Hey, I wrote a story about that . . .

August 6th, 2014  |  Published in writing

When writing science fiction, every once in a while you will see something that you wrote about actually happening (much sooner than anticipated). It’s weird, but makes sense. But when writing fantasy, not so much. A while back, I wrote a story called The Ash Tree (it’s available for free at Broken ShoresSmashwords, Barnes and Noble, and elsewhere so you should go read it if you haven’t already). It was the first story that I wrote in the Broken Shores setting, and it is still one of my favorites. One of the central elements of the story was the eponymous ash tree in the courtyard of a residential block (thanks Azby Brown for the architectural inspiration) which had many kinds of fruit and nuts grafted onto it. So I was kind of surprised to read about just such a tree the other day. Granted, grafting isn’t exactly new, but some of the early readers had told me that the grafted tree was a little ‘out there’.

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A First Draft

May 7th, 2013  |  Published in ShoStoWriMo

I haven’t really gotten much writing done this past week. Which isn’t to say that I haven’t wanted to, but rather that I haven’t made enough time to do so (and to be fair, some of this is out of my control). In fact, as I have been consuming a bunch of short fiction, in the form of Diverse Energies, Podcastle, and Escape Pod (and then At The Mouth Of The River Of Bees and High-Tech Gothic), I have had a lot of ideas for stories, which is frustrating as I can only work on one at a time. One of the great thing about Speculative Fiction is that, once you read enough of it, the outlines of a great conversation begin to emerge (a similar phenomenon can be found in philosophy), and the more of that conversation that I see, the more I want to participate (and in the case of short fiction, the more attainable that participation is). At the moment, there really isn’t much to do about it, other than to make notes about the stories I want to write (which are great to have for when you sit down to write but aren’t able to come up with a story, by the way). But enough about that, this post is titled “A First Draft”.

Back when I first started to work on Broken Shores, while I was still figuring out how the world worked (I hadn’t figured out what to call it, if I recall correctly), I wrote a short story with the working title of “Assassination”. I liked this story, but Broken Shores went a different direction, and I shelved it. But I have always wanted to dust it off, and make it work, but every time I looked at it, I was daunted by how much would need to change (almost all of it). Well, fuck it. I’m going to make it work, and you get to see the process. Just remember that what follows is a ROUGH DRAFT, and will be full of errors (continuity, plot, grammar, and otherwise) and represents a direction that the Broken Shores setting could have gone, but didn’t. Really, I want you to go into this expecting less than nothing. If you continue to read beyond this point, you will never get those minutes of your life back, and I cannot be held responsible, so don’t bother asking. Also, although I dislike doing it, I’m going to put a page break after the first scene, which I hope doesn’t mess with the feed/email subscriptions, but if it does I’m sorry. Feedback is welcome, just keep in mind, there is much necrotic tissue that is already marked for removal. Without further ado:

Assasination (working title)

by Tom Dillon

FIRST DRAFT (“here there be errors”) / 6.27.2008 / approximately 6,200 words

“We must never forget our history, what our forefathers went through to ensure our safety.  We have become complacent, and there is nothing to stop another disaster from occurring.  My opponent insists that the time for caution is over, that the threat is past, but it is not.  If anything, it is greater than ever.”  Senator Burien’s words blended into the noise of the crowd as something else caught Devin’s attention.

The man was easy to spot, moving quickly through a crowd that seemed to sway sluggishly in Devin’s ramped-up state.   She didn’t bother to signal as she braced herself, the guards on the perimeter had already done so.  The guards on the stage with her noticed as well, and she heard a series of thunks from their crossbows just moments before a few quarrels embedded themselves in the man’s chest.

The bolts didn’t slow the man down, he kept on dodging through the crowd as one of his hands plucked the quarrels from his chest and the other drew a long knife.  The guards that were closest to Senator Burien bunched up, making a human wall in front of him.  Even if the assassin got through them, they would slow him down enough for Devin and the rest of the guards to do their jobs.

Then the assassin jumped.  His momentum carried him in a smooth arc over the guards’ heads.  He ducked his head and crossed his arms in front of him just in time for the metal plates on his forearms to deflect three or four more quarrels.

He landed to the left of the main bunching of guards, in between them and her.  He ricocheted off of them, heading straight for her.  For a moment, his face was nearly touching hers, and she could see the tinge of blue under a layer of powder.  Then she felt her dagger slide along one of his ribs.  It caught, then he shoved off of her causing the blade to snap off as she lost her balance.

