New Story: Court of the Abominatrix

Short version:

I’m starting a new experimental serial fiction project. It involves extremely(!) short chapters updated three times a week.
The story is called “Court of the Abominatrix“. The first part/chapter/page is here. It isn’t much right now; give it a few more pages before the actual story kicks in.

Long version:

Even with the Book of Dark Places permanently shelved, the itch to do regular serial fiction is still strong. The problem is that, in the OLD days, a single “update” from me ran anywhere from 10,000 to 15,000 words, sometimes more. Sure, it didn’t start out that way, but over time I kept trying to put more and more “story” into each chapter, resulting in longer chapters and longer periods of time between each one. I got extremely tired and the whole thing collapsed. I’m not likely to reach that level of output again unless I’m doing it as a paid, full-time job. But what I can do is shorter, more regular chapters. That’s what I’m trying to do with “In Deed,” which I can hopefully update every other week.

The problem is: That’s not enough. I’m a realist, and the reality is that I’ve got maybe 10 people reading my stuff with any regularity. I’ve got to rebuild my audience, and I’ve got to keep them coming back a lot more often than once every couple of weeks. Even once a week is inadequate; I need an update schedule more like what the webcomics do. I was trying to address this with the “three times a week” schedule on BoDP, but I couldn’t keep it up. The graphics work was just too much work. Even with a standard text story, chugging out multiple chapters a week just can’t be done by me if I want to stay married and sane. But what about something shorter? What about… what’s a good number… 500 words?


That doesn’t sound like much at all. And it isn’t. But I can do a lot in 500 words… hell, I can do a lot in just 55 words, as you’ve seen. So I’ve decided to do a little experiment. I’m going to tell a story in 500-word increments, one “page” or “chapter” or whatever you want to call it, every other day. Mondays, Wednesdays, and Fridays. I have no doubt that this is sustainable. I can write 500 words even on a BAD day. I can write 500 words even when I’m traveling. Whether the story will be GOOD when told in this way… that’s what I’m trying to find out.

And so, I give you “Court of the Abominatrix”. This horror story had been sitting around in my files for years before it fell victim to the Great Hard Drive Apocalypse. But the idea was too twisted to die, and I’m reproducing the storyline from memory, 500 words at a time. Obviously it won’t read like a “regular” story, and it might be frustrating to people who want to sit down and read a complete story from beginning to end. This isn’t for those people. This isn’t for people who are hungering for the 15,000 word chapters that I used to do every other week in the old days. This is for people who are already accustomed to the way webcomics work: a tiny section of story every few days, rather than a huge chunk every few weeks.

The update schedule for “Court…” is Mondays, Wednesdays, and Fridays. Episodes may show up on the afternoon/evening of the previous day, depending on how busy I am. I will probably post notices and links here in the blog for every update, which means the posting frequency will increase. That may be annoying as well, but it’s necessary to get the word out to the search engines and such.

Your first thought after reading the first page of the story might be: “Huh…?” That’s to be expected. Keep reading, give it time, and remember that the next section of story will be arriving in a few days instead of the few weeks/months/years(!!) that you’re accustomed to. It will all make sense soon enough.

Feedback is welcome at any point, but right now there’s really not enough story to form an opinion yet. Still, if you’ve got something to say, you know what to do.


  1. udgang99, May 11, 2008:

    Maybe you could make a system where people could sign up with their emails, and then you could mail every new chapter out. With a link back to the site of course…

  2. udgang99, May 11, 2008:

    I mean, I would be happy to get an email from DI with a new micro-chapter three times a week!

  3. DarkIcon, May 11, 2008:

    That’s a great idea. If this turns into something that I keep doing, I’ll certainly look into it. Right now it’s just an experiment, though.

  4. Kragon, May 11, 2008:

    This is a great idea man. I’m about ready to read what you got now. I’m sure this will work out man. The e-mail idea sounds good too man. I’m more then willing to get a tri-weekly update on the workings of Dark Icon.

    All of us DI fans need our fix man. lol

  5. DarkIcon, May 11, 2008:

    One huge crack rock every other week or so…
    or a few crack chips every other day. As a drug dealer, I think there’s more money to be made with the chips. :-)

  6. Kragon, May 11, 2008:

    I say of few chips every other day or so would do fine. And looking back at my last comment I say lets play a game and see how many times Kragon can say man in one paragraph. lol.

    My family is having a Bar B Que today for Mothers Day and needless to say I have a few beers in me.

    Gotta relax sometime. lol

  7. WizardofOz, May 13, 2008:

    DI, if you do want to do the email thing let me know and I’ll let you use my autoresponder.

    People can sign up to your list using a form here on your site, and when you want people to know something (including automatically telling people about new posts here on your blog), you just craft a single email and it automatically hits your entire mailing list.

    All management is taken care of by the software.

  8. nate, May 13, 2008:

    Is it just me or is there nothing there to read? I’ve tried from two computers and all I see is a hyperlink to the contents, which leads to a hyperlink to page 1, which leads nowhere.

    I too like the idea of an email thing, although I check the web site daily M-F, and most weekends anyway.

  9. DarkIcon, May 13, 2008:

    Worked for me from two different computers.
    Anyone else having a problem?

  10. WizardofOz, May 13, 2008:

    Must be you. I saw it just fine.

  11. DarkIcon, May 13, 2008:

    The problem appears to be unique to IE.
    You aren’t one of those sadists that still uses Internet Exploder, are you, nate?

  12. nate, May 13, 2008:

    Well, ain’t that just Nucking Fice! Here I am, one of Di’s biggest fans, and I can’t even read his latest writings.

    Just tried it again from my home computer and nothing. I’ll send you a screenshot so you know what I’m seeing, but apparently it’s just me. I had thought it was the computer at work because of their dang restrictions, but I don’t have that problem at home and still can’t see it.

    Maybe this is what I get for bugging DI about hooking back up with Rapina. Last I’d heard from her they’d been in contact again and she was getting ready to resume. Oh well.

    Nah, even I don’t think he’d be that hateful of a cuss.

  13. DarkIcon, May 13, 2008:

    It’s only 500 words, I doubt you’ll fall too far behind.

    It’s fixed in IE for me now; try it again on your end.

    Oh, and get yourself a real browser.

  14. nate, May 13, 2008:

    You must have been posting as I was typing.

    I’m afraid I am one who uses IE. No real particular reason though, it’s just what’s on the computer so I never bothered to change it, plus I’m not sure how to get my dialup utility (netzero) to work with something else.

    I’ve heard of things not working in IE before, but don’t know enough about it to understand why that would be.

    Oh well, maybe I’ll look into Firefox and see if I have any better luck. It just won’t happen any time soon, but at least I’ll have a whole bunch of writing to read when it does.

  15. nate, May 13, 2008:

    You did it again!

    Yes, it’s working now. Thanks.

  16. nate, May 13, 2008:

    Yep! You can pack a lot into a few words. Good start.

  17. Kragon, May 13, 2008:

    LOL! Yeah, IE sucks. As does Windows in general. I scraped it and a buddy of mine loaded up his own program for me that he based off of Linux. Needless to say. 100 times better then Windows.

    So ya man. Look into FireFox soon.

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