Monday, February 28, 2011

Monday Morning Update!

Monday Morning Update!

Well, I guess technically, it’s Monday afternoon. At least, it is here. But, I digress.

So, status updates for me. First, let me say that I had a good week, and an even better weekend. Very productive, I got some good writing done around my housework. My current WIP, an epic fantasy project I am tentatively calling The Final Days, now has two out of three character outlines as part of the Snowflake method of outlining. After I finish the last two, I have a slew of minor characters to do at least one paragraph on. I’m actually looking forward to this, it gives me an interesting perspective of the story to see it from different eyes, and it gives me some good insight into my characters. Also, it lets me know if their individual arc in interesting. For example, I just realized that these two characters that I have written up at this point are not being tortured enough. I need to ratchet things up for them, or at least keep that in mind when working on the actual story later. So, for this reason alone, Snowflake get’s a big thumbs up from me.

And now for the big news… submissions! Yes, I have submitted my novel to an agent, on Friday. That’s right, I actually followed through, and sent out a query letter to an agent on Friday. It was amazingly scary, hitting that send button, and this one will be particularly scary, because her website says she is so busy that if she’s not interested in my story, she just won’t respond. So, no news, in this case, is bad news. I just have to let it go and see what happens, I guess. And move onto the next submission. I’ve found a magazine that I think I want to submit one of my short stories too, maybe several. I’ll let you all know how this goes next week.

My weekend was also good for some other, non-writerly reasons. My wife, son and I all went to see a puppet show this weekend at the park. It was a little corny, but the boy liked it, and that’s all that matters. We have fun, and wandered around the park in the sun for a while. Also, I had some fun experimenting with some cooking this weekend. Not that I don’t cook, I’m the cook in my house, I just did some new things. I made a chili recipe that turned out FANTASTIC. I also made some cheesy, pizza pop-corn, that also was really good. And we ended Sunday with Sloppy Joes and cheese fries. All in all, a good food weekend.

One other thing before I go. I’ve been using Scrivener for Windows since the beginning of January, and I gotta say, this program is awesome. In my current WIP, I have all my notes, my outline and the manuscript all in one file. It’s fantastic. I think a full review may be coming on Wednesday. What I will say now is that I can’t wait for this bad boy to go live, so I can purchase it.

So, until next Monday, that’s my update.

Friday, February 25, 2011

Friday Flash Fiction: An American Werewolf on the Moon

So, the inspiration came from a writing prompt from one of my favorite writing podcasts, Writing Excueses. The prompt was: "Start with a hard SF story, and turn it into a werewolf love story in three paragraphs." I think I managed to do that here. You'll have to let me know if it's any good, though.

An American Werewolf on the Moon

Mara listened to the sound of her breath, in and out, as it echoed in the sealed helmet of her space suit. On the moon, it was the only sound she could hear, and while the site before of was beautiful, the lack of sound was eerie. She breathed again just to hear the noise. Then she smiled. Despite the eerie starkness of her surroundings, she was thrilled to be here. A physicist, being a NASA astronaut on the moon was a life long dream of hers. And the reason they were here had her excited too. Oh, sure, it would have been fine to be here for the reason given to the public, and they were partially checking the site for a permanent moon base anyway.

But the real reason was no staring her in the face. An honest to God extra terrestrial spacecraft. A recent satellite sent to take pictures of Jupiter took some pictures of the moon as it went by, and what NASA saw was mind blowing. A crashed ship of some sort. Mara immediately put her name down to get in on the mission. She needed to see what these aliens were like. Did they have faster than light travel? What was their biology look like? Did they survive the crash? Where they planning on contacting us?

All of that, however, was shoved out of her head when her crewmate came into view, bounding down the lunar landscape. Mark Robbins was the most ruggedly handsome man she had ever seen. And over the fourteen days it took them to travel to the moon, the two had become close. Very close. And in that time, she had learned something about Mark that no one else knew, not even NASA. Mark was a werewolf. And he had just yesterday declared his love for her.

She still couldn’t believe it. Werewolves, aliens, the moon. It was all hard to take in. But when Mark told her four days ago, and then showed her with a partial transformation, she knew it would be okay. She loved him too, more than she had loved any man ever. He wanted to come to the moon to touch that strange night mistress that controlled his most brutal transformations. She could understand that. He even thought that he might learn something here that could help him control it all.

And the aliens, he thought, were the key.

