460. Adam’s Story: The Premise

For anyone new to Adam’s story, here’s an introduction.

We begin with the basics today. The finer points of story planning really ought to wait until I’ve said a thing or two about my story’s fundamental premise.

Here we go.


Death! What a cheerful way to start a story.

Lance Eliot is dying, and he’s not terribly happy about it. Death is unexpectedly complicated. (Seriously, have you ever tried it? The legal paperwork is horrendous.) As he resignedly puts his affairs in order, Lance sits down to write a memoir of his adventures. He doesn’t expect anyone to believe it, but his story deserves to be told, and he’ll tell it if it’s the last thing he does… which it probably will be. Man, death is a nuisance.

This is his story.

Long before his death, Lance Eliot is a college student in the little town of Crossroads, Indiana. He’s eager to go home for Christmas break, but one thing stands in his way. He must confront a professor nicknamed the Skeleton—a gaunt, ill-tempered instructor of literary criticism—and plead for a passing grade in his class.

After a torturous discussion of Dante’s Inferno, Lance escapes the Skeleton, staggers to the nearest coffee shop, and buys a drink. Then, with no warning whatsoever, he disappears from Crossroads and reappears in a strange new world. Lance is lost and alone. Worst of all, when he vanished, he left behind his drink.

Spiritual coffee

Never mind Lance dying. Losing his coffee is the real tragedy here.

Lance eventually learns that he was transported to this unfamiliar world by an arcane power called aer… or as he puts it, “basically magic.” He’s now stranded in the kingdom of Guardia, a tropical nation tucked between two vast empires. Its society is antiquated, but not primitive; Lance later compares it to the Renaissance.

In some ways, Guadia seems too fantastical to be true. Aer, that mystical power, is channeled by a gifted few known as aerists. Stories abound of El Enthroned, the Greater God, and of his servants, the Twelve Seraphs. Dragons exist, apparently. Lance is skeptical, and not exactly pleased. “I’m stranded in a fantasy novel,” he grumbles. “Great.”

His mood only worsens when he learns why he was brought to Guardia. The kingdom stands upon the brink of annihilation. A young aerist, eager to help, tried to summon Lancelot, the legendary knight of Camelot… but got Lance Eliot instead. It’s hard to say who’s more upset: Lance Eliot, or the people who got him instead of the hero they wanted.

Now trapped in Guardia, Lance must face many trials to find a way home, and he’ll have to do it all without coffee. Even if he manages to get back to Crossroads, he’ll still have to face the Skeleton. Lance would frankly rather face the dragons.

Thus begins begins the story of Lance Eliot, which is also kind of my story. I did name this series of blog posts Adam’s Story for a reason, y’know. The next post in the series will probably focus on the setting or characters. We’ll see.

Thanks for reading!

3 thoughts on “460. Adam’s Story: The Premise

  1. I find your set-up intriguing. Several times I’ve contemplated a Christian fantasy, and one of the elements I’ve always found needs a lot of tinkering is magic. Is it a force like electricity that anyone can use, and its nature (good or bad) depends on the user, or are there essentially two kinds of power (like L’Engles “magic vs. miracle” distinction)?

    Also, I think for a fantasy that has a Christian background has to be even sneakier these days as we pass those “watchful dragons,” if we want to be as artistically effective. Or is your target audience already Christian?

    • My target audience isn’t necessarily Christian, and I don’t consider my project a religious one. The reason I’m building it upon a Christian worldview is that I believe that God is the Creator of this world, and if that’s true, he must by necessity be the Creator of all other worlds.

      It was challenging, especially at first, to reconcile magic with a Christian worldview. For me, the key was realizing that God is, theoretically, under no obligation to make every plane of existence follow the same natural laws. Magic may not be a God-created phenomenon in our own world, but why couldn’t it be in a separate one?

      I’m excited to tinker with some of my old ideas for my story project. In previous versions, for example, magic existed without any real explanation. This time, magic (or aer, as I’m calling it) has roots in the story’s lore.

  2. That sounds right to me. Dorothy L. Sayers has said the author has the responsibility to serve his art first, and then his worldview will naturally arise in what he writes.

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