Brainstorming a series of short stories

Happy 2020 everyone; I hope the year is treating you well.

Moving into the new year, I am continuing my progress on my second Spacefarer novel but I am also looking for another ongoing project to work on when I hit a snag or need to step away for a bit to mull where the novel is going or just break free of a rut.  I tend to take breaks from longer projects by writing a short or flash fiction story, occasionally I’ve squeezed a novella/novelette in the breaks.  For example, my last two short stories were written when I was stuck and after writing them I came back invigorated and took things in new directions in the novel.

I don’t want to keep doing random things for these breaks. I really want to create an interconnected world or characters in a series of shorts which can eventually be tied into a large collection of stories or just stand on their own. I’m not sure what exactly I want to do though.

I love fantasy, horror, sci-fi, steampunk, and variations on those themes so I’m waffling between genre’s and themes. Fantasy could be a good match, I had a HUGE Dungeons & Dragons campaign years ago and could base a series of stories on that. But, the problem there is that readers of Fantasy tend to want BIG stories, I mean doorstop style books of 150,000 words or more and I don’t want to commit to things like that. I like short-form fiction and want to play with that.

I could take one of my current titles, for example, the Irin Knight book, and do the ongoing adventures in that world but I’m not sure that following the duo introduced there for an extended period would be believable. It’s like most series, how believable is it that that one character stumbles into ALL these things? Only so much can happen to a single character before it feels badly contrived. I also hit the same problem with my Nightmare War characters, that poor kid could only survive so many adventures before cracking and becoming utterly unbelievable.

I could easily do a lot of things in the Spacefarer universe as I ran another huge role-playing campaign in that universe (I also created the game system) which I could mine for stories but I’m not sure that space opera is the thing to do.

I refuse to do zombies any more. The couple of short stories I did are about all I want to do in that genre, besides which, zombies are becoming passe.

I’m not sure, do people prefer ongoing episodic fiction which follows a specific character or group of characters or is the universe of the series what would draw the tales together better. For myself, I think it might be the universe. I know I tire of the same characters after a while. It’s like Star Trek, I love the original characters but you can only follow the one crew for so long, at least the producers got smart eventually and started adding different characters and locales from the Federation to keep people’s interest. Buffy the Vampire Slayer ran way too long because the Scooby Gang started becoming ridiculous in that everything in the world centered around them. I don’t want that to happen in my series of shorts. I want something that can go on forever (well, forever for me meaning as long as I’m capable of writing).

So now that I’ve talked myself into realizing that the UNIVERSE is my preferred thread tying every story together I ask you – my readers – what type of stories would you like to see?

Horror? Sci-Fi? Fantasy? Paranormal? One of my established story worlds?

I’d love to do a Terry Pratchett style Steampunk world but I don’t honestly know if I can flex as much comedic muscle as Sir Pratchett did.  I pulled it off for one flash story but don’t know if I could do a series.

I intend to do these stories the way I did my Flashes of Darkness series, released on my blog as free fiction as they are written and eventually bound together into a single tome to sell online to those who do not follow me.

Let me know in the comments or email me at I love hearing from you

Until next time, I’m off to ponder some more.

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