Court of the Abominatrix: End Notes

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?


12 Comments

  1. Chris, April 3, 2009:

    The story ended the only way I could imagine it ending: just enough closure to call it an ending, but more questions than answers.

    The vengence on Sarah gave a nice peak into the _new_ Owen. I enjoed the image of Jones standing against a hoard of abominations.

    Thanks for the story Marc. You don’t often get to tell an author directly that you’ve enjoyed their work, but this serial fiction has kept me refreshing your blog every MWF for months now.

    I’m a sucker for sequels… I hestitate to admit some of the novels I’ve purchased long after they stopped being remotely good (I’m looking at you Terry Goodkind), so I’d love to continue reading in this world… unless you decide to reopen Crusade, which remains my hands-down favorite (December is second).

  2. epm, April 4, 2009:

    Nice ending and close to what I expected after reading the last chapters.
    I like this “small updates” format because I can read it fast if I do not have much time or wait a little bit more and read a larger part of the plot. Although I was not able to wait in these past months, I needed to know what would happen.
    The begining was a bit confused due to the large numbe of characters, but it got easier to follow quite fast.
    Nice work.
    Now, do you have some december avaiable?

  3. DarkWizard, April 6, 2009:

    Personally, I liked the ending. It was wrapped up without the ending being spoon fed. Owen is taking care of the women that have a talisman and jones is killing the “monsters”

  4. nate, April 6, 2009:

    Good story. Seemed to be a quick ending. Now I have to go back and read it again all at once.

    I really like the MWF updates, even if they’re short. Would love to see Crusade in this manner, at least to finish out the current plot line.

    Take some time, but not too much, as a break. We’ll be here when you return.

  5. DarkIcon, April 6, 2009:

    Do you remember (or need) the magic link that displays the entire story at once? I know you like to print things out.

  6. nate, April 7, 2009:

    I remember. Already copied and pasted into a single file for reference, and the odd chance that at some point in the future you need it back due to a hard drive crash or something.

  7. udgang99, April 7, 2009:

    I love the “small chapters” way of reading. I would still like it if I could sign up somewhere, and get every chapter in an email – that way I can read it while the boss is looking away, while I still look like I’m working.

    … soooo … next project must be the return of Mr. Hope! ;-)

  8. Caber, April 8, 2009:

    Interesting ending. My memory may be a bit hazy, but wasn’t Jones sent into ‘the maze’ because of the demon inside him and what it made him do? Will Owen have compassion when it comes to dealing out justice for the one responsible for sending Jones in there?

    I take it the book allows Owen access back into the maze (and maybe other places)? I understand he wants revenge, but brutally murdering all those women is going to attract attention. After spending time in the maze, he doesn’t strike me as the sort who would want to go to jail.

    The demon got what he wanted, but did Jones? A bittersweet ending for the man…and Owen left the poor guy there to boot.

    If these smaller chapters mean you’ll be writing more, then I’m all for them.

    Alright, time to snuggle up to St. Pauli Girl.
    Adios.

  9. DarkIcon, April 11, 2009:

    Jones was in the maze for the same reason as all the others: Somebody put him there. In his case, it was his mother. Jones felt it was justified given his propensity for killing the shit out of random people… but as a flashback toward the end shows, those ‘random’ people may in fact be better off dead.

    Yes, Owen can now travel between planes of existence as easily as walking through a door. And he’s a genius. And he knows that something very very unpleasant is going on ‘behind the scenes’ of reality, because he’s seen it for himself. He knows he’s got work to do… work that involves quite a bit more than revenge on a bunch of women. Besides… he’s a pissed-off, plane-traveling, genius martial artist. Do you REALLY think I’m gonna let a character like that just disappear? If so, you haven’t been reading my stuff very long. I’ll go ahead and say it now… Owen may not be the central character in another story, but you WILL hear from him again. Possibly several times.

  10. nate, April 12, 2009:

    Owen was allright, but I’d rather see some more of a certain arrogant, shap-shifting, ladies man.

  11. DarkIcon, April 12, 2009:

    You mean the thing that was pretending to be Brad?
    Hell, he’s significantly less dead than anyone else in the story.

  12. DarkIcon, July 17, 2011:

    I’m just finishing up an audiobook from Scott Siglar called “Nocturnals”.

    There are quite a few ways to sum that story up, and one of them might be:
    “Deep underground, a hellish, gigantic female creature kidnaps and rapes men from the surface to create an ever-growing family of monsters, each more grotesque than the last.”

    That sounds like a cool story, right? Hell yeah! In fact, it sounds like the kind of story that…. heyyyy wait just a damn minute!

    Actually, “Nocturnals” and “Court of the Abominatrix” bear almost no similarity to each other. Even if they did, Siglar’s story is so much better than mine that I’m not even gonna hate on it. It’s worth checking out if you’re into thieving mother fu-ahh, I mean audio horror.

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