as a hook. None of them disappear as the story unfolds. This is the only written chapter with Forc in it.

Forc’s relationship with Aleania: more like close friends. Aleania worries over if this relationship can withstand marriage’s toils and troubles. Forc seems worried, he’ll not be considered “good enough”. The relationship comes out various times as the story moves forward. In Mission Eight, the relationship between Aleania and Forc is very murky.

Diss’s Wish: This starts the connection between Aleania and Diss. Diss is pretty much clear from the get go that’s he attracted to Aleania. He is open to staying in the town for the wish’s duration. Up to a year. When the option ends up being guard, he jumps on it.

Forc’s disappearance: This is the true hook that starts the story. Without anyone acting the wiser, Forc disappears. What happened to Forc is the entire main plot to the story. It also starts to become “Why did this happen to Forc?” and “Who did this?” “Who is at fault?”

All of the plot points bleed into the second short.

The reason I say this is more of a series of shorts than novel is because the second short is more its own story. The characters seek a place for rest and supply. Neither was ready to go on a quest to save someone. In the next town, they end up at a shop with a “ruby red dress sign”. It’s a paid sex shop. I wonder how many people noticed that. Aleania doesn’t know. She’s such an innocent.

Because the second wish is separate while also moving the story and characters forward, the series begins to look closer to series of shorts versus novel.

Which is better when you’ll only have a chapter posted now and again.

Wish three leads her to help a small child. It shows off her innocence and power and skill. She can use her wishes not just have her wishes use her. It is where they get horses and find a safe direction to travel.

Series of shorts do this. Ruby’s is going to show up in Aleania’s future. That small boy may or may not. The person who trusts Aleania with the horses will show up again. She’s proving her skills and personality. She’s learning and spreading her wings.

And to do that, I need little short stories within the main one. That will continue.

Ack. I’m probably making no sense at this point. Maybe I’ll try writing this more clearly another time. I’m a bit tired right now. I doubt I’m making a lot of sense.

[Writer’s Stuff] [About Cat Hartliebe] [Cat Hartliebe’s Books]

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