My mind plays peculiar tricks on me. Nice tricks, but tricks nonetheless.
Without my being consciously aware of it, my mind will plant seed / lay track for complex developments in the stories I write.
Case in point: A couple of weeks ago I started my dark barbarian fantasy story.
At the time I thought I’d have a 2,800 – 3,500 word story when done.
I passed the 10,000 word mark last night and anticipate going to at least 12,000 – 15,000 before I’m done.
The more I wrote, the richer that world became.
As soon as I had the basic idea, I knew how the story would have to end.
What I didn’t have was a coda or denouement for it.
When I started it, I didn’t have a specific weapon in mind for my protagonist. About 1,000 or so words in I gave them a battle axe then, about 3,000 words in, decided to have them visit a weaponsmith to modify it into a weapon I’d originally created for a villain in Thundarr The Barbarian.
ABC’s Standards & Practices (i.e., the censors) took one look at my design and passed on it but the idea
festered sat in the back of me widdle head all this time.
When I decided to give the protagonist this modified weapon, I realized I had my coda: A scene in which said weapon would be used against the #1 Baddie.
But the way in which it’s used against #1 Baddie practically begged a sequel story, so I thought, okay, once this story is done I’ll think about a sequel.
Of course, once the weapon was modified by the weaponsmith, I had to show it in action.
Now, my story needed three key scenes to work: Big, Bigger, Biggest. A minor bad guy provided the impetus for the Bigger scene, but that was pretty much his whole contribution to the story.
Well, with the modified weapon, he soon found himself on the receiving end of some Major League Karma after his Bigger scene was finished.
A satisfying end to him, and a good bridge to the next scene, the Biggest.
That scene required a major bad guy, and I envisioned him as a plausible Bluto, a malevolent Bud Spencer.
The major bad guy had to arrive at the locale by ship; my story is set in a location that has a real world / historical parallel (i.e., the Mediterranean) that required it to be accessible by ships.
In the course of the story, various characters roughly fill us in on the geography of this fantasy world: The Northern Lands (i.e., Europe), The Eastern Lands (i.e., the Middle and Far East), The Southern Lands (i.e., Africa).
While not mentioned specifically, this world has nothing but open seas to the west.
So my protagonist goes to meet the major bad guy as their ship arrives (at this point in the story the protagonist is not aware of who the major bad guy is; when they recognize the major bad guy it sets the ball a’rolling towards the climax).
And when the major bad guy disembarks, he’s wearing a mask to hide his identity (which makes sense because his motive in the story is something a lot of other people would want to stop if they knew he was interested in it).
So my protagonist is escorting the major bad guy to the scene of the climax, still not knowing who he is…
…and then my protagonist realizes through the disguise it’s not a him but a her.
The Mongols national myth says there was a mother with five sons, each by a different father. The mother held out her hand before them and showed that while each finger (and thumb) was independent, they were also linked together…
…and if they closed in to form a fist, they could strike at their enemies.
And all of a sudden my major bad guy became a Mom with three sons she wants to make god-kings of The Northern Lands, The Eastern Lands, The Southern Lands.
Much better motivation than I originally thought out for major bad guy.
And then the sequel I envision after the death of #1 Bad Guy suddenly popped into sharp focus, and it would involve Son #3…
…because my protagonist, after disposing of Mom, would then go after Son #1…
…but somebody would tip off Son #2 and he’d come looking for my protagonist…
…and the aftermath of that would be the original sequel idea I envisioned.
If they each average 15,000 words, then I’ve got a novel.
With everything else I’ve got on deck, it will probably take me a minimum of four years to finish the stories, using them as a palette cleanser between other projects.
NOT the protagonist in my story!!!
 Figuring Robert E. Howard’s Kull (whom I actually prefer over Conan) was the only other major fantasy character to carry such a weapon.
 Actually, they said something along the lines of “HOLY #%@&ING %#@&! ARE YOU INSANE?!?!? YOU CAN’T PUT THAT IN THE HANDS OF A SATURDAY MORNING CARTOON CHARACTER!!!”
 Because I’m too damned lazy to try to come up with story ideas for five sons.
 Hey, ya need a little variety, ammiright?