Even ramped up as she was, it was over by the time she regained her feet.  Senator Burien was on the ground, the assassin’s knife protruding from his temple.  It wouldn’t matter how much Ve they pumped into him, there was no coming back from something like that.

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Nothing of substance this week.

April 4th, 2013  |  Published in announcement

Although I’ve been trying to get in the habit of writing a blog post each week, the laptop on which I write has had an accident. That being said, I do have a couple of updates for you. I’ve been working on a YA short story, and I recently passed the 7,000 word mark, so the rough draft should be done soon. Second, I’ve been making notes for the Broken Shores story that I’m working on, and even came up with something that might work as an epigram for it: “The danger is, as always it has been, that in our reaction to violence we not only become incapable, but also undeserving of peace.” It will probably change, but it fits the story, so not too much. Finally, it is April, which means that May is coming up, and I have decided that I will run the Short Story Writing month again. However, since setting up and moderating a forum has been a pain in the ass (and time suck) I’ll probably do it as a Facebook or G+ group this year. More news on that in the next couple of weeks.

Update: I went ahead and made a Facebook page, this year all things ShoStoWriMo will be at http://www.facebook.com/ShoStoWriMo. Although, there isn’t much there now, there will be soon.

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At long last, a new Broken Shores story.

August 14th, 2012  |  Published in announcement

It has been, way, way too long in process, but I have finally posted a new Broken Shores story, Tragedy and Triumph. It is the third story about Kai (following Bound and Saw, Chisel, and Plane) and some of the larger plot elements that I have been thinking about from the very beginning are starting to come into play. If you haven’t read any of the stories in the series, you can start with this one, or you can start from the beginning (or anywhere in between).

As for why this story took so long, there are several reasons. Part of it is that I have been working on other stories (I have written three other rough drafts since I began), but the main reason is that I finished the rough draft of this, and sent it to my first reader, who in turn sent it back, saying that it was woefully incomplete. After a few more drafts, I have a story that I’m really proud of, and I hope you enjoy it, too.

What’s next? First, I am still in the process of publishing the stories on Smashwords, which involves formatting work as well as creating a cover. The next one to go up will be Saw, Chisel, and Plane. Also, I have a new Horizon Station story that is getting close to completion, and might be posted as early as next week (depending on how my final tweaks go today). I’ll keep you updated.

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More free stuff on Smashwords

July 10th, 2012  |  Published in announcement

FractalI just published Fractal on Smashwords, which means that I’m all caught up as far as Horizon Station is concerned. This, in turn, means that I will now start putting the finishing touches on Heist, the fourth Horizon Station story, and will probably have it up by the end of the month.

In other news, I’m still trying to decide what to do with The Revolution Will Not Be Microwaved. I’ll probably end up putting it up for sale in the same manner as The Press and Try Not To Panic. You’ll know when I know. Also, I have a new Broken Shores story that’s pretty much finished, and hope to have that posted by the end of the month as well.

As far as what I’v been actively working on, I’m still writing the rough draft for The Symbol Formerly Known as Google. It’s coming along nicely, although the holiday slowed my writing for this past week.

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New Broken Shores Story

February 24th, 2012  |  Published in announcement

I have finally posted the new Broken Shores story, The Forked Path, for your reading pleasure. It is the continuation of Danika’s story from The Root of All Things (although it should stand on its own). I’m quite happy with how it turned out, and think that you will be, too. Enjoy.



February 14th, 2012  |  Published in announcement

Today I’m spending my time on Broken Shores (which you should totally check out if you haven’t already, its a nontraditional fantasy, closer to Modesitt than Tolkien), which is sorely in need of some attention, so there won’t be too much going on here. I do plan on having a new Cover Design article for you either on Friday morning or sometime Tuesday. If you’re looking for something good to read, I’m reading Saladin Ahmed’s Throne of the Crescent Moon, which is interesting so far, and a welcome change from Western fantasy (the fact that one of the main characters is a chubby old guy is fantastic).

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New Story Over At Broken Shores

November 22nd, 2011  |  Published in announcement

I just posted the sixth Broken Shores story, Trust and Vulnerability. I’m really happy with how it turned out, so you should go read it. That is all.

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