Tweet Tales from Vertigo City. In honour of that, I thought I might write a blog entry about the serial, to hopefully explain more about it.
The idea behind the serial was to write a series of tales, all set in the fictional city of Vertigo. In my head, the city looks like a cross between a 1940s Art Deco metropolis and Victorian London. People travel by tram or hackney carriage, although tradespeople prefer to use a cart. There is even a neighbourhood for the Living Dead, who are essentially the former upper middle class who refuse to relinquish their status, even after death. I suppose I'm going for a twist on the steampunk theme.
The current run of installments are part of The First Tale. The idea for this came from a short flash I wrote about an antique generator that powered a Resistance movement. People wanted to know more, so I decided to write a serial, updated weekly.
So far in the story, Philip Wiseman has been grudgingly accepted into the movement after a stranger infiltrated the sewers and underground tunnels that make up the Resistance territory beneath the sprawling city. After being accused of being a spy, and surviving a close encounter with a bloodthirsty beast, Philip ends up back on the streets. This time he accompanies Commander Melissa Hunt (or Liss for short) to try and discover who the stranger was, and why he was in the Resistance tunnels.
I'm really enjoying writing it, but I admit that it's very much 'seat of the pants' writing. I only have the plot in mind for the next two or three installments at a time. What happens is as much as surprise as it is to readers! I consider the serial to be something of an experiment, but hopefully an enjoyable one. People often complain that they don't have enough time to read, and short stories published online are often too long to take in during one sitting, so I'm hoping that The First Tale's episodic nature, and the brief nature of these episodes, makes it an enjoyable read.
It's also good for me since having a deadline gives me the motivation to write every week, so even if I write nothing else, I've at least continued the story and built a little more of Vertigo City. It also gives me a place to use those small elements or images that pop into my head, but aren't big enough to sustain a story on their own. Who knows, maybe those small elements that I plant now will go on to become major tales in their own right?