Wednesday, October 25, 2017

Expanding the World Through Short Stories #alternatehistory #scifi #fantasy

These anthologies, Parallels: Felix Was Here, Mayhem in the Air, and Spirits in the Water, have one thing in common, besides having great stories written by talented authors: They each feature a story set in my paper magics' world.

I wrote "Paper Lanterns" for Mayhem in the Air first. As an avid fan of origami, I was always intrigued by the idea of magic in conjunction with the art of paper folding. Yet the character that stood out to me the most in this story was Mayor Alfred Merry, a man married to a Paperist yet who has no magic abilities himself. His turbulent marriage and his reaction to such betrayal became the catalyst for a world banning paper magics. This story created the terms Paperist (person with paper magic), Futurist (person against paper magics), and Ritualist (a Paperist who believes paper magics should be used to rule the world and is against Futurists). Mayor Merry is a staunch Futurist. "Paper Lanterns" is set in 2020s America.

When the announcement came for Parallels: Felix Was Here, I tried to think of an alternate/parallel world, and my world of paper magics instantly came to mind. I combined that with the Curse of Tippecanoe. What if President Reagan died during his assassination attempt in the 1980s? What would that mean for the President elected in 2000. Thus, "Folds in Life and Death" was conceived. Allyson Moore is a simple Paperist, who completely believed in the Curse of Tippecanoe, and watched in horror as it struck her brother. She must come to terms with his death and all that is left behind. "Folds in Life and Death" is set in 2001 America.

The newest story connected to my paper magics' world came out this October in Spirits in the Water. "The Folding Point" follows sixteen-year-old Aimee Washington, a person with paper magic abilities. Like her brother Xavier, Aimee falls in with a group of Ritualists, considered a terrorist organization to Futurists. The Ritualists are trying to free some fellow paper magicians from prison. One of those prisoners includes Aimee's mother, who was captured releasing a soul to the sky (via a paper lantern), which is a Paperist's sacred duty. Not all goes as planned for Aimee and the Ritualists. "The Folding Point" is set about five months after "Paper Lanterns," so 2020s America.

In the future, I hope to expand upon my paper magics' world with a series titled Folding the Future. Each novel will be told by a different main character: a Paperist, a Futurist, and a Ritualist. These three will have connections to the short stories that created a vast new world for me to play in.

As a writer, have you used short stories to expand your world? As a reader, do you enjoy reading stories that branch off from a series' world?