Science-fiction, fantasy, and other stories

Category: fantasy

Halloween / Castles in the Air, part 2

Hello

To new readers and old, Happy Halloween and welcome to Tim Allen Stories! This post features Castles in the Air, Part 2 of 3, a novella set in a faux-medieval, “Fafhrd and the Gray Mouser”-style fantasy/English cozy-style mystery. In short, it’s a story with a bit of something for everyone. 


(Introduction continues after Shortcuts)

Shortcuts


At this point I usually reflect on the process of writing the current post. Frankly, this post was both harder and easier to finish than I expected. The easy part was that I didn’t have to start from scratch because this novella is an update of one of my old stories. 

The hard part is that I should never have expected to write an update of an old story without being tempted to go off on interesting tangents. The “tangent” sections are few and seem necessary, but they took a long time to finish. (Not to mention the chores of daily living delaying things.)

All the same, I worked very hard to finish by an arbitrary deadline, apropos of nothing, of Halloween. However, I’ll save any insights gained from writing those tangents for a future post.

Let’s get on with today’s story.


Backstage

Maybe there really is something spooky about…(shudder!)…Halloween. This post was originally published 10/31/2023. You might have seen it then if you subscribe. 

This post should have been automatically backed-up Halloween night by my database provider. However, something went wrong and the entire post and backup disappeared! I’ve spent the last few days working with my database provider to restore the missing files and recreate this post. 

Hopefully, the ghosts won’t make this re-post…vanish.


Shout-Outs

Try Gene Ambaum’s Library Comic, a web comic about… libraries. Gene and a cadre of his favorite artists, such as Willow Payne (see the “About” page on his site), publish a humorous web comic that is ostensibly about libraries, but is as much about human nature as anything else.

Trust me. Try it. Have a laugh. Maybe discover a new book or some amazing merchandise. Check out Library Comic.

Library Comic is published twice a week, on Monday and Wednesday. Book reviews are also published twice a week, on Tuesday and Thursday.


Tell Your Friends

TimAllenStories.net
Tell your friends about it!
Then make new friends, and tell them!

Moebius Theater (paraphrased)

Subscribe for future posts


Head Games / Castles in the Air, part 1

Hello

To new visitors to Tim Allen Stories, welcome. And to returning visitors, welcome back!

In the afterword to my last post, I said that for this post I was thinking of doing a fantasy/mystery, and that the effort would take a while to complete. 

Wow, what an understatement!

(Introduction continues after Shortcuts)

Shortcuts


The story I decided to do is an update of a novella that I wrote several years ago called “Castles in the Air”. (Actually, I intended “Castles…” to be a short story instead of a novella, but you know me: I write “long”.)

My only copy of the story was a printout, so I had to transcribe it to electronic form first. And while I was at it, I’d fix a few minor issues that have been bothering me ever since I wrote the original version. However, what I didn’t expect to happen when I started making revisions, was how difficult emotionally it would be for me to finish.

The problem I encountered as I revised, was that I began to notice all the flaws and missed opportunities in the original story. And the more I began to fix flaws, the more the story bogged down and refused to be fixed. I soon found myself paralyzed with self-doubt. I mention this because you might have the same experience with your own writing.

It didn’t matter that I knew the original story was very well received by my old writing group, whom I trust. Or that I could equivocate and simply transcribe the original without fixes. I was still paralyzed by doubt, and it was getting worse. So, what was holding me back?

A few weeks ago, while I was still suffering from writer’s block, my wife and I attended a major, juried, regional art fair held annually in a well-to-do nearby town. Several hundred painters, sculptors, woodworkers, and textile artists from around the country attended. Many of the artists return year after year (except when there’s a pandemic and the fair is cancelled).

Although I can’t afford most of the art I saw, and my wife and I don’t know what to do with all the small pieces we’ve already accumulated, I do enjoy talking to some of the artists about their technique, process, and backgrounds. This is especially fun if my wife and I already own some of the artist’s more affordable work. And if possible, I try to offer something in return in the form of supporter feedback or news about artists who do related work.

While looking at the work of a world-traveling, large-format landscape photographer I’ve admired for the last few art fairs, I struck up a conversation. I told the photographer how much I enjoyed his art, and wondered how he handled the business side of art since I surmised his kind of photography is very expensive to produce. 

What the artist told me was that he had been doing this kind of art for only a few years. By trade, he had been in advertising and only got involved in photography as a hobby. But over time, he discovered how much he liked photography, and gradually gave up advertising.

He further went on to say his business expertise wasn’t that beneficial to his art business. What’s more important is that you’re passionate about your art. You’ll figure out the business side when you need to.

