Today I posted the last two pages of the serial horror story “Court of the Abominatrix”. While certainly not my first attempt at serial horror, this is my longest horror serial to date. I thought it turned out pretty well.
The story ended up a lot longer than I first planned, but that’s true of almost everything I write. It certainly wasn’t as long as it COULD have been, and I actually carved a few bits out of my plans to keep the tale from becoming a full length novel. I think I just barely made it, depending on which definition of ‘novel’ you use. Still, the story itself progressed *almost* like I originally envisioned it. That isn’t to say that some significant surprises didn’t develop spontaneously along the way, but the story you read is for the most part the story I set out to tell. And I’ve wanted to tell it for a long time.
The idea of a group of people trapped in a maze with monsters and something worse at the center of it has been on my Pile of Ideas for literally years. It was already old when I derived a medieval version of it and called it “The Expedition”. Yup, it’s THAT old. It dates from the days when I thought I was going to be the next H.P. Lovecraft… and that style probably shows in many places. I hope it does.
What IS new, however, is the ultra-short 500-words per episode format. I hope you liked it, or at least found it tolerable, because you’re going to be seeing a lot of it in the future. I did it as an experiment, and I think it paid off massivley. I can say with only slight exaggeration that it is responsible for the return of regular (though small) updates to this site. There’s no other way I could sustain the effort given my travels. Not only that, but they brought a significant amount of enjoyment back to my writing. So yes, the micro-chapters are here to say. I will experiment with various mutations of it, but this is what you can expect going forward.
Now for a couple of parting shots about the story.
The Ending. Maybe you liked it. Maybe you thought it was confusing. All I can say is that it ended the way it was supposed to end from the beginning. It wasn’t a last minute decision to end it they way I did, and any confusion arises either from the bits I chopped out of the middle OR from what I intentionally didn’t make clear so as not to ‘spoil’ related stories that will be written later.
Jones. To say that Jones is a bit of an enigma is an understatement. He remains an enigma very much on purpose. You’ll think I’m kidding when I say that I revealed more of Jones’ past than I originally planned, and that most of what you DO know was meant to be kept secret. For now. The inclusion of Jones and his “issues” is something I definitely could have done differently. He NEEDED to be there, but given the restrictions of the format and the length, I think I could have done a better job. Don’t worry, if things don’t make sense now, keep Jones’ story in the back of your mind as you read future horror tales from me. Clarity is coming. Be warned.
Other stories? Does this mean there’s going to be a sequel? Yes and no. And Maybe. “Court of the Abominatrix” is/was a cornerstone story in a Lovecraft-esque mythos that I developed years ago but never quite abandoned. The Abominatrix herself is a major part of that mythos, although certainly not the central figure. Other stories, some of which you may have already read, derive from that same mythos. Certain concepts will show up repeatedly, either just mentioned in passing or explored in depth. The Abominatrix is one of those concepts. You’ll see the name again, you’ll see the events of this story referenced in a few places, and you may even see… well… you’ll see. What about a DIRECT sequel… a story that follows directly from the events of CotA? Obviously there are some “open issues” that could be explored here. But as of now I’m undecided on the matter. It’s more likely that any direct continuation of these events will be included (or mentioned) in a story that is not ITSELF a direct sequel… if that makes sense.
There are very few things that a writer likes more than talking about his own stories. I could go on (and on… and on…) here, but I’ll cut it short lest these notes end up longer than the tale itself. Feedback is welcome. I’ve tried to keep spoilers out of this post, but feel free to say whatever you’d like after this point. People who haven’t yet read the story shouldn’t read further until they do.
So… what did you think?