So the timing of this is rushed. Whenever I have a new short story or series I usually try to promote it before hand. I didn’t do that with this new short story series. It was more of a ‘okay, a good chunk of it is done, let’s just get it to the blog now’.
The new short story can be found under the short stories tab. It’s titled Harding Middle School Confidential. It takes place in a futuristic setting and centers around the main character named Julius Meadow. He’s a transfer student with his dad being in the military and he’s come to yet another school for what he hopes will be the last move.
Already having reservations about being the new kid, Julius just wants to settle down, stay out of the way and not draw attention to himself until he can find friends he can trust. However, it isn’t long before Julius finds himself breaking up altercations with some of the kids who’ve made it clear they pick on the helpless. This draws unwanted attention not only from the bullies but also from a student named Marcus Andrews.
Marcus has been asked by Principal Coldwater to lead a group of students for an experimental program that she hopes would help combat the many growing factions feuding in the school. Julius accepts and it isn’t long before things get underway.
As the group, known as the Harding Enforcement Squad (or HES) solves case after case of student infractions things begin to take a nose dive. Soon the group finds themselves unraveling and getting mixed up in the chaos of Harding Middle School. Adding insult to injury, accusations emerge that even Principal Coldwater has a hand in the madness for her own selfish cause. Whether true or false, the HES will get to the center of the anarchy.
That’s basically it and the opening page gives an even smaller nutshell of the story. But this project came about a while ago. I thought it would be cool to do something along these lines. As a kid I remember watching shows like Kim Possible, Sailor Moon, Kids Next Door, Scooby Doo (which is my favorite of all even as an adult) and others. I loved the idea of kids solving crimes/mysteries but also juggling school.
In middle school I was inspired to try my hand at striking this balance and wrote a novella (it was only 19 chapters). I had a lead character with five other minor leads (the friends of the main character who also were part of the group solving school mysteries) and they were working for the principal in that project as well. Unfortunately, because I thought I knew what I was doing and really didn’t, I erased it by accident trying to save it from the computer onto a floppy disc. I was crushed. At the same time that sparked me to write more novels and that’s how I basically came to writing novels.
As an adult I grew to enjoy shows like Criminal Minds, Law and Order: SVU and CSI to name a few. So when I was developing Harding Middle School Confidential I wanted it to be for kids, on a kid level but have a