Writer. Adventurer. Currently working on The Dreamless City, a series of steampunk novels and short stories.

Life of a Foundry Moth – Short Story Project Update III

Even though Camp NaNoWriMo is underway, rest assured that our short story collaborative project is going well.

Well, it would be if I wasn’t worrying so much about what people will think of the next part of the story. When I developed the plot for what happens next, it was a three-way tie for who was going to save Tesla from the Vice-Chief. It got a little crowded in the plotline, but I was able to sort it out. (If the voting poll looks a little different now, I apologize. The only poll settings are one day, one week, or forever. A day is too short, but a week is too long. I usually take the poll results after 2-3 days.)

Trouble with my solution is that Reno, my alpha dog reader, mentioned that people often take character deaths poorly. So… I might be pulling my punch in the next section because I still want you to talk to me after this. Or maybe I’ll find my backbone between now and the end of the week. It is tough that I cannot ret-con foreshadowing into the story that has already passed. We’ll see what happens.

We have worked through the Inciting Action and the Point of No Return . This next section is the Great Big Midpoint Plot Twist where life for the MC is not pleasant. This is when something big happens in the middle of the story that turns everything on its ear. Raise the stakes by putting the MC’s life or reputation on the line, or by setting/shortening a deadline.

I’m expecting to have the next section up for your viewing and voting pleasure by the end of the week.

Recap of Our Collaborative Project

For anyone who is new to our collaborative short story project, let me explain. Ideally, each week I will provide a section of the story, then there will be a series of options to vote for where the story goes next. Any great comments and suggestions also get added to the poll. I let everyone have 48-72 hours to vote, then I see what the winner(s) are. I spend a few days writing the next installment of the short story based on the polling data. After some feverish editing, I post it for everyone to read and vote again. Rinse, repeat.

Also, I want to mention this will probably end up being a longer short story than I had planned. I had estimated 3500 words total. It is currently at 5000 words. It will be a bit long for a “short” story, but it is still an awesome collaborative project, and I really can’t wait to see how it turns out!

Atlas Moth

Previously on Life of a Foundry Moth

Tesla Spence, an aspiring engineer with dreams of working in R&D, drops her supper tin on Edgar Endicott, a young scientist trespassing and doing research on foundry moths. When she goes to check on him on the South Foundry scaffolding, a foundry moth is flushed out, and Edgar knocks Tesla off the ledge. He helps haul her up with the rope, then tries to kiss her like a hero. She punches him, then makes both of them return to ground level.

Supervisor Nielson is Edgar’s uncle, but even than doesn’t stop him from firing Tesla. She returns her gear, leaves the supper tin that started the mess, and goes to the municipal dormitory to pack up her personal things. Tesla has few friends in Cobblecourt, so she decides to return to her parents’ home in Brighthurst. After posting a message to her suitor Merrick, a City Vigilance officer, she walks to the Handsome Corby to drink away her sorrows.

After some drinks, she is approached by the CPC Vice-Chief, who has the ability to get Tesla her dream job and fix the career-ruining debacle with Edgar. The Vice-Chief is very interested in Edgar and quizzes her about whether or not he has a foundry moth chrysalis. More talkative than normal, Tesla tells him everything she knows. Satisfied, the Vice-Chief ominously offers her a ride home, but their departure is halted when someone comes to save Tesla.

Let me also provide some links for our posts so far:
This Story Needs Your Help – first round of voting (also was Freshly Pressed, which was super cool)
Life of a Foundry Moth – Short Story (Vote for Part Two)
Life of a Foundry Moth – Short Story (Vote for Part Three)

You also might enjoy these associated posts:
Big Five Plot Points for Short Stories
Life of a Foundry Moth – Short Story Update
Life of a Foundry Moth – Short Story Update II

5 comments on “Life of a Foundry Moth – Short Story Project Update III

  1. Dirk Porsche
    April 5, 2013

    Thanks for the status report. Can’t wait to read what happens next.

  2. rastelly
    April 8, 2013

    On character death – for authors who like killing people ;)

    If you plan to kill a lot of characters you may wish to present
    a darker theme from the start – a world that implies impending
    doom – the darker the tale the more death your allowed to
    throw around. Let your readers know they are about to enter
    the pit of despair from the start and they are more likely to
    forgive you.

    So far your tale – please take this as a complement
    – has a Harry Potterish vibe – it seems – a fun story,
    full of quirky characters.
    maby a touch of humer here and there – perhaps a
    tad cynical at times, but taken in humerous stride.

    Not too much death too early – especially of characters
    we know and love – the best time to do something risky
    is near the end – if that risk is a prelude to something
    awesome – your reader may love you for it. See if your
    reader is already close to the end – they may keep
    reading across those parts that upset them, to get
    to the ending that justifies everything – but if the
    reader doesen’t like the ending they may not tell
    their friends or read a sequel.

    You have characters here that are low risk
    fatalities – though, in harry potter his parents
    were dead before the story even started and
    the boy barely knew them. It was still horrible,
    but it led to the reader symphasizing with
    harry rather then mourning the deaths of
    his parents, but there was still an aura of
    danger – much like the one you created
    with Tes’ near fatal fall – a great way of saying
    “People can die here” without saying
    “This will be a depressing story.”

    To kill off Tes or Edgar now would be a high risk –
    I am heavily ingaged by both of them –

    All your other characters at this point or low
    risk – at least to me. Feel free to terminate
    any of them!

    Especially the creep with the roofie –

    His death could get Tes and her rescuer in
    trouble! kick starting the adventure –

    You can go up to twelve thousand words
    and write a novela – I find you can do a lot
    with Twelve thousand if you streamline.

    and it could only take a few mounths to

  3. Pingback: Life of a Foundry Moth – Short Story (Vote for Part Three) | tracycembor

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This entry was posted on April 4, 2013 by in Uncategorized and tagged , , , , , , , , .

Posting Schedule for 2014-15

Monday through Friday I will be posting about writing as business and craft, the science of creativity, all things steampunk, and progress on The Dreamless City.

Weekends are reserved for my Music Playlist.

Writers of the Future Honorable Mention

About the Author

Tracy Cembor attempts to juggle a preschooler and a baby, a full-time job, random geekery, and the writing life. Currently working on The Dreamless City, a steampunk urban fantasy novel. Come join the adventure.
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