It was one of those twitter discussions. I was asking about using characters in short stories as a means for discovering their viability for a novel. (Don’t ask me what that means; it made more sense at the time). Author L K Weir responded along with Katheryn Bigelow,Â Simone Green, Benedict, Randall Garcia, Alexander Boukal, Rob Dearsley and A S Akkalon. I’ve added links to them as a way of saying thank you for responding. In particular L K Weir wrote “I hope to hear more about it! I feel very invested now. Please share if you feel comfortable sharing.” Next thing I know I am inspired to write a back story. It sometimes happens that way. As L K asked for me to share more, here it is.
Without giving too much away, this is a summary of the back story. I’m not actually going to give you the chapters. Be prepared, there ware spoilers. If you intend to read one of my books (should I a) ever finish one and b) get published) then don’t read this. Here is a bit of a gap for you to think about it.
OK. You really sure that you want to do this? The read on.
Two apparent teenagers are “born” from the flowers beneath a crimson pool – a boy and a girl. The Elders who tend the lake mean to take them in, for such miracles happen every few decades. However the girl runs off into the darkness, confused and distraught, leaving a trail of destruction from the powers erupting from the her. The boy remains. Placid. Non-communicative. Almost a shell.Â They name him Darius Hakim after the two founders of their order.
After a few years the Elders realise that Darius is no different from Flower Boys, a cloned slave people bereft of identity or feelings. They have no wish to sell him as a personal slave, so they gift him to the Vigils – an order of people indentured to the City of Shade who repay their bond through services such as the putting out of city fires, cleaning rubbish, etc. At least this way, they reason, if Darius ever develops a personality then he can free himself.
Seven years later, at a tenement fire, Darius “wakes up”.
OK, so that is the summary of what happens in the opening of the novel.
What the reader does not know is that the personality within Darius was once a non-player-character inÂ a game/simulation being played by a level of humans who may as well be gods compared to the inhabitants of Shade. Shade is set in the distant future and its inhabitants are among a race of people who did not “ascend” to virtual existence (there have been many such ascensions over the course of human history by then and all are different).Â Just as people can ascend, so they can descend – become incarnate. Flesh. One way of doing that is through flora that essentially grows them (think pod people).
As an NPC he was a limited intelligence, but the brain within the new flesh has acted much like machine learning algorithms and he has developed patterns that compensate for the missing portions of his intelligence/character/personality. He is growing. Awakening. However as an NPC in a game he was a prince and a rebel whose job it was to assist/rescue players in their adventures.
The girl was a true ascended human hiding within the game. A survivor of a war between different generations of ascended. In a mad moment where she was almost caught and killed, the NPC saved her by slaying the hunter. It was true death too! She drags them both back down into reality through a virtual mechanism. She flees immediately in case she is followed.
And that is a synopsis of the opening chapters and the back story.