Nation - The Seventh Eren Tale - Is Here

After a brief hiatus (unscheduled, but what can you do?) Eren Tales is returning to form with Nation - the Seventh Eren Tale. For those who don't know, Eren Tales is a collaboration between me and my friend / photographer Brandon Rechten. During the project, which is due to take about a year, we're releasing twelve short stories along with twelve new photos, all designed to compliment Eren proper.

You don't need to have read Eren to enjoy the stories. They're teasers, really, giving you glimpses of the world that Eren's set in, and hints about what Eren himself is like. Nation is the seventh tale (the others being, in order, Shaman, Nightmare, Teeth, Mountain, Bridge, and Ink. Links to them all HERE) and takes place a while ago, somewhere like North America.

The artwork for the Eren Tales has been as varied as the stories. I'm fascinated by the potential of photographs as illustration for children's fiction, and this project's been a great way to learn more about how photos and stories can work together to build a picture and tell a tale. For Nation, things get a bit dark and a bit damp...

I really hope you enjoy the new tale and keep reading as the others come out. And remember, if you've got a story of your own, the 1225 Story Challenge is on right now. Can you tell a winter tale in 1225 words? It's worth a try - and you never know what might happen.



I Am a Bad Blogger / 1225 Story Challenge!

It has been ... far too long since I updated this blog. I know. I'm sorry. A lot's been going on, and although Eren Tales has also fallen behind (argh), I have been writing, I promise. I'm working on a few things at the moment, none of which I have a lot to share about, although I can say the following:

  • I did my first school visit. Frost Elementary's fourth grade NaNoWriMo class were good enough to let me crash their party, talk about about writing Eren, and spend some time with the kids, asking them about their stories. It was a fun, bizarre afternoon, and I would 100% do it again.
  • Eren's UK audio book is officially happening. I've heard samples of the potential reader's work, and it is both humbling and mind-blowing that someday, somewhere, people will be able to listen to Oli and Eren battle it out. 
  • Eren was picked as the November teen book of the month by the Independent's Rebecca Davies. I'm thrilled she liked it and chose to share it.

Now, something else happened recently that I've been meaning to blog about. If you follow me on Twitter, you'll already have heard, but Martin Stewart (a man who routinely wears dangerously stylish socks) has signed a book deal with Penguin without writing the book. Specifically, he wrote a short story - one so good that Penguin asked him to turn it into a novel. That book, Riverkeep, will be out in 2016 - but the short story that inspired it all has been around since October 2013. Halloween 2013, to be exact - when the 1031 Story Challenge was born. 

This doesn't happen often, so it's all the more exciting when it does: TBA client Martin Stewart so seduced Puffin UK with his four-and-a-half-page short story, they asked him to turn it into a YA novel! 
In an especially fun twist, Martin wrote the story, titled 1,031, in response to a prompt on fellow TBA client Simon P. Clark's blog. Simon challenged writers to come up with a scary story under 1,031 words—for Halloween (look at the number again). Martin bent the rules a little, but his incredibly assured voice and his ability to build a whole world in just a few short pages resulted in a miniature masterpiece. Don't take my word for it; check out editor Amy Alward's quotes in this Booktrade article.

I'm thrilled for Martin and can't wait to read the book. It's amazing seeing what can come out of something so small, but a great reminder that creating, sharing, and honing your skills is always worth it.

You may be able to see where I'm going with this.

Today is the first day of December (hooray!). On December 25th, it's Christmas (yay!). 12/25? 1225? Yes! It's time for the first ever 1225 Story Challenge

The Challenge

Write a story either (a) in 1225 words or less or (b) featuring '1225' as its theme

Publish / share it before December 25th, 2014.

That's it!

This isn't a competition and it's not an attempt to steal your stories. You retain all rights to you work, and you can either host it yourself on your blog or site, or send me the story to collect together with the other 1225 stories (see the 1031 Story Challenge page as an example)

Is there a theme?

Not really. Christmas / winter / December seem like good themes, but it's up to you what you write.

Does it have to be fiction?

No. Non-fiction, poetry, drama, video, etc. are all welcome. Just tell a story.

How do I send you my story?

If you'd like me to put your story up on this blog, e-mail it to me at simonphilipclark [at] gmail.com

Are publishers reading these stories?

Not as far as I know, but nothing on the Internet ever goes away, and Martin's story is a testament to how truly weird the world can be.

I hope we have fun with this, guys. It's not a lot of time, I know. Everyone's very busy, I know. Give it a go and see what you come up with.

As ever, good luck - and happy writing!