Thursday 30 January 2020

The Planning of the Stories Within Shorts of the Rula

Shorts of the Rula was set up to fill in for the Crazy Shorts section of my original location for uploading the free stories I wrote. Rather than keep the name, I decided to swap it for something more direct. And there’s nothing more direct than saying what kind of stories they are and who wrote them right in the title. But it serves its purpose for when I want to add to it, rather than creating a new story on Wattpad for each short.

I had considered porting the stories from Crazy Shorts to be the first set within Shorts of the Rula, but decided against it for two reasons. The first being that half of them featured real people (namely those of Halesowen College) and I didn’t feel it right to rename all those people again – so those stories remain as simple fiction that the Brandon Golden of the Alternate Halesowen and Beyond [AHB] series has or will write at some point. The other reason being that my writing had seen improvement since those stories, and while I could have redone them, I wanted to make a fresh start in terms of shorts.

The first short that featured was just a little extra something that had helped craft the dynamic between Jack and Darren of the AHB series. The idea being that the two were wondering London having been at Summer of Sonic the previous day. Part inspired by my own adventures during that weekend with Hayden, I wanted to see how I would get the two characters to react in that situation. It helped a lot in getting the original characters some identity, but the story itself would never be able to be used owing to their disappearance within AHB1.

To use the story, I invented two new characters who shared the same dynamic, but gave them a few differences in both actions and character. Craig and Henry were the names I settled on, wanting to use names that had never previously been used in AHB1 or planned names for AHB2. See, this short belongs in that universe, giving me two other characters to explore should I wish in the future.

The second short was added just under a year later, where I had been looking again at those Crazy Shorts, as well as two other stories I’d written but never published. Both of those also featured amusement parks, with one following a family throughout the day, and the other following a student day out. I looked at all three, and decided to base it on a family outing, but to focus on just one part.

At this point, I’d released Elemental Heroes, and had started to take a deeper interest in making alternate worlds that were completely manufactured but a person would still be able to fully explore on their own. So the golf course featured within Golf Dimension was one of those worlds. The course itself is clearly something that wouldn’t ever be able to be done within the real world, and how things work while within are different to reality. This was just the first step in exploring the idea of visiting alternate realities and the things that could be done within them.

A tamer use of such a thing was used for this next one. Just like Elemental Heroes and Space Race Championship, this was a story concept I’d had, but unlike the other two this one had never seen much development. All I’d had for it was that someone received a letter about a party on Halloween night, but that party wouldn’t be happening as someone had other ideas. It had been more than a year since the last story, so I wanted to write for Shorts of the Rula a bit more regularly than just once a year.

This was the first of the two (originally three, had Yogsimulated been included) planned to see the end of the year off. I had looked at that concept for the idea and decided to develop it into a full story. Again, I used the idea of two friends, who were opposites in this story in terms of their reactions to what was going on. Instead of being a creation of technology, the reality alteration this time was through magic and a part of the world rather than seeing a transport into and out of it. The original name had seen a bit of an alteration to reflect the story, though the location of Greenwich Hill still remained.

The second of the two stories planned to end the year off was Mountainous Change, and if you’ve been following the GTA concepts I’ve been posting, you’ll know that the state of Herzan featured within the story is from that and that the story is a base for a possible start of a game. That’s true, but the development goes a bit further than that. Or, at least, it starts to.

I’d had the name of Herzan down for the state within the GTA-verse since the middle of the year, but the fascination of using Michigan as a base for that state plays into one of the ideas I’d been developing for a standalone story outside of any of the three series I’d now established. Rather than directly use a location as I was for the AHB series, however, I wanted to develop an entire state to call my own.

The map you see developed for the GTA-verse Herzan is based more closely on Michigan than what the state is planned to look like. The counties within the GTA-verse concept are taken from the planned version, with the towns and cities within that concept filling in for states of the original. Once I had published Mountainous Change, however, it seemed wrong to be developing an entire state for just one story (that will be coming to the Kindle Store in the future). While there’s no name for the series yet, that standalone will be the second story within it, and will possible be the only non-short within it.

As for a bit more on Mountainous Change, it had gone through a few changes to get to what I wanted for it, with changes to the events that happen within changing slightly with each iteration. The main concept to get across was the act of being betrayed by a friend, which held the entire story together as more got added to it. I wanted it to be based on a ski resort as I like winter sports such as skiing and snowboarding even if I don’t follow much of the action.

That’s four stories already released to Shorts of the Rula, and there’s more I’m planning to add soon. I also haven’t forgotten about Alternate Extras of Halesowen, with stories for that also being planned. That new book for the Kindle Store will be coming in the last quarter of this year, though it’s possible another short set in the state of Herzan will release before it does.

However, that is all for this look at some of the planning behind the current stories of Shorts of the Rula. I hope you enjoyed this bit of a look into the planning of them, and will look out for more additions to this and the others mentioned in the future.

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