When Imaginary Worlds Collide (The Author’s Dilemma)

“Hellllloooo!” shouted someone as they knocked on the door to my imagination…from the other side. Cautiously, I opened the door a crack to see who was making the ruckus. Filling the door frame was a huge figure with a very large, very bright sword. “Hey!” he exclaimed as he nudged the door fully open with the eagle claw shaped pommel. “You couldn’t kill us but you put us into deep freeze for a reason…when are you going to move the story forward?” Ka’star glared at me accusingly. “Remember, you said there was another trilogy to tell the rest of the story!”

Before I could open my mouth, Ka’star was shoved aside by another man. He was also large, but not as big as the prince. “Hey!” Grant shouted. “What about these Royals you left in my basement? Aren’t they dangerous? How are you going to fix this?”

Ka’star shoved Grant behind him to ask, “What about the baby? Huh? What about the baby you almost wrote out because you thought it was a rabbit trail?”

“Hey!” I shouted at them, finally getting their attention. “Quit shoving each other around! I didn’t write you two with that attitude! Straighten up!”

Ka’star hung his head. “Sorry.”

Grant poked his head under Ka’star’s arm. “I’m sorry, too. But, what baby?” He looked up at Ka’star then at me.

“The baby!” Ka’star exclaimed as he moved over to let Grant stand in the doorway with him. Then he glanced over at him and said, “Oh, by the way, there’s a baby in your story, too.”

Grant’s eyes grew large as he stepped back out of the doorway. Ka’star turned to watch him as the other character turned to look at Charlotte who was talking with Ailyean in the background. I stared at Ka’star trying to figure out how he knew, then I glanced at Ailyean. Of course! I thought in frustration. That’s how I had written this couple with their combination of abilities!

I saw Grant get Charlotte’s attention and ask about a baby. She looked at him with wide eyes and shook her head. Then she looked at me with her eyebrows raised. I smiled. I wasn’t going to give any plot points away, even to my characters!

Before I could open my mouth to answer, a voice came from farther away, from the depths of my imaginary worlds. It was as if it were broadcasted electronically. “Excuse us,” the voice said. “We would like to know if our story will continue?”

Both men looked behind them for the origin of the voice. “And who are you?” Grant asked.

“Sally and SALLIE,” came the answer.

I sighed heavily as I looked at the ground, shaking my head. It was supposed to be a one novel story. But, yes, I have thought of threads I could pull to weave more stories and expand that world.

Ka’star looked at Grant then at me as I looked up. He asked with wide eyes, “Are you doing split personality stories?”

I shook my head and was going to explain when two black and white cats bounded through the door and rubbed against my legs. When they started meowing at me insistently, I knew what they wanted but the men didn’t.

“Hey, what do they want?” Ka’star asked as he looked like he was going to shoo them away.

“Um,” I started to say when Grant reached down to pick them up to put them out. “Um, I wouldn’t upset them.” But it was too late…one hissed and the other snarled…

Both men starting laughing then coughing and crying as the stench hit them. Quickly, they backed away from the doorway and left.

Both cats continued to purr and rub my legs. Waving my hand in front of my face to get some fresh air, I looked down at them. “I have another story for the two of you. Maybe it will be published if anyone else wants to see it.” That seemed to appease them as they bounded out the door.

Gazing through the doorway, I saw a patchwork of landscapes from each of the worlds I built. There was a whole crowd of characters out there. Some of them were listening to Grant and Ka’star as they related how great it was to be told in a story, but how much better it was when their story was read and enjoyed by people.

As I studied the characters, I saw several that were translucent. Those that were not fleshed out yet, just ideas, like the pale woman in the cloak made of raven feathers carrying the raven bow. I saw the man next to her and smiled, glad that they had already met even though their story hadn’t been written, yet.

Then I saw a group of people, ageless and wearing modern clothes but carrying ancient short swords. “The Direldi,” I whispered. They had been written, and then their story slashed due to word count so I could submit to a magazine. But it was rejected. Will I ever publish their story? Maybe I’ll reconstitute their tale into its original length and publish it as a novella. Then I looked again at the pale woman who was staring at me longingly, wanting her story told. Maybe a collection of novellas, I thought. Then another woman waved at me. I stared at her momentarily confused as her appearance shifted from a young fit woman into a pudgy middle-aged woman then back again. Ah! I smiled at her. Her story had been written and was waiting. Yes, a collection of novellas and I could include hers, I thought as I nodded at her. Then I spotted some other very vague characters. Are they from so long ago that I can barely remember them? Or, are they yet to come?

Then my attention was drawn to the edge of the clump of worlds to focus on the newest one. Well, it was created a long time ago, but finally written in full. A young woman with a black stripe flowing down the middle of her long blonde hair and a white tiger stood at the edge of their misty forest as they watched the other characters. They were the sharpest and brightest images. I nodded as I thought, Yes, their story is now in the polishing stage and soon to be published. I knew I wouldn’t hear much from them until their story had been published for a while. “Then, what?” I asked myself. “Are there more stories in their world?” Then I remembered how their story started. I had finished the ‘Cloud Riders’ trilogy and honestly thought I had no more stories to tell. Then one night, in my mind’s eye, I saw a terrified woman running through the mists…and now…

I looked over the landscapes and characters of my imaginary worlds again and realized that I have many, many, many more stories to tell. Slowly, I closed the door and then leaned up against it, exhausted. Oh, my, I thought, so many stories to write, so many characters to tell their stories. Time, I need more time…

Cast of characters and their stories:


Ka’star and Ailyean- ‘Cloud Riders’ trilogy

Grant and Charlotte- ‘Time Stealers’ novels

black and white kittens-’SnarlNsnorts and HissNpoots’

Sally and SALLIE- ‘Path of Totality’

Kilala, woman with white tiger- ‘Cat Hunters’ (published since this piece was written)

Mary, age and body type shifting woman- ‘Power of Personal Summers’ (published on Kindle Vella since this piece was written)

To be published-

‘The Direldi’; ‘The Raven’s Bow’

In development-

Stay tuned!

Originally written January 2021 by P. Clauss

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