Thursday, December 27, 2012

Re-imagining Your Own Fiction by Gryvon (Guest Post)

When I first wrote The Machinist for the Weight of a Gun gun-kink anthology, it was meant as a one-shot piece for the anthology, to be written and forgotten in the pursuit of other stories. But in the writing of it, Avery and Harrow and the world they lived in grew. There was potential in those two, in Avery's wit and fearless charm and in Harrow's scowling fondness for the machinist he'd caught. So when the call came around for Weight of a Gun II, it was inevitable that I return to Avery and Harrow's world.

With short stories, we're limited by the frame of the anthology. There are only so many words that can be slotted in beside the rest of the stories, so the scope of the story has to be pretty narrow and tight. Often, this means that the world the characters inhabit doesn't get explored as much as we would like. That happened in The Machinist. The story focuses primarily on introducing the characters: Avery as the machinist on the run in the Northern wilder lands, and Harrow as an invading lord who steals Avery from one prison to keep him in a prison of Harrow's making. It's the story of two people meeting and not quite falling in love, but close, at least on Avery's side, if you turn your head and squint a little.

In The Inquisitor, the Weight of a Gun II story that continues Avery and Harrow's adventures, the characters are already established and known, so I was able to explore more of the world around them. We get to see what life outside of the colony walls is like and learn a bit more about the shadowbeasts that attack in The Machinist. We also find out a little more about why Avery is out in the wilderness and why his profession – and Avery himself – are so important for Harrow to control.

While I was outlining The Inquisitor, I came upon a problem. I had an idea in my head about how the world from The Machinist was supposed to work. It was a dystopia, a future society where humanity had destroyed itself, leaving nature to take the world back while the remaining survivors pieced together what little they had. Hundreds of years later, humanity has grown, and they're starting to find all the old tech and need machinists to put it back together and get it working. At least, that had been the original idea.

When I went back through and added up all of the tech used in The Machinist, there was too much for that. Guns. Night-vision goggles. Jeeps. Electricity. All in all, not very dystopian, or at least not post-apocalyptic. To make matters worse, at least for the original dystopian idea, The Machinist was already out in print. There was no changing things. I'd written myself into a corner.

The great thing about ideas is that they can change. Dystopian became colonial sci-fi. I read through The Machinist three or four times, taking notes on every little detail about the world I'd already written, and then turned that into a different world than what I'd originally imagined, still the same at the core but with a little different trappings. The elements were the same, but I had a new interpretation on it, and a more solid look at the world I'd already built. The role of the machinist in his world became clearer in my mind, and in outlining the second part of the story, a new characters was born – the inquisitor.

In Weight of a Gun II, Avery and his captor/lover Lord Harrow now face the threat of The Inquisitor, who's been searching the wilderness for Avery and is determined to catch him. But Harrow is very possessive of his prize and has no intention of turning Avery over without a fight.

Gryvon is a writer of things strange, fantastical, and queer. Her works span a wide range of tone, from dark paranormal thrillers to cozy romances. During the day, she works as professional code monkey with coworkers who think her far more innocent than she actually is. She's an avid gamer and all-around geek who spends a fair number of weekends running around (or LARPing) with people playing as vampires or werewolves. Her latest short story, "The Inquisitor", is now available in Storm Moon Press' Weight of a Gun II anthology. Her other works can be found at

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