Part Thirteen of my Free Serial
Breaking Ground is a Darkeningstone novella – it's a standalone book: a bonus story. I'm presenting it here in weekly parts. Each part on this site is tagged ‘breaking ground' so you can find all the published episodes easily. I'll add a link at the end of this episode. I hope you enjoy it.
I'm an awkward devil. I make life hard for myself. I write stories with several plotlines, involving multiple time periods and spanning over 5,000 years. And sometimes, as I'm bashing my head against the desk trying to make sure it all ties in for the reader, I wonder why I don't just write a nice simple, linear story. But I know the answer: I love the complexity, the challenge. And I think it makes the story richer too.
So I wrote Trespass, the first full-length Darkeningstone novel. And people liked it. But as a new author, it was always going to be hard to be discovered by readers. So I had the idea of writing a prequel that I could give away for free to give people a taste of my work and a glimpse into the world of the Darkeningstone. And that idea became Breaking Ground.
All well and good, you might think. Easy. But I didn't want to make it “episode 1”. The Darkeningstone books aren't a serial. I wanted this book to stand apart and to deliver a flavour of what The Darkeningstone was about.
Also, I didn't want to cheat anyone who'd already read Trespass. This prequel had to serve as an introduction to new readers, and as a bonus book (a bit of extra value) to existing fans. So while it could be read after Trespass, I didn't want to give any spoilers for new readers who are discovering The Darkeningstone for the first time.
Does that make sense to you? Then perhaps you'll agree that I set myself a hard task. But that's OK – it's what I'm here for. I poured my heart and soul into Breaking Ground. While it was always going to be a short book, I wanted it to pack a punch and cover a lot of ground. But could it possibly introduce my style of fast-paced, multi-layered writing while also tying everything up and delivering every plotline neatly wrapped in a pink ribbon at the end? Probably not. Even so, let's have a look at the paths and resolutions.
Jake and his dad
Jake is looking for something. He wants some mystery and excitement. Heck, at that age, who doesn't? But he's also at an age where his relationship with his parents is starting to get more complicated. His story, along with his dad, is all about delving into the past and making discoveries. Jake doesn't find the gold he's been dreaming of, and he's even missed out on finding the Neolithic talismans (I hope I wrong-footed you there when he found a disc). But Jake and his dad have both held a piece of real history in their hands. And his dad has even met someone in Mr. Drew who has been personally touched by the tragic plane crash. History can be an uncomfortable business, and when you go sifting through it, you may be unprepared for what you find. That discovery is their resolution and it brings father and son closer together. Also, in the scenes with Mr. Drew, there's a theme of remembrance.
The Neolithic period is very much a part of the world of The Darkeningstone and I wanted to give you a glimpse of that brutal time. So what better, or more exciting, way of doing that than in a fight? For Burlic and his contemporaries, every day is a series of conflicts and resolutions. In this story, he fought and won and lived to tell the tale. And we know that his simple act of paying tribute to his fallen foes means that those men will be remembered – both in Burlic's tales around the fireside and 5,000 years in his future, when the talismans will be unearthed.
Waeccan and Cleofan
Cleofan faces a different conflict. He'd much rather keep The Darkeningstone to himself, but as well as a privilege, it's a burden. The secret must not be lost to history, but passed on – remembered. And so he feels compelled to share his secret with his son. It's a shock then, when the stone interacts with his son much more strongly than it ever has with him. And while that makes him proud of his son, it must also be hard for him to bear. But while Cleofan's journey is almost over, Waeccan's is just beginning and Cleofan's resolution is that he accepts this fact.
Waeccan would be happier to remain as a child for a while longer, but in his culture, it's time for him to enter the world of men. He clearly isn't ready for the burden, and the Darkeningstone finds him easy to manipulate. Resolution for Waeccan, means having some important choices made for him, by his ambitious and overbearing father.
In my mind, Vincent gets a nomination for Best Supporting Character here. I love writing Vincent – he reminds me of the stalwart men of my own father's generation. Like so many men in 1939, he has signed up to do his duty and worked hard without complaint. We know that he's much in demand. And in the story, Vincent has an important role. Without him, there'd be no plane crash and nothing for Jake to discover. Unfortunately, this is the end of Vincent's journey. The downside of including him in this book was that I couldn't fully explain his relationship to the quarry where he used to work. That would be a definite spoiler, and so I humbly ask you to accept Vincent at face value. Still, at least he is remembered by his old friend, Mr. Drew, whose dog walks are perhaps a thinly veiled excuse to regularly pay his respects to his old friend. We may only get a snapshot of Vincent, but we can be certain that he will be remembered.
I hope that these notes give you some insight into my thought processes when I was writing Breaking Ground. Did you pick up on the theme of remembrance? To what extent are we haunted by the past? I'd be interested to know what you think. If you have any comments or questions, please feel free to
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As always, if you prefer to read on Wattpad, you can find Breaking Ground here.
On this site, you can see all the published episodes with the following button:See all published episodes of this free serial
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