I have written an entry for this months flash fiction contest. First I didn't get around to editing it, and then, with the deadline close, I thought I'd skip editing and just post it as it is. I didn't get around to that either. Anyway, the story is a tie in to my current WiP, and it helped me realise a few things about conflict.
I've got a pretty good handle on the internal conflict of the Order of the Writ; I also knew that there was an internal conflict (though not as fierce as the one within the Order) in the Academy, and that it had to do with "Chaos Sorcery", but I was never really sure how exactly that looked.
After writing this story, I began thinking about its implications. A short summary:
One of my characters, the gambler Barnabas Reed, has one year of training as a mage (in a world of dying magic). While there, he skipped all that traditional magic stuff (boring) and went straight to the source. Sorcery. Since magic is dying, this should not be possible. There was a lot of discussion at the Academy - should they kick him out (sorcery is dangerous), or should they supervise him (sorcery might bring back their faction's power).
One of his teachers was Gorsht Helbi (another character in the novel). Although not interested in chaos sorcery himself, he supported the latter camp.
Now, casting magic is strenous, and Reed was sick for days after the feat. (Post-magic sickness is a fact at the time of the story, that any magic worker has to face - mage and sorceror alike.) In addition, he didn't like the controversy that sprang up around him. Before the Academy ever settled on anything, Reed just left, saying no to magic.
Now, all of this doesn't really feature enough in my novel - though it is a factor through to the resolution. What I need to do is:
- Give every Academy character a postion on "chaos sorcery".
- Have the interpretation of "the Aimless One" as "chaos sorcery" more prominent.
- Work out the Academically-theoretic relationship of Sorcery to:
- the healing powers of the Order
- the natural magic of the Rhonian indiginous population (the "witches")
This is a major breakthrough for me, as I've never found a positive handle on the interior conflict of the Academy. All the Academy characters should come out stronger, come the next edit.
It's also an important motivator to finally start editing. So:
Thank you, flash fiction contest, whose deadline I have missed. There is no wasted writing.