Scribbling Done Yet Not Done

by syaffolee

I am still behind on my ultimate Augnowrimo goal, but I’ve got to tell you, I am quite relieved that I’ve finally finished the short story portion of that goal.  I have never had a story give me so much trouble before.  I probably had around ten to twelve false starts before I really got going and even when I did, it was like jabbing pencils into my skull.

Creativity, unfortunately, is not a smoothly flowing stream.  Sometimes, the words just don’t come no matter what you try to do.  The really crazy thing is that I’m only doing this for fun.  I’m not sure what that means.  Maybe that I’m a masochist.

So what’s going to happen to this short story?  Well, it’s going to be edited during the rest of the month (while I’m doing some catch up on some other story) and then submitted to the Augnowrimo anthology.  Just for fun, of course, as I’m never going to see the profits from the sale of that book.  I think I’m mostly doing it for the infinitesimal chance that someone’s going to read it.  I’m not sure if that chance will be larger or smaller than if I had just posted it online as almost no one reads my online novels anyway.

A bit about the short story: The title is In the Hall of the Mountain King and is based loosely on the Norwegian fairy tale and Henrik Ibsen’s play Peer Gynt except there are no dairy maids and no worm-shaped trolls. (As this is set in the same universe as Sign of the Wyrm, my Julnowrimo project, I’m not having wyrms or worms as bad guys.)  But while my Julnowrimo project was set in Victorian England–or an approximation thereof–this short story is set in the present, in Idaho.

Idaho?! you might be thinking, Are you mad? It’s the least interesting place to set a story. Well, some people might think so.  I thought it would be a challenge.  And it certainly proved to be one.  The story itself takes place in a made-up town called Tangent which is based on a real location: Wallace, Idaho, the self-proclaimed center of the universe.  If you’ve ever been to Wallace, you’ll know exactly why I chose that place as the setting for the story.  It’s surrounded by mountains and one can easily imagine it as the home for trolls that have been transplanted to America.

The main character, traveling east to see family, is stuck in Tangent when a snow storm blocks off the mountain passes.  That’s when weird stuff starts happening and she begins to believe that there are trolls living underneath the mountains.  I view it as a fun adventure story rather than anything serious.  I mean, at one point, I even considered having one of the protagonists haul in a cannon to blast the trolls in the fight scene. (Instead, I used a variation on the chandelier* falling from the ceiling gag.)  I like the short story form.  It’s the length of story I originally started out with.  But I was just sort of tired of all the serious and depressing short stories that are currently out there, so I decided to write a silly one instead.

*No chandeliers, real or virtual, were destroyed during the course of writing the story.