One week ago, I launched a writing project called Azrael's Stop. Far from traditional writing, it's an experiment in unorthodox narrative, serial fiction, and transmedia storytelling theory. It's live now at azraelsstop.com
Azrael's Stop is an experimental transmedia story, telling a serial narrative over the course of a year through daily installments of microfiction -- just a few sentences at a time, the smallest slice of a scene. Over time, these snippets reveal the characters and setting and arcs that make up the story, as the audience pieces together what's happening.
"One of these days, I'm moving next door," said the mortician. "I would save a lot of time."
Every month, this serial microfiction is augmented by a piece of bonus content, which expands the story and world in ways the microfiction cannot -- short stories, music, games, audio plays, and more.
It is a fantasy-genre, YA-flavoured story of a mystical tavern called Azrael’s Stop, where rumour says people are led when they’re ready to die. The narrative centres around the seventeen-year-old bartender named Ceph, who has seen everyone he loves die throughout his life. He wants to understand why he’s at this place, surrounded by death, and wants to find a way he can have some kind of normal life — but he is afraid that if he lets himself too close to anyone, they too will die. Will those who come to the Stop be able to pull him back to the world of the living, or will he only be pushed further into darkness?
I originally ran Azrael's Stop for four months in the spring. It wasn't quite accomplishing what I hoped from it, and I started to identify a number of problems, so I put it on hiatus. So this is really a re-launch -- I hope I've fixed all the problems, but we'll have to see how it goes.
I wrote a full breakdown of the problems I found and how I've tried to fix them at Simon Staffans' blog, here.
Azrael's Stop is first and foremost an experiment, a proof-of-concept. I'm having fun figuring it out, and I've heard good things from my readers so far.
But it's very different from traditional storytelling, and I'm always looking for ways to improve it. Maybe it won't work at all, but I hope there's something there.
A Labour of Love
I'm not getting paid for this. It's a personal project, a labour of love, which I'm not even trying to charge for you to read and experience (though I hope to compile it all at the end of the year to sell as an ebook and album, if I have the audience to warrant it). Several people have helped me out on various aspects of the project, or still are, and none of them are being paid either. We just love the idea and love what we're doing.
And so I'd like to invite you to check it out. I've tried to make it as easy as possible to get into -- a starting point, an introduction, a complete archive, a summary of the story so far. You can follow it on its primary website, or on Facebook, Twitter, or Tumblr. Monthly archives will be posted on Scribd and Wattpad.
If you like what you see, I'd love to hear from you. If you have questions or comments -- ditto. (Email at firstname.lastname@example.org, send to @azraelsstop or @floerianthebard on Twitter, or on Facebook on the Azrael's Stop page or the Silverstring Media page.) If you know others who might be interested, please pass it on.
And most of all, enjoy.