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Quirkons

Updated: Dec 30, 2020




– I started assembling a book of non-Sci-fi short stories over Christmas, to be called “Of Twists and Turns”.


– Working through 200+ nearly-completed short stories – mostly not SF – I’ve been doing second-editings on them – around 50 so far over the Christmas week. I remember what sparked a story off in most cases, and think, “Ah, yes, this one… Liked this one… delicious end… needs more dialogue… she’s too nice… it wouldn’t happen like that…”


– And some, I start reading them and I think, “I’ve no idea how this one finishes… Urghh.. that ending will have to change…”


– But after a time the newness of each one begins to flag a little, so I decided to break the time between them by making up a little icon to go at the end of each one, instead of the triple asterisks, hederas or wingdings that are often used instead of the Victorian “Fin” in a French Script at the end.


– They’re a bit quirky, made up differently for each story, so I think of them as quirkons, rather than quirky icons. It breaks my time between editing one story and moving on to the next, taking anything from twenty minutes to an hour or so. They amuse me, anyway.


– When I have a good selection of stories completed and quirkoned, I’ll need to put them all together into a manuscript template – it’s the only way to accurately see how many stories it will take to make around 225 pages, which is my usual size nowadays. Keeping a fairly standard cover size and thickness helps with the creation of the design and spine. These short stories are mainly a little shorter than the Sci-fi ones. I wonder if that’s because a twist in the end comes better after not-too-long a tale. I suppose a reader could feel cheated if a long story suddenly tweaked sideways at the end, but with a shorter story, you don’t know what’s coming, anyway. I usually have little, if any, idea what is going to happen, often until the final paragraph, when the ending springs upon me. Or, as with a couple recently, I’ve read them out to a writing group, and had unexpected suggestions – as happened in “Polly”, one of the recent SF stories in “The Fractus Project”.


– Then, of course, the selection will need to be vetted for variety of characters, places, situations and endings.


– Remember, these will only be a centimetre high on the page. Can you imagine what each story that gave rise to them might be about? I struggle – and I wrote and drew/assembled them.






When I have a good selection of stories completed and quirkoned, I’ll need to put them all together into a manuscript template – it’s the only way to accurately see how many stories it will take to make around 225 pages, which is my usual size nowadays. Keeping a fairly standard cover size and thickness helps with the creation of the design and spine. These short stories are mainly a little shorter than the Sci-fi ones. I wonder of that’s because a twist in the end comes better after not-too-long a tale. I suppose a reader could feel cheated if a long story suddenly tweaked sideways at the end, but with a shorter story, you don’t know what’s coming, anyway. I usually have little, if any, idea what is going to happen, often until the final paragraph, when the ending springs upon me. Or, as with a couple recently, I’ve read them out to a writing group, and had unexpected suggestions – as happened in “Polly”, one of the recent SF stories in “The Fractus Project”.


Then, of course, the selection will need to be vetted for variety of characters, places, situations and endings. And so the process goes on. But I think the quirkons are here to stay.

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