Where did that come from is a series where we ask our authors the question, “Where did you get the idea for your story?”
The first spark of an idea for the story I submitted for the Dimensional Abscesses anthology came to me many years ago. I was taking a shower before work and it came to me. What if someone chopped down a tree with some sort of magical spell on it and when the wood from that tree was burned it created a portal to another dimension.
Originally I had planned to have a group of men going to the forest to get firewood and staying the night. One of them rolled into the magical fire in his sleep and was transported to another place. That’s as far as I got and then the story sat for years.
In the mean time I wrote a couple now trunked novels and many short stories. I also studied story structure. When I saw this anthology calling for stories about portals taking you to places you didn’t want to go I knew I had to dust off and flesh out my idea.
I love Young Adult coming of age adventure stories, so that’s what I decided to turn my story into. I had always seen it as taking place in a medieval fantasy world with the magic element such a big factor. I came up with a reluctant hero, a kingdom that needed saving, a dying wizard, and a dire extreme circumstance that demanded immediate action. Once I knew why my hero had to go through the portal and what was on the other side the story kind of wrote itself.
It was cool to have a maximum word count because I used that to format my story structure. I planned out Act I to be a quarter of our allotted words, and the first half of Act II took up the next quarter getting me to the midpoint. Then the next quarter got me to the end of Act II and into the exciting Act III. I wrote each of these four parts as their own sections, trying to accomplish different things with each one. I think this plot planning really helped me write a solid well crafted story that fit within the allowed word count for the anthology.
Once I had the first draft I was a little over the word count so I went back through the story and cut anything that seemed unnecessary. Once I got it under six thousand words I found half a dozen beta readers. Their feedback helped me trim the story further, add details in a few places, and fix a bunch of grammatical errors. The story went through like seven revisions before I submitted it. I’ve never worked through a story that many times. It was actually really fun and I enjoyed the process.
I am really proud of my story and honored it’s in this anthology with so many other awesome authors and stories. I love how different all of them turned out even though they all started from the same idea. A portal that takes you somewhere you don’t want to go.
Dan first started writing stories in elementary school, where he and a friend would skip lunch and recess once a month to eat in the library while hearing all about the new books on the shelves. His love for reading, as with visual art and music, has now extended into creating his own fiction. He works as a digital artist and lives in Washington state with his beautiful family of five. A huge fan of audio books, Dan podcasts all of his stories for free. You can find those stories here, or subscribe to the podcast with a button on the right. You can also find many free and a couple cheap eBooks of his stories at all the popular online retailers through the link above. Dan loves podcasting his fiction, but is involved in a few other podcasts as well.
You can get a copy of Dimensional Abscesses at any of these fine retailers: