The Machinations of a Writer


Jack Thistlewood, Writer

You asked for it, and I’ve been a bit hesitant to give it. Well, I suppose it’s about time for me to drop the curtains (which most of you have probably noticed in some very not-so-subtle hints as I struggled to keep this project under wraps until the last minute). 

Included in this article are twenty-two excerpts from twenty different stories, all of which are spread out across my experience in creative writing (as you can see with this timeline that took far too long to create). Below, you’ll find my thoughts on the stories that each excerpt came from, in addition to the date in which the specific excerpts were written and the length of each story in terms of word count (Tip of the day: use Ctrl+Shift+C to find the number of words in a Google Doc!). 

In case I need to say it, the stories spoken of here are not all of the stories I’ve written. There were indeed stories written during the formidable four month gap in the midst of the timeline.

You can find the excerpts themselves HERE

Disclaimer: There are several characters and terms that are spread out across each excerpt. Of note in particular are the characters Hibiki and Shizu (typically the protagonists) and the terms Ichor, ether, and Nyx. These characters and terms are not related to each other across stories; in fact, the terms in particular can oftentimes refer to very different concepts, so caution is advised when trying to understand my nonsense.


Ichor Aria

Date: January 30, 2020

Length: 1,438 Words

The original story from which all of my other creations have spawned. Unfortunately, I can’t help but inwardly cringe whenever I read it; the prose is awful and makes terrible usage of the present tense. And while the ideas and worldbuilding don’t hold up well compared to my more recent stories, I’m surprised to see just how many of those ideas have stayed as the underlying basis for my recent delving into details like magic.


Ichor Aria R

Date: March 27, 2020

Length: 74,695 Words

My third story, and probably the one that made me start to take writing more seriously. Taking place over several story arcs, Ichor Aria R is actually one of my longest stories (despite having been written within a timeframe of two weeks). It meanders quite a bit and, having been written before I had even half of an idea about how to be creative, takes a frankly disturbing amount of inspiration from plenty of other stories. If I had to choose, Ichor Aria R would probably take the cake for “has the most convoluted explanations for how things happen.” Still, I can’t help but adore this mad scientist of a story.


Ichor Aria Lunar

Date: May 7, 2020

Length: 30,064 Words

Ichor Aria Lunar… gets weird in a hurry. If I had to guess, that’s probably because I was still naïve enough to think that deleting a few pages for the sake of story progress would be the end of the world. I just kept writing and writing and… writing. Still, I can’t deny how well this particular story handled isolation, filling those spans of time not with “Some time later,” but genuine descriptions of what characters focus on and do. 


Ichor Aria Vein

Date: May 12, 2020

Length: 25,751 Words

Much like Ichor Aria Lunar, Ichor Aria Vein goes to some very strange places. It gets heavy-handed with certain interactions at times, but this is probably one of the few stories I’ve written in which characters’ motivations feel solid and reasonable. Considering how often I still struggle with character motivation, Ichor Aria Vein can certainly be considered a diamond amongst the dirt. 


The Aria Experiment

Date: July 5, 2020

Length: 33,511 Words 

You’ve all heard about this story a couple of times now. I am a bit annoyed with how much of an information dump the prologue is (and how multiple drafts of this story went nowhere fast), but The Aria Experiment’s worldbuilding is one of the strongest overarching foundations for a vast majority of my other stories. In fact, I haven’t done much to alter the main system surrounding the Nyx and their abilities, considering how well it meshes with my writing style. 


The Dead Man’s Tale

Date: August 24, 2020

Length: 2,016 Words

This one is… probably long overdue, considering that I wrote an entire analytical article surrounding it. I have no idea what kind of mood I was in to write something so depressing and nihilistic, but that extreme viewpoint was a new experience that helped to teach me more about the oftentimes instinctive nature of writing.


From Fire to Ashes

Date: September 1, 2020

Length: 18,907 Words

By the time this story rolled around, I was beginning to seriously consider a career in writing. Some of the worldbuilding details are convoluted, but From Fire to Ashes is certainly one of the best at spreading those details out over a wide range of writing. It might not be one of the first stories I think of when I want to reread something, but it’s always a pleasure to see how my ability to work towards an envisioned future event can be discerned within the writing itself.


