ANOTHER Another Story (unfinished)

Posted: July 11th, 2023 under Editing, Story, the writing life.

The brain, though still not ready to get back into classical Greek or pick up the calculus text, seems to have made another connection.  Or else, it’s the lack of dire mess in my office (though I thrive in having *some* mess, esp multi-colored mess, around me when I work.  Plus complicated music.)

Last night I considered doing some more work on the bedroom’s “organization” (lack thereof)  and the brain said “I’m WriterBrain now, not OrganizerBrain.  Let me remind you that you have several unfinished stories.”   So I said “Did you have one in mind?” because, again from experience, starting the *wrong* unfinished story sends WriterBrain into a frenzy of infodump.  Best to let the lake settle and take whatever the hand offers (some of you will recognize that reference in an instance.  Not mine.)  What WriterBrain offered up was the unfinished story of Aesil M’dierra.  I started that some years back, pulled it out again when working on Horngard I,  and got kind of stuck.   Last night, looked at again, and messed with, I saw what was wrong.  In a very dark mood I had written a very dark section of it very VERY vividly and it was dominating the rest in a bad way.   But by the time of the Horngard book, it was decades in her past.  In fact, she’s five years past it by the conclusion of this story, which means, to write it at that depth and intensity, this would have to be at least a novella and possibly part of a novel.  Sorry, Aesil, I don’t want you stuck in my head for a whole year.  I like you; I liked you when I first made you up, but not enough to live with you in the intimacy that giving you protagonist space and time would require.

Yes, I talk to my characters and they talk back.  She’s not actually that interested in re-examining her life that much.  Unlike the ones who march in demanding their book (or trilogy) her focus has always been somewhere behind my left year and behind me, when she’s standing in front of me.  She’s *there*, and vivid, sharp as crystal shards, but she’s never invited me all the way in, and…here we are.  However, in this instance, once I discarded the first half of what I had (leaving home, being thrown in jail, the vivid description of Valdaire’s jail and how (as in many European jails in the middle ages and even up to the 18th c.) if you didn’t have a way to buy your own food, you got very little if any from the jailers…the rescue from that, her arrival in Margay.)  Sudenly the story came alive again and Aesil was ready to show me how she got OUT of Margay.

Readers who have read “Mercenary’s Honor” either in Operation Arcana or in my collection Deeds of Honor will understand some of the backstory of enmity between Ilanz Balentos and the rulers of Vonja.  Other connections barely mentioned in other Paksworld fiction show up again, in the story I’m writing this week (and for however long it takes.  Who can know? Not me.)  You’ll know, sort of, where Margay is (between Vonja and Sorellin on the branch of the Guild League Road that connects the main one to Sorellin and goes east to the coast just south of the Eastbight…the Guild League standard design of it, though, doesn’t go much beyond Sorellin.   Aesil is so full of agency today (both today in my week and today in her world) that she interrupted senior commanders.  Her mind’s racing full speed trying to figure out how to rescue everyone she knows.  She can’t, of course, but it’s better than giving up.




  • Comment by Jonathan Schor — July 12, 2023 @ 5:44 am


    Hello – it is a tribute to your writing abilities that even some of your secondary characters have taken on a life of their own. Aesil M’dierra starts out as just another mercenary captain and has become a fully fledged person we can care about. Everyone has a past that has made them what they are today and since Aesil can’t write it herself you have to do it. It is also nice to read that the plot wheels are turning again.

  • Comment by elizabeth — July 12, 2023 @ 11:40 pm


    I am amazed and extremely happy about the outburst of stories. Maybe that most recent knock on the head knocked one of the little gears back into place?

    I really liked the character Ilaz Balentos when I wrote him in “Mercenary’s Honor”…his interactions with the young Aliam Halveric who’s only been coming to Aarenis with his company for a few years (relative to Ilanz’s long career.) He and Aliam stay friends. In this story, Kieri’s off at Falk’s Hall. I need to get to bed now; it’s well after midnight.

  • Comment by Jim DeWItt — July 13, 2023 @ 12:51 pm


    Elizabeth, I cannot find “Mercenary’s Honor” in my copy of “Deeds of Honor” or any mention of Ilanes Balentos. “There’s an Arvid tale, “Point of Honor,” but nothing of Vonja there. Is there a Paksworld collection I am missing?

  • Comment by Richard Simpkin — July 14, 2023 @ 4:59 am


    Jim, “Mercenary’s Honor” will be in the new “Deeds of Youth”, is what her earlier post said.

  • Comment by elizabeth — July 14, 2023 @ 8:17 am


    Thanks for giving Jim a quick answer, Richard.

  • Comment by elizabeth — July 14, 2023 @ 8:27 am


    Three more days, Jim. It’ll drop on devices Monday the 18th, along with the rest of DEEDS OF YOUTH. Hereafter (at least HERE and after) to be referred to as “the *green* Paksworld book” or “the *green* DEEDS of book.” DEEDS OF HONOR is of course the *red* Paksworld book. If my old brain holds out, there will be four “Deeds of….” small books of short stuff, and then four “Tales of…” small books of short stuff. The next DEEDS of book will be blue, and the one after some shade of “brown/tan”. In my most egotistical dreams, someone will make a slipcase for first four, and then it will be a no-brainer for them to make a slipcase for the second four, and I will have achieved that pinnacle of author daydreams of having some of my books in *sets*. (Well, OK, SOME authors’ daydreams. And by then, if it happens, I’ll probably be pushing up wildflowers.

  • Comment by Daniel Glover — July 18, 2023 @ 3:54 am


    I am already looking forward to the next set of short stories. These are sounding fabulous!

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