“Project Darkbelly” is the codename for a short story I’m working on, since its tentative (placeholder) title is “Into the Dark Belly.” This is subject to change, and it probably will. I’ve found my stories usually don’t find their rightful title until I’ve written them. This one isn’t proving to be any different in that respect.
I need to give credit where it’s due, though. This story features a pair of characters created in a small group of friends who come together ever so often to game or just hang out and play video games, drink beer, shoot the proverbial bull, what-have-you. Tisarian was created by my friend, Eric Wolfe. And Ser Marcus Viridius Grivna is my own character.
The game itself is run in a world created collaboratively between Tony “Tone” Parsons and myself. The world is called Khaladune. We started coming up with various maps and concepts a long time ago. Honestly, Khaladune’s world building process has been a long evolution spanning years. Tone has been content over this time to toss out ideas during our brainstorm sessions and to archive various e-mails and other world building documents, though I believe his most important additions have come while running our game sessions.
I, on the other hand, am a writer at heart, so my contribution has always been in composing fiction. It seems I’m not satisfied unless I have at least two or three running projects, and in 2007 I was fortuitous enough to capture the notice of one William H. Horner, the publisher at Fantasist Enterprises, who accepted the submission of “Tisarian’s Treasure” and published it in the pages of Sails & Sorcery: Tales of Nautical Fantasy. The good news here is that William so enjoyed “Tisarian’s Treasure” that he’s offered his editorial services for Project Darkbelly, which means the snippets posted on my blog are by no means the final rendition of this particular tale.
As you might have noticed (if you’ve read the snippets), I’ve peppered footnotes throughout the story, which I’m planning to carry over into print if this tale should find a publisher. Among the primary comments I receive from alpha readers, most of which are not your typical fantasy fans, is the unfamiliar terminology. I think footnotes go a long way in helping ease readers through the tale, so I’m fairly convinced they’re essential to the story.
I should be wrapping Project Darkbelly soon. School tends to get in the way of my writing progress sometimes, alas. And then, of course, my own darn inability to write anything of less than epic proportions. I went over the word count with “Tisarian’s treasure,” but William liked it enough to still include it in his anthology. I also set out to keep Project Darkbelly around 6,500 words and it’s now over 9,000…so, when I have it closed off to my satisfaction (hopefully no more than 12,000 words), it will be crossing William’s desk shortly thereafter. He’s a fantastic editor, so I have every confidence that his suggestions will take it from a rather good yarn to an absolutely stellarific one! Just you wait and see, by gum!
If you’re interested in reading some of “Tisarian’s Treasure,” I have several snippets posted on my Goodreads profile.