The Oracle’s Tale is Finally Complete!

The Oracle’s Tale is Finally Complete!

I’ve been composing and posting writing prompts on this blog for just about five years now. (In terms of the number I’ve written, at any rate. In actual dates, it’s probably closer to six years!) They started as a fun little writing exercise to challenge myself and try new things. I decided to share them because why not? At the very least, it gives people a chance to dip their toes in my writing for free. Plus it provides an interesting window into what I might be thinking about at any given time.

When I first started these prompts, I worked with a partner. He would choose the prompt and each of us would write our interpretation of it. It was interesting to see how our approaches differed and where our directions intersected. In the beginning, I liked having someone else choose the prompts we would use because the constraint felt like an extra challenge. Rather than letting my mind wander unfettered, I needed to make one of my characters tell me a story that fit an interpretation of the prompt.

But after awhile, the constraint started to chafe. I’ve never been good at sticking to specific themes or concepts, unless they’re very broad. The mind of a creative often wants to do what the mind of a creative wants to do. So I started picking the prompts myself. And later, I stopped using specific written prompts at all and just started writing whatever I felt like.

Changing focus keeps the exercise fresh.

It’s not unusual for little snippets of larger stories to come to me in the quiet cracks of the day. One of my favorite prompts came to me on a Saturday morning while I was half dozing in bed. I shot up and wrote it within the hour. Often I find I have interesting ideas that are worth writing down, but don’t fit into the larger structure of the novel that spawned them. It might be because of the timing – I can’t show every second of a character’s life on camera, unfortunately. But sometimes it’s also because the scenes qualify as fluff. You know… self indulgent scenes that don’t really serve a purpose other than to make people smile. The kind of stuff that works well on a blog, but not so much smack in the middle of a high-intensity fantasy epic.

Freedom, however, provided its own set of problems. When I leave things up to my characters, some of them always turn out to be louder than others. (*Clears throat and glares at Domerin.*) I found myself treading the same territory over and over. I worried this would grow boring for readers. But I’m also not challenging myself if I’m letting the same characters take the reins all the time – even if they are trying to tread different territory.

I started cycling through the characters at my disposal more often, reaching for those that less often stole the spotlight. I used my Seven Deadly Sins prompts to give me some direction. But even that didn’t quite feel challenging enough.

Trying new things helps me learn.

Then one day I was scrolling through pictures on a stock photo site. This is something I find myself doing quite a lot as an author. I always need pictures for covers, blogs, or character boards. I’ve found its easier to gather those things when I don’t have a specific image in mind. So I’ve taken to just scrolling through the editor’s picks or useful categories to find things I might want to use later. I stumbled upon an image that struck me so hard, I simply had to write about it.

And so my random picture prompts were born. I have dozens of stock photos bookmarked for future purposes. So it was an easy matter to bookmark a few extras that looked like they might generate interesting story ideas. Now whenever I need a challenge, or have run out of ideas for weekly prompts, I scroll through my bookmarks and see which image sings to me loudest.

These random picture prompts regularly reinvigorate my love of the weekly writing prompt exercise. (Although I mostly do it bi-weekly now.) There are times where I genuinely feel like I’m scraping the bottom of the barrel when I sit down to write these shorts. I worry that all my creative energy went into the big novels that week and I just don’t have anything left to give. But then I’ll write a few tentative sentences, and suddenly I’m creating something I absolutely adore. The greatest thing about the random picture prompts is, even if I have some idea of what I want to write when I sit down to start, they almost never turn out the way I expected. I have come to love exploring these tangled paths and simply seeing where they lead.

It’s long past time to thank my subscribers.

Lately, I have started using this space to explore larger stories in serial format. And while I enjoy really delving into the depths of an idea, there’s something special about the short, singular format that always draws me back. But even when I sit down with the intention of writing a singular short, sometimes the stories grow of their own accord.

Such was the case with The Oracle’s Disk, one of my earliest random picture prompts. It seemed every time I posted a new installment of the story, the next would come to me. And so I would sit down every week and let the words flow. This story went silent for a long while. Until December, I hadn’t heard from it in what felt like ages.

I’ve also been thinking about my Newsletter. Everyone who subscribes gets a free sci-fi short story (The Paradox Syndrome). But last year, I spent the year releasing fantasy stories. (Whoops!) This year, I’m planning to release a space opera. And I’m sure fans of The Paradox Syndrome will love it. But I want my fantasy fans to have something nice as well. And it’s been a long while I since I wrote a dedicated freebie specifically for my newsletter.

So when I started feeling the itch to finish the Oracle’s story, I knew exactly where it needed to go. Not only have I finished The Oracle’s Tale, I went back and cleaned up all the previous chapters. I’ve adjusted some of the fiddly details so that they are more consistent throughout, and added a couple extra story bits to fill things out.

In all, The Oracle’s Tale is about 25,000 words – a full-fledged novella! And you can read the whole thing for free today just by signing up for my newsletter.

Get your copy of The Oracle’s Tale Now!

Already a subscriber? You receive an email today with instructions on how to download your copy of the Oracle’s Tale freebie!

All Bethany wanted was to succeed as an artist. But passion hasn’t gotten her nearly as far as she thought. She needs money to make money.

Once, her mother flirted with a man who became a millionaire. If she could go back and cement the relationship between the two of them, maybe – just maybe – she could have the artistic career she dreams of.

The Oracle’s power makes it possible.
But nothing comes without a cost.

The Oracle has been around for thousands of years. But her ability to both see the future and change it is starting to attract unwanted attention. There are those among the Fae Court, for example, who believe her abilities should be forbidden, not to mention stopped.

But the Fae Court have secrets of their own. Secrets that could change the course of history for everyone.

Sign up for my newsletter and get your copy today – absolutely free!

Not convinced? Dip your toes in this time-bending tale here!

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