I’ve recently gotten back into writing sword and sorcery fiction again. Don’t know why (although by a strange coincidence, S&S does seem to be getting popular again, so maybe, for once, I’m tuned into the zeitgeist). I dug out some old stuff and gave it a good polish (or major re-writes, to be fair) and, miracle of miracles, actually had some of it published: in two of Parallel Universe’s Swords & Sorceries anthologies, and an edition of Phantasmagoria. Naturally, spurred on by this, I just had to have a crack at some new stuff.
The story published in issue 18 of Phantasmagoria in 2021 – “Face of Heaven, Eyes of Hell” – was set in a corner of my own multiverse (known variously as the Internection, the Boundless, the Infinite Tiers) where immortals have finally tired of their immortality and descended to the earthly plane in order to fight themselves into extinction, causing inevitable mayhem among humans as they go. They’d call it collateral damage these days. At some point I even jotted down a few notes (a grandiose term for the odd sentence, or even just a word or two) for more tales set in the same milieu, building up to a grand finale (with hints of The Magnificent Seven, or more appropriately, The Seven Samurai).
Recently I needed to submit something to a writers’ group I’m involved with and, firmly believing that no one should suffer alone, rattled off a second tale set in this universe (now labouring under the trite and – I hope – temporary title of ‘the God War’). However, I couldn’t find the notes I’d originally set down (imagining I’d deleted the file, either by accident or due to a lack of enthusiasm) so I used what was lodged in my memory (always a mistake).
Needless to say, when the hurley-burley was done, I found the original notes, stuck in a folder marked ‘Archive’. I had of course misremembered quite convincingly, with what I’d written actually being a mash-up of two separate ideas. Never mind: I now have half a dozen separate notes that I can fill out into proper plots at some point (one of which is a cheeky reworking of Poe’s “The Masque of the Red Death”, but with a red sword) and what I think is a more apt title for the second story.
It does go to show, though, never throw anything away. You never know when – or even how – it’ll come in handy.