She smiled at him as he waved her in. He had found the airlock to the ship, and it still appeared sealed. Their initial fly by had shown that the hull appeared intact as well. The hope was that there was breathable air inside. She had a new reason for hoping now, because it meant that, if anything inside was dangerous, Mark could wolf out and protect them. She hoped it didn’t have to come to that. She shook the thought from her head, and leaped forward. She still wasn’t quite used to walking on the moon, yet.

It took a good half-hour of fiddling with the controls before they both gave up and just blew the outer hatch of the airlock. Inside was another door, but this one was open. They quickly got inside and sealed the door with a new bit of technology from home. A thick, plastic sheet was stretched over the door and then sealed into place with a new poly-resin that would keep it there until a special spray was applied to it, dissolving it and allowing them escape.

They looked around. She looked at her scanner, which showed breathable air inside, if a little high on the oxygen. She nodded to Mark, and they took off their helmets.

“Well,” he said. “This is it.”

He took her hand and lead her into the alien labyrinth.

Thursday, February 24, 2011

The Blank Page

The Blank Page

Nothing is worse for a writer than staring at a blank page. Be it notebook paper, printer paper or a blank word processing document, that whiteness calls to you, mocks you, calls you a fraud. I know, because I was experiencing all of that just a few moments ago as I stared at the blank page that is now this blog post. What made it worse was that as I was starting at this page, I know, KNEW, that I had this totally awesome idea for today’s blog post. But, like an idiot, I didn’t write it down. Why would I? The idea was so awesome, how could I possible forget it? Well, obviously, I did. And so here I sat, staring at a blank page.

But, I didn’t stare long. Because here’s something I learned about being a writer, or, really, any kind of artist. Newton’s First Law applies to writing (or painting, sculpting, cooking, etc) as well. Meaning, as long as I’m not writing, I will continue to not write. But if I start writing something, anything, I will continue to write. Writing begets more writing. So I started by writing “The Blank Page” at the top of this document. It wasn’t much, but here I am, 200 words later, and I’m still writing. And that, my friends, is the real secret. If you find yourself staring at a blank page, or you’re stuck in the middle of your story, just write something. Anything, even if it’s the same word over and over again, and eventually the momentum of writing will take over, and before you know it, you’ll have a few hundred words down and a new direction to go in that you never planned on.

So, there you go. Short blog post today, but one I think that is ultimately important. Keep writing, keep that momentum going, because a writer in writing motion tends to stay in writing motion.

Wednesday, February 23, 2011

Worldbuilding 101: Naming Places

So, today, I want to talk a little bit about world building. One of the things I love most about writing in Sci-Fi and Fantasy is the world building. I love being able to create whole worlds out of words. Massive forests with trees that reach impossibly high, where gazelle like creatures roam about on eight legs, dodging the sharp eared elven hunters. Great, star spanning empires with space ships the size of cities that explore black holes, or dive into the core of a sun to mine plasma in order to harness its power in their war against the walrus-tusked aliens known only as the Klar. I love that kind of stuff.

Of course, those are just outlines, sketches of the world where a story or novel will take place. The key to world building is in the details. And today, I want to discuss one specific detail, which is the names of places.

As a long time D&D player and GM, I’ve seen all kinds of strange and fantastic place names, many unpronounceable or just gibberish in order to make it sound fantastic and/or magical. And I cringed whenever I saw it. And then I cringed even more when I saw those kinds of place names in novels.

You know the kind of names I mean.

The city of Koblidakadan.

Malichinorthia, capital of the Ruoaen Empire.

And just like these overdone examples, they usually are long. And the issues I have with this is that when you look around at the real world, and see what we’ve named places here, you find that humans are pretty unoriginal when it comes to naming places.

Hilltop. Riverside. Mountain Pass. White Sands. Central City.

These are common names for places, especially small communities, like farm villages where many fantasy heroes come from. And for bigger cities? Well, if you look, you’ll find that most of them are named after people. So, yeah, name your capital cities something that is not common words, but try to make it something that fits your fantasy countries culture. Let’s look at some real world examples.

Washington, named after one of the founding fathers of the United States.

Paris, named after the people that first lived there, the parisii.

Moscow, named after the river it’s next to, it’s name latterly meaning the City by the Moskova River.

And let’s look at my favorite place for this kind of thing. China.

From Wikipedia:

"Beijing" means "Northern Capital", in line with the common East Asian tradition whereby capital cities are explicitly named as such. Other cities that are similarly named include Nanjing, China, meaning "southern capital"; Tokyo, Japan, and Đông Kinh, now Hanoi, Vietnam, both meaning "eastern capital"; as well as Kyoto, Japan, and Gyeongseong; now Seoul, Korea, both meaning simply "capital".

My point here is that you don’t need a fantastic sounding name to make your place seem cool. Stick to realistic sounding names for your human populations, at least. You’re world will look a lot better for it.

Tuesday, February 22, 2011

Tiny Tales Tuesday: Teapot

“A teapot?” Grand Warlord Glarg scowled over the alien word. “What does it do?”

“Well, your highness,” Major Marok said, pointing at the strange, round device before him. “Apparently, it is used in a strange ritual.”

The major lifted up the top of the ceramic pot, revealing it was hollow inside.

“Water is placed in here,” Marok said, and Glarg nodded. Water storage was important, but this would not serve as storage. The container had a long tube with a hole on the end, and no stopper that he could see.

“And then the container is placed over,” Marok said, then hesitated. “Fire, m’lord.”

“Fire?” Glarg said, pushing himself backwards into his chair. “Does this work have so much water that they can burn it?”

“Indeed they do, m’lord,” Marok said, bowing and wiggling his antenna in an apologetic manor.

“And you say this is used in rituals?” Glarg said. “Do they sacrifice the water to their heathen gods?”

“No, m’lord,” Marok said, his antenna waiving even more frantically now. “It get’s even more… perverse. I hesitate to continue.”

“I order you to tell me,” Glarg said.

“M’lord,” Marok said, standing at attention and getting his antenna under control. “The Earthlings take the now hot water,” he flinched at the word hot, “And then pour it into a cup, over leaves.”

“Leaves?” Glarg asked. “As from a tree?”

“Yes, m’lord,” Marok said, and his eyes were turning a pale green, as if he were feeling ill. Glarg couldn’t blame him, he felt slightly ill himself.

“And then comes the worst part,” Marok said.

“Don’t tell me,” Glarg said.

“I’m afraid so, m’lord,” Marok said. “They drink it.”

Monday, February 21, 2011

First Week Failure

So, as Monday is the day were I report in on my status, I have to start off with some bad news. I failed to meet myself imposed deadline of querying once a week. I didn’t even start doing any research into agents for my novel until this weekend. So, I have failed to meet my goal in my first week. I don’t even have a really good excuse. I did get in some writing, but I failed to find the time to submit. I have no one to blame but myself.

This, however, does not mean I am giving up! It just means that I am now one week behind.

And the good news about this is that I’ve started researching. And this is a very good thing. Had I not done the research, and been more concerned with sticking to my self-appointed deadline of one query a week, I would have queried an agent who does not rep the kind of story my novel is.

If I’ve learned anything from the agents I follow on Twitter, it’s that random querying will piss them off. And, like a lot of industry professionals, agents talk to each other. The last thing I want is to be known as one of those desperate authors that just queries randomly in the hopes of hitting the target.

So, no query last week, but research started, and on the road to getting a query in this week. I’ll be sure to keep everyone posted next week on my progress.

See you then!

Friday, February 18, 2011

Flash Fiction Friday, special edition

That's right, I said Special Edition.

I was working this morning when I realized that I did not have a blog post for today. I needed a flash fiction story, and I had... nothing. I was drawing a big blank. So, I turned to that wonderful font of inspiration, Twitter. I asked for prompts from my twitter friends, and thanks to @UnderPope, I got a hilarious one. So, the below story can be blamed on him.



I haven’t gone into my kitchen in a month. Hell, I left my apartment a week ago. I’m only here now because you said you would help me burn them out. There in there. I know they’re in there. They got my cat Fluffy just over a week ago. That’s what caused me to leave. I saw her, on the floor by the kitchen door, four little puncture wounds in her neck. Drained of blood. Both of them. They both killed her.

Okay, okay, I’m breathing. I’ll start from the beginning. It all began innocuous enough. I had just got home from grocery shopping. At first, they seemed perfectly normal, like everything else I bought. In fact, they looked juicy and appetizing, I couldn’t wait to have them. So, I brought them with me to the attic, where I was going to perform my nightly ritual. Don’t look at me like that. I know you disagree with my faith, but don’t judge me. I don’t judge you.

Anyway, as I was casting my spell, I… cut myself, ON ACCIDENT, with my knife, and the blood spilled on them. Well, on one, to be honest. But, apparently, the blood was enough to combine with the energy in the air, and something happened. The little thing turned red. Bright red, too. I interrupted my ceremony to bring it down stairs and wash it. The color didn’t come off, and I thought it was odd, but I was curious to see what the ritual had done to it, so I kept it around, and went back upstairs to complete the ritual.

When I got back down stairs, I saw that it had moved from where I placed it. It was standing next to another one, now also bright red, and they were both standing over the bananas. I kid you not, all six bananas were flat as could be, with tiny puncture wounds on them, but they had not been peeled open. Then, one of them smiled at me.

That was the last time I went into the kitchen. I could hear them in there, making their way through the fruit and eventually to the food in the fridge. I made the mistake of looking in there once, and saw them feeding, fangs sunk into the side of a frozen stake. There were four of them, now. They had grown bigger, too.

I thought I could keep them in there, find a way to reverse whatever magic I had accidently put on them, but when they killed Fluffy, I knew I had to take drastic measures. And that’s when I called you.

Don’t look at me like that. I’m telling you the truth. My kitchen has been taken over… taken over by…

Vampire Pears!

Thursday, February 17, 2011

My Opinion on eBooks and the Future of Publishing

So, this seems to be a hot button topic around the camp fires of Facebook and Twitter. Bloggers and writers all over the place are throwing in their two cents, both professional and unpublished. Publishers, editors and agents have also said their piece regarding the matter. But, still, I see people running around the internet like chickens with their heads cut off, crying that the sky of publishing is falling, and eBooks are going to tear down book stores brick by brick.

So, given all that, I figured why not throw in my two cents as well? Likely, they’ll just get lost amidst the rest of the change out there, but hey, this is my blog, so what the hell.

If this all sounds a little skewed in the direction that I don’t buy the hype that traditional publishing is going away, that would be essentially the truth. But not all of it. Let me start with something simple.

Traditional publishing IS going to go away. The same way that horse and buggies were driven out of business by the automobile. But, it’s not going to happen tomorrow. Or even in the next few years. And the publishing industry is not just going to fold up and die, not all of it anyway. They’re going to adapt to new technology, and switch their model of business to accept it. Those houses that don’t, those are the ones that will die.

But, here’s something that I think a lot of people look over. The real reason that traditional, paper books are not going to disappear the way of the 8-track. People like books. A lot of people like books. Different kinds of people like books, for different reasons. And here’s one that I think a lot of us that are on the internet regularly forget.

eBook Readers are expensive.

That’s right. That Kindle I have sitting next to me as I write this? $130. That’s a lot of money, when you consider that a book is around $10. Sure, I know the argument, it’s a one time payment and then all your books are only $4. But, most people can’t put up that $130 investment. They won’t. It’s a lot of money. $10 isn’t so bad, so they’ll spend that on the book they want. Plus, books can be traded at a used book store for more books. An eReader can’t.

Now, that said, I do believe that eReaders are the eventual future of this industry. And yes, there were be new avenues for up and coming authors to publish in. But, the publishing industry will continue to be what they are now. Protectors of good books. They are the ones that filter through all the crap to find the good stuff and then put it out there for our consumption. They will continue to do that in the eBook era.

Yes, I have no doubt that there will be lots of self publishing options available, but at some point, most people will realize that if they don’t want to spend the time to filter through crap to find the good stuff, here’s a publishing house that does it for them.

And this, my friends, is why the book and the publishing industry are not going to go away.

At least, in my opinion.

Wednesday, February 16, 2011

Following Through on Goals

I am horrible at following through on a goal once I’ve set one. And I know I’m not the only one.

I’ve already done a post about the things I’ve learned from my year of writing short stories. However, since I finished the project, I’ve learned something important about myself, especially as it is related to following through on goals.

I follow through when I have a deadline.

This is not to say that I don’t work at all without one, just that with one, I tend to work harder in order to reach it. The deadline gives me focus, a goal to aim for, and some disappointment with myself that I really don’t want to face if I miss it.

So, as one of my goals for this year is to start submitting my stories and novel to magazines and agents, I am giving myself a deadline. Here it is:

I will be submitting either my novel or a short story at least once a week.

There, now that it’s up on this blog, I have a bigger inclination to follow through, because now I have to come back here and report. It worked with the short story project, I’m confident that it will work here as well. I’ll report on Monday how I did this week.

I highly recommend giving yourself deadlines. NaNoWriMo does this very well, with a deadline of 50,000 by the end of 30 days. I did it with a 5,000 to 7,500 word story every week. Now I’m doing it again with one submission a week. Your deadline doesn’t have to be so ambitious. Maybe something as simple as “I will get 1,000 words written a week.” Something that you feel is completely achievable.

Here’s the secret to them, though. You need to find a way to make yourself accountable. I’m using this blog for that accountable. Maybe you can tell your spouse what your goal is, and you have to turn in your 1,000 words to them by the end of the week. It could be your writing group, some twitter friends, a blog like I am doing. Whatever will work for you.

So, if you find that you’re having trouble following through with goals once you’ve set them, try giving yourself a deadline with accountability. It works for me, maybe it will work for you.

Tuesday, February 15, 2011

Tiny Tales Tuesday!

Welcome to a new weekly feature here at I Must Be Remembering the Future: Tiny Tales Tuesday! This will be another weekly Flash Fiction post each week. Today's story is from my 5 Minute Fiction entry today, where the prompt was "shy." I have no idea where this came from, I just started typing and this is what came out. Go check out the other finalists from this week.

So, there you go. I hope you enjoy.


He curled up into a ball as she came close. He didn’t like her, or the smell of her. She was different. Strange. She smelled of grapes and dirt. He wanted to smell familier things, like trees and deer, fresh rain in the forest. Not this strange, dry place, or this strange woman.

“Oh, look at you,” she said in a pleasant voice. “Are you playing at being shy? Or are you afraid?”

Afraid? He was not afraid! He turned back to face her, ready to hear the shocked gasp he always received when people saw his face for the first time. Instead, she smiled.

“There,” she said. “You are only shy then. My name is Mara.”

She held out her hand to him, not like people normally do, to shake hands, but flat and palm up. He realized she was letting him smell her. A real smell, not just a sniff. Tentatively, he reached his snout forward and sniffed. He smelled more dirt and fruit, not just grapes, but he also smelled… kindness. It was an unfamiliar smell. But, pleasant. He liked it, so he rubbed his nose against her.

“We don’t see many of your kind around here,” she said, “But I know of dog-men. I imagine that it’s been tough for you. But, you’ll be welcome here. You should know that our blacksmith is a dog-man. Maybe he knows how to get in touch with your family. Would you like that?”

He shied back again, but smelled the truth on her breath. Others? Like him? He didn’t even know such a thing was possible. He believed he was a freak, like his old master told him before he escaped.

“Come,” she said gently. “At least let me feed you.”

Food. That was a call hard to resist. He stood and nodded. She smiled and lead the way. Maybe things were going to get better after all.

The End

Monday, February 14, 2011

State of the Blog

Let me first start off by apologizing for not keeping this blog up. I’ve managed to squeek in a Friday Flash Fiction the past few weeks, but that’s been about it. I was planning on having a full on blog post every week. And that wasn’t working, because for some reason I wasn’t feeling the deadline. So, now I’m going to try and do something different. For the next 30 days, I am planning on posting one blog post a day. Here’s my schedule plans.

Monday will be where I come in a post what I am up to writing wise. It’s going to be where I keep myself responsible, where I turn myself into you, my loyal readers, to help keep me on track for my goals as a writer.

Tuesday will be a flash fiction day. I’ll have to come up with a funny title for it, like Tiny Tuesdays, or something, but likely, it will be my entry into 5 Minute Fiction. This is for two reasons. It forces me to write a whole new fiction piece each Friday, and it also makes it easier for me to squeeze in another blog post in the week.

Wednesday and Thursdays will be open topic days, were I will blog about whatever is on my mind. I’ll try to limit myself to writing topics, but anything goes here. I’m planning on my first two posts, goal setting and eBooks.

And, of course, Friday will stick around as Friday Flash Fiction.

The weekends I will not post because, hey, I need some time off. So, I guess, not really every day. But, I’m aiming for every weekday.

So, that’s where I am right now. Later this week, I am going to post a blog about my goal setting activities, probably on Wednesday. Next week, I’ll keep you all posted on how I’m coming along on that goal, and we’ll go from there.

So, wish me luck, stick around, and enjoy the ride! I know I plan to.

Friday, February 11, 2011

Friday Flash Fiction: The Heart of the World

An Epic Fantasy in less than 900 words!

The Heart of the World

Lorell looked at the giant crystal before here, shocked to see that it was actually pulsing, almost like it was breathing. The massive building sized purple stone was called the Heart of the World, but even after five years of trying to find it, she never expect it to actually resemble a real heart, down to the beating.

Five years. Had it really been that long? She remembered the day when Rumidon arrived at her village across the mountains. He had come following prophecy, trying to determine where the Keeper of the Heart would spawn. Never did Rumidon, that kindly old sage, ever expect to find the actual Keeper. Never did Lorell expect it would be her. But, apparently, a dark force did, for following the old wizard were goblins. They attacked and burned her village, killing everyone, all while she was showing Rumidon where crystal grove was, and her talent for manipulating the crystals.

He showed surprise at her talent, though she at the time didn’t know why. She never told anyone at the village of her gift, the ability to manipulate crystals with but a though, change their shape, make them grow, even cause them to explode, but she didn’t think it unusual. Surely if she could do it, then so could others. He told her that no one could do it. Or at least, no one except the Keeper, who was destined to repair the Heart of the World, and thus save it.

When she saw the death and destruction, Rumidon took her away in a haze of tears. They arrived at the city of Dath’on, where she met and befriended the dwarf warrior Burnell. When the goblins attacked them in their inn, Burnell joined them, and Rumidon decided that they would need to find the heart of the world. For if goblins were on the loose, it meant that the World Killer were also free, and once again trying to destroy the Heart. It would be up to Lorell to repair whatever damage they had managed to do already.

She smiled. How long ago that all seemed. She didn’t believe in any of it, but she wanted revenge on the goblins for the death of her people. A year later, following Rumidon from library to library trying to find the location of the Heart, she got it. But at a great cost. Burnell was dead, but the goblin king was left burning, a crystal spear through his heart. But during that time, they made new friends. Prince Comar, of Atha’na, who declared his love for Lorell, and she for him. A year later, chasing more rumors, they were married. A queen now, ruling by her husband’s side, the quest for the Heart become secondary. She defended her kingdom from the World Killer, who sent the massive black dragon Magrathorn to destroy them.

Finally, though, the World Killer left behind a clue. The Heart was left in a great cave, one that held the secrets of the Age of Myth, when the Gods still walked the earth, and men fought demons, and the elves still lived. Rumidon knew where such a cave was, from his previous research. It took nearly a year of hard trekking and battle to get to, but her husband and the wise old wizard at her side, she made it. She was here at last. And looking at the massive crystal before her, she knew what she had to do.

She took a deep breath and walked into one of the massive veins and deep into the heart itself. It was light inside, but all purple, and it took her eyes a few moments to adjust. Here, she could see the damage that was being done, and instantly felt how such damage was causing distruction to the world. Earthquakes from that crack, wars due to this fissure. It was all hear, and only she could read the lines of power. No, not only she.

She turned and saw another woman there. She lowered her hood, and Lorell smiled. She was Lorell’s twin, in fact as well as features. Her long lost twin, thught dead when she fell into the river when the two of them were six. She had suspected a few years ago, when she saw the World Killer and sensed her with her power. It made sense. Who else had the power to affect the Heart of the World besides another with her ability with crystals. And who else could that be, except her twin.

“Hello, Lorell,” her sister said, a twisted smile on her face.

“Hello, Lanell,” Lorell said. “Shall we end this?”

“Lets,” Lanell said.

Lorell charged her sister, ready for a deadly embrace that would likely kill them both. But she was prepared. Their deaths would be the only way to save the world, to preserve the Heart. She was joyous for it. For though they had been separated in life, they would be forever joined in death. In the most appropriate place for it.

The Heart of the World.

The End

Friday, February 4, 2011

The Dungeon Crawlers Season Finale!

Welcome back to Friday Flash Fiction! This time, I was inspired in part by a version of D&D I have called X-Crawl, which posits that adventures are televised, like a game show or professional wrestling. I took it a step further, and did it as a reality show, where contestants are thrown together with unknown partners and given a quest to give for a large cash reward. I had fun writing it, I hope you enjoy it.

The Dungeon Crawlers Season Finale!

Dave brushed his had across his face as he smiled into the camera. The effect was more blood and dirt across his face than it cleaned off.

“Right, so,” he said with enthusiasm. “We had reached the top of the Dragon’s Maw Mountain. I knew that this was it. The end of our quest was at hand. Nothing could possibly stop us.”


Rick pulled the hood of his head, revealing singed tips of hair that still had smoke curling off of it. He glared at the camera.

“Yeah,” he said in a gravelly voice. “Dave’s kind of an idiot.”


“We so got this!” Dave said as the reached the bridge. “All we gotta do now is drop the wand into the lava!”

“It can’t be this easy,” Rick was saying, pulling a wickedly curved dagger from somewhere in his leather hoodie. “There’s got to be a trap or a guardian or something.”

“Rick’s right,” Jane said, drawing her sword and readying her shield. “Something’s not right about this.”

“Really?” Dave said. “You think fighting out way up here though the fire imps that love the lava flows was easy? Does that seem easy to you?”

Jane and Rick looked at each other and then back to Dave, and simultaneously said, “Yes.”

“Actually,” Frank said from behind the group, “I’m with Dave on this one.”

Everyone turned to look at him in surprise, and he adjusted his green priest’s collar uncomfortably under the scrutiny.

“Really?” Dave said.

“Yes,” Frank said. “Hear me out. We’ve gone through everything this quest has required of us. And that last fight with the fire imps and their fire knight champion was pretty tough, you have to admit. After that, what more could this quest throw at us? I mean, the only thing that would possibly live at the mouth of a volcano is a dragon.”

Dave, Rick and Jane a looked at each other.

“He has a point,” Jane said reluctantly.

That was when they heard the roar. Turning around, they could see a great, red, scaly lizard creature with massive leather wings rising up behind the bridge. It put two paws down, with claws a long as Jane’s sword, causing the ground to shake slightly as it did so. Lava dripped from its scales, and its yellow eyes started at the party with as much heat as the volcano itself was giving off.

“You had to say it,” Rick said. “You just had to say it, didn’t you.”

“It’s not my fault,” Frank said!

“Blame later, killing now,” Jane said, and charged the massive beast, shield raised, and everyone else raised either weapons or arms, ready to help their companion.


Rick growled and glared at the camera. He reached behind him and put the hood back over his head.

“I hate dragons,” he said. “This is the last time I sign up for a quest with a bunch of adventurers I don’t know.”


Jane slowly sat in the chair, trying to straighten out her blond hair, looking uncomfortably into the camera. She attempted a smile, but it looked more like a grimace.

“I hate this part,” she mumbled.

“I just want to say that Frank’s injury is my fault,” she said. “It wasn’t on purpose, but I thought I could free him if I could just cut off that dragon’s hand. I… forgot we were on a bridge.”


“Help!” Frank called as he struggled to free himself from the dragon’s claws.

“I got you, Frank,” Jane called, ducking the dragon’s other claw as she ran towards her companion. She jumped into the dragon’s arm and sliced down hard with her magic blade, and cut completely through the wrist. The claw, still clutching at Frank, fell fast.

“Frank!” she cried out, then struggled to hold on as the dragon also cried out, in pain, thrashing the injured arm around.

Working fast, Dave ran to the edge of the bridge casting a spell as he went. He completed his spell just as the figure hit the lava. Then, Frank, complete with the dragon’s calw, reappeared, though he was burned and covered in lava.

“Take care of him,” Rick shouted as he ran towards the monster. “Jane, keep that thing distracted for a few minutes longer. I just need one shot.”

Jane, still clutching the dragon’s arm as if flung around, shouted back. “I’ll do the best I can.”


“I tell you,” Dave said. “That was a one in a million shot. What a fantastic way to end the fight!”


“I knew the little bastard was keeping a magic item hidden from the rest of us,” Jane said.


Rick reached into his hoodie and pulled out a new dagger, that was glowing a sickly green color. Without taking time to aim, he threw it at the dragon. The blade flew straight, and struck the creature right in the eye. It cried out and fell backwards into the volcano shaft below the bridge. Jane jumped off, but her armor held her back from reaching the bridge. Suddenly, she was floating up in the air and gently placed onto the bridge.

“We did it!” Dave shouted, ending the spell that saved Jane.

“Yeah we did,” Jane said. Then, she pulled out the item that started off this whole quest, a long wand made of crystal. She held it over the edge of the bridge and tossed it after the dragon. “And that takes care of that.”


“And that means we’ve beat this season’s quest,” Dave said. “And we get our million gold piece reward. Man, I can’t wait to see all this on TV, and see what the rest of the team has to say about me.”


Frank coughed from bed, burn marks all over his body, his leg and arm in a cast.

“Yeah, Dave,” he said in a weak voice. “he’s kind of an idiot.”

The End