Ichor Echo

Date: September 17, 2020

Length: 41,896 Words

Ichor Echo marks a point in time in which I started working towards improving the length and detail of my writing. I set goals for myself and tried to keep a consistent frame of view in mind, resulting in one of the longest singular documents I’ve written. 



Date: October 26, 2020

Length: 7,499 Words

Basically The Aria Experiment, but with giant monsters. It’s not the first story to be written from the perspective of a humanoid monster, and it certainly won’t be the last, but it is perhaps one of the most memorable. It’s a shame that it’s so short.


Collective Unconscious:

Date: December 2, 2020

Length: 909 Words

Unlike the other excerpts collected here, Collective Unconscious is an example of one of my brainstorming documents. I could never get far enough in any one of my stories to genuinely explore its ideas, but it certainly makes for a long-term goal to work towards.


Ichor Corruption

Date: April 28, 2021

Length: 12,499 Words

To be honest, this is probably one of my more mediocre stories. It works, for all intents and purposes, but future stories improved upon its beginnings and expanded outwards in a much better fashion. In all likelihood, it doesn’t help much that a certain excerpt later on is… much more similar to this one than I thought.


Ichor Wrath

Date: June 26, 2021

Length: 30,326 Words

In a certain magic-related article, I’ve discussed my pet peeves with trying to explain/develop magic. Ichor Wrath is one of the most technically advanced stories I’ve written thus far, going extremely in-depth with how the process of magic works and how it can be utilized effectively.


Ichor Eater

Date: July 27, 2021

Length: 13,332 Words

Kind of like Infernal, but with a focus on the human side of the apocalypse that takes a couple of hints from The Aria Experiment. One of several stories that took some time to get into but ended up being a favorite. 


Ichor Evolution

Date: August 30, 2021

Length: 27,208 Words

Much like Ichor Corruption, Ichor Evolution is a somewhat mediocre project that paved the way for much better stories later on (particularly the next two entries, Ichor Suffrage and Ichor Scarlet). It also took some inspiration from Ichor Wrath and attempted a more technical approach, but some ideas were introduced too quickly for this approach to have been particularly effective.


Ichor Suffrage

Date: September 8, 2021

Length: 65,767 Words

A story that might as well have been a research experiment into how much a writer can make their characters suffer. As the title implies, this particular story was focused on the protagonist attempting to gain acceptance and the faith of others. 


Ichor Scarlet

Date: November 1, 2021

Length: 45,477 Words

Far and away one of my favorites (hence why it’s the only story to have more than a singular excerpt included). It did a fantastic job of blending many ideas from previous stories into a singular whole, and, if I had better self-control, could easily have been twice as long. 


Ichor Lucid

Date: January 21, 2022

Length: 23,343 Words

Bears a heavy resemblance to Ichor Eater in terms of its world and story. I… didn’t even realize how similar they are, actually. Even the two excerpts are prologues that take place from the perspectives of side characters…


The Refrain

Date: January 31, 2022

Length: 867 Words

I honestly have no idea where this particular story came from. 


Ichor Collision

Date: February 1, 2022

Length: 27,923 Words

As the title implies, the standout idea in this story is that it takes some inspiration from the Collective Unconscious plan. In other words, it takes place in two entirely different settings, both of which gradually, well… collide. As with many of my other stories, however, it was somewhat rushed and didn’t get too particularly far as a result. 


Ichor Etheria

Date: February 23, 2022

Length: 5,374 Words

Now, where have we seen a description like this before? Ichor Etheria is one of my latest works and is yet another attempt to start off slow, taking the time to explore the world as a whole before getting into the story itself.


For all of the people who’ve decided to even read this article, thank you so much. And for those who’ve stuck with me the past three years, I don’t think I can thank you enough. This is my gift to all of you, and I hope that I can deliver even more in the future.