I was surprised. “Follow your passion” is a modern cliche, but I took it to mean, “Get out of your own head and do what’s important.” That advice seemed on-point since that’s what my best social and literary advisors were telling me repeatedly, and what my wife and friends were telling me delicately, not to mention what the latest philosophy floating in the zeitgeist was telling me. 

Well, even I couldn’t deny what everyone and everything in the zeitgeist was telling me, even if I couldn’t quite believe it. So, on blind faith I gritted my teeth and finished revising the first part of “Castles in the Air”. Since the story is novella-length, this post is only part 1 of 3. 

Now I have to get to work on parts 2 and 3 (although I don’t believe they’ll be as hard to do, and take as long to finish, as part 1). I hope you enjoy it.


Subscribe for future posts


Shout-Outs

Try Gene Ambaum’s Library Comic, a web comic about… libraries. Gene and a cadre of his favorite artists, such as Willow Payne (see the “About” page on his site), publish a humorous web comic that is ostensibly about libraries, but is as much about human nature as anything else.

Trust me. Try it. Have a laugh. Maybe discover a new book or some amazing merchandise. Check out Library Comic.

Library Comic is now published twice a week, on Monday and Wednesday. And  book reviews are also published twice a week, on Tuesday and Thursday!


Tell Your Friends

TimAllenStories.net
Tell your friends about it!
Then make new friends, and tell them!

Moebius Theater (paraphrased)

Welcome Back & Peter Pan


Hello

Welcome back to Tim Allen Stories. I hope you and yours enjoyed the holiday break!

In my last post, Ornaments: Butler & Mouse / Gray & Santa Claus, in the foreword to the story, “Coca-Cola Santa Claus,” I related how author Spalding Gray referred to his recalcitrant unfinished novel as a “Monster in a Box.” I also said I suspected Gray wasn’t much different from any other author who has been writing for years: We all have a metaphorical, or perhaps real, box of unfinished or unpublished stories. Today, I’m posting one of my “monsters.”

The slug line for Tim Allen Stories says, “Science-fiction, fantasy, and other stories.” So far, I’ve posted a lot of science-fiction. Consequently, I’m changing things up and posting a fantasy—sort of.

I’ll explain what I mean, and the source of my ambivalence, in the foreword to “Peter Pan.”


Backstage

As the need arises, I’ll occasionally include a “Backstage” section to announce changes to this website that might affect your reading experience.


After my last post, an old friend left a comment just to say, “Hello.” What a delight to hear from him! My friend is an immensely talented and inspiring published author, who regrettably doesn’t do much writing nowadays because he’s too busy pursuing other projects. 

However, my friend mentioned he still had trouble quickly finding my old posts. For that reason, I’ve added a permanent “Shortcuts” section to my introduction. I’ll keep an eye out to see if that solves the discovery problem.


Up until now I’ve been trying to keep the cadence of my posts to about once a month. But the time it took to prepare my last post proved to me that I need to slow my cadence to about once every two or more months. 

The primary reason for slowing down the pace of my posts is to allow me time to write new stories. Everything I’ve posted so far has been sitting in completed form in my “trunk” of stories. From here on, I’ll need to transcribe print outs of old stories to electronic form; and/or edit old stories for modern times; or write new stories.

No matter how you look at it, I’m going to need more time to prepare posts.

In addition to my writing environment changing, my personal commitments are evolving. I’ve all but completed a years-long family project, which means I should have more time to myself. However, the disruption and isolation of the COVID-19 pandemic is nearly over, which means we all should devote more time to putting our lives back in order and setting new goals.

Time is literally of the essence.


Shout-Out 

Try Gene Ambaum’s Library Comic, a web comic about… libraries. Gene and a cadre of his favorite artists, such as Willow Payne (see the “About” page on his site), publish a daily, humorous web comic that is ostensibly about libraries, but is as much about human nature as anything else.

Trust me. Try it. Have a laugh. Maybe discover a new book or some amazing merchandise. Check out Library Comic.


Tell Your Friends

TimAllenStories.net
Tell your friends about it!
Then make new friends, and tell them!

Moebius Theater (paraphrased)

Shortcuts

Preface to main story: Foreword for “Peter Pan”

Main story: Peter Pan

List of previous posts: Posts

This site automatically aggregates previews and links to previous posts in a Posts page. Other links to the Posts page are created in the POSTS menu item of the menu under this site’s title, and in an optional sidebar. Whether the menu is displayed in a menu bar or a hamburger control, and whether a sidebar is displayed, is determined by whether you’re viewing this site on a smart phone, tablet, laptop, or desktop computer.


© 2024 Tim Allen Stories

Theme by Anders NorenUp ↑