Once upon a time, I was bored in class, so I doodled on my notebook and wrote a little story about a hole in the sky. I wrote a story about how it was dark and warm under the hole in the sky, and the children would play there when they wanted to get away from their parents. It was about two paragraphs long, and it was gibberish. There was a terrible drawing beside it of shattering glass falling down from a huge dome.
And then class ended, and I shut the notebook and completely forgot about it.
Years later, we had to write a short story, and I panicked because my ideas just seemed to have run out. Everything I tried to turn into short fiction just turned into this pulpy horrible mess.
I flicked back through my old notebooks desperately, and one line caught my eye in blobby ink: “No one knew how, or when, the sky had broken.”
And I still didn’t know what it was, but I knew it was something.
So I wrote this weird, twisty story, and it was a bit longer than two paragraphs, but it was still mostly gibberish. And everyone smiled at it politely, because it was the sort of thing that should have been good.
A visiting third-year squinted at it. He was trying to like it, and he just didn’t. He was trying to be polite, and he just wasn’t. It was the first time someone had torn something of mine apart properly, and I totally loved it.
“Make sure it keeps going, though.”
What? It was a nice experiment, but it had just fallen flat over on the page. Which was fine; I was happy to start something else.
“No, there’s a story somewhere. It’s just hidden under all this crap,” he said. (If you ever have a reviewer/editor/beta reader who isn’t prepared to talk to you like that; get a new one. Seriously.) “And there’s just so much crap. But it has to end. I really want it to end.”
I was feeling fairly exhausted by then, so I just nodded, and said I’d give it an end sometime. I’d keep it in a drawer or something, and work on it later.
“No. The next thing you have to do is give it an end,” he said. “Because it ends in this sweet but really tragic way, and I think that’s really good, and I think you can write it.”
What. What what. This was a nice story, about kids, and playing, and pesky grown-ups! It’d never seen tragedy in its life!
But he kept frowning at me in this serious way, and I remembered what being a kid had actually been like. It wasn’t happy or unhappy, but it was just as real and intense as being adult. Probably more. Everything mattered so much then, before hormones made you nonsensical and melodramatic. Everything about being a kid had been sweet and tragic, and this story didn’t have either.
I was too nervous to say anything at the time (which is how 90% of my anecdotes end). But I wrote the end. And then I went back, and wrote the beginning and the middle.
So now it’s called THE SKY SHARD. Lots of people like it a little, and a few people like it an awful lot (the old softies). And it’s in this freaking amazing indie-published anthology called Ignite, surrounded by some awesome work by some awesome people who I literally cannot wait to work with again in the future.
So if you think you’d like to read THE SKY SHARD, I think you should pre-order Ignite from Amazon.
But also, if you’re not into my story, I think you should pick up Ignite anyway. Because it’s fresh, and it’s awesome, and it’s wonderfully honest. Which is important.
Also, we have a front cover which is blisteringly cool, and I’ll tell you more about the artist (and everyone involved in this crazy indie endeavour) another time. So, you know. You should buy it for that too.
Yes, it will on ebook. No, I don’t know when. All the details will be on this blog as soon as I know anything. Rest assured that everyone involved is being bugged constantly to make this the coolest thing in the world.