A Life Of Fiction CXXI

For those of you new to this WordPress site, this site is about me and my writing – and a little about my role-playing, as well. It gives readers a chance to sample my work before purchasing it on the Kindle store; and gives me the chance to say a little about the genesis of each novel, or about the process of writing in general.


How many deserted islands can you write about? Some time ago I entered an online competition to write a story of 3,000 to 5,000 words about a deserted island. The story was being done by an online publishing company, called Retro Rocket Press.

I say that I entered the competition some time ago. It is some time ago as you read these words. But as I write these words I still have to email off my submission: I do these posts in advance, and I usually have more than a dozen hanging around, waiting to be put on the internet. I do my posts like that because I am scared that, one day, I will run out of things to say. So this competition is currently in my future; but it is now in your past.

I was invited to enter the competition through Steampunk Empire. I’m sure that there were thousands of other people who were invited to submit work. There are some very fine writers out there, and there are around 17,000 people who are members of Steampunk Empire. I’m not sure what percentage of them bother to produce steampunk fiction, though.

Anyway, the competition: each author could submit up to three pieces of work, but only one of those pieces of work would feature in the top five tales. I originally decided to do one story, and take it from there. The point of entering, really, was in the hope that a greater number of people would be exposed to my work – and that, hopefully, they would like what the read. If not, then I had failed as a writer. I want to entertain and amuse.

The first story which I completed was called Sand, and was some 3,634 words long. I could certainly have made it closer to five thousands words. But, by so doing, I would only have been inserting filler into the tale. Why write words which really should be edited out? Anyway, it was within the word limit of the competition. So that was alright, then.

After completing Sand I found that I still had time to go before all submissions had to go in. So I decided to try to do another piece of work. I liked the challenge of doing three different short stories on this subject of deserted islands. How do you make each story different? After all there is no point in repeating yourself.

A little thought gave me the kernel of an idea for my second short story. This one would have the rather clunky title of A Deserted Island, A Long Way From Anywhere. I’m not going to tell you the plot of the tale, apart from the fact that it was inspired by a certain very famous novel by the great Daniel Defoe.

That second tale is really just an extended vignette. Had I been writing it for one of my short story collections then it would probably have come in at only a couple of thousand words. But, as I like the basic premise of the tale, I reworked and re-edited the story, trying to include details which aren’t just filler, to get the story up to the three thousand words necessary for the competition. In the end it ended up being 3,065 words: just inside the limits.

I decided to try for three tales, since you could submit three of them. I want to be published. I want people to read my work. And I reckoned that I would have a better chance with three short stories than with two.

The third tale was called I Cast Myself Away. Of the three which I wrote, this was probably the most steampunk. This featured a person just setting out for a deserted island, for reasons which will become obvious once you actually read the story. If you get to read the story. I Cast Myself Away was 3,619 words long.

The next opportunity I got I emailed the stories off to the address of the competition. I will let you know how I got on in a later post of my blog.


The stories Sand and A Deserted Island, A Long Way From Anywhere and I Cast Myself Away will be in The Complete Blogs volume three, should I ever get around to publishing it. Of course, should they actually get published, that situation might change.

I’m not sure which of the three stories I prefer. Probably Sand, as that was the first one of the three which I wrote. But that is not to say that is the best story of the three. You may have a different opinion. Perhaps you will prefer A Deserted Island, A Long Way From Anywhere.

Well, I guess that is it for this post. Another one soon.


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