Blake Writes A Story #3

As A Fledgling Descends – Part 2 (horror, sci-fi, drama)

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And now, the other shoe drops as Anfeald’s tale approaches its close.

Fledgling was a LONG process of editing, and by all rights, it could have been a lot shorter. Like the old saying goes about the “ten-gallon hat on a five-gallon head” (was that Garfield, I think?), this was about a five-gallon story idea spread out into a ten-gallon novella. I think when I went as expansively as I did, I was trying for a slow burn, but I think I might have burned a little too slow… In the end, I ended up filling a ton of pages with ideas, but the pacing was so sluggish that it took almost half a novel to get through to the end. (Anfeald’s relatively passive role in the story’s driving narrative was probably a factor in that as well, one which would have required major structural changes to make it work right.)

Once we got there, I couldn’t resist having a character I’ve been seeing in my writing since I started editing, a character I am going to refer to as “Expository Grandpa”.

Expository Grandpa knows better than you. He’s smarter than the main character, who’s a big ‘ol dummo, and he’s usually infinitely wiser to boot. His perspective reaches all the way back into the beginning of the mystery, which he oh-so-helpfully fills in any lingering blanks on, because he doesn’t want you to miss any of the neat bits going on behind the curtain. That’s why, before the story’s over, he’s going sit each and every one of us down on his knee and explain just why everything happened the way it did and what that means for the end of the story.

You may recognize Expository Grandpas in other such works as The Matrix: Reloaded, The Neverending Story, and any given episode of a serialized children’s cartoon (esp. one with a “message of the week” being pushed).

In “Fledgling”, I felt like I concealed his “EG-ness” a little better by changing his perspective to be so far skewed from Anfeald’s that they’re having a lot of difficulty with even basic communication: for the Grandpa, it’s like trying to have a meaningful conversation with a worker ant. There’s another one in one of my stories currently in submission, but in that one, his unique perspective is really the driving point of the story, and so it might work a little better there as well. Still, it’s an archetype that I really, really need to stop leaning on in my writing.

This story should also be a master class in the evils of “telling instead of showing”; yeesh.


As A Fledgling Descends – Part II

by Blake Vaughn

There could be no question that it was him: The bloody-freckled cheek spatters, the hard, sharp eyes, and the small, waxy nose were all Tommy’s, but there was something else very, very wrong with him and the longer that Anfeald stared the more it became apparent that this was not Tommy McKaylin at all.

He made no move to suggest that he recognized Anfeald or that he even knew that they had stopped; He stared ever forward with severe resolve. The second Anfeald looked into those cruel eyes, the hand in his head recoiled, crushed beneath the weight of his presence and that led Anfeald to a second and worse realization, that Tommy was far too tall. No, that wasn’t quite right. Sitting there, in the bus seat, he looked just like Tommy always had only he felt too tall. He felt twenty…thirty…a hundred feet tall in Anfeald’s mind, looming over and around him on all sides. He felt big enough to pick up the bus he was riding in and squash it–big enough to blot out the sun–yet somehow, he sat right there. The disparity between what his mind and senses told him made Anfeald’s tired mind dizzy. For the first time in the two months since his mother had vanished, Anfeald felt genuinely scared.

“Get on!” The bus driver’s voice cut through Anfeald’s thoughts. He looked up at him, bewildered. “Come on, we have to go!”

©2013 by Blake Vaughn. The text of this story may be redistributed freely in its original form with attribution to the author, Blake Vaughn, and his website,, as under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-NoDerivatives 4.0 International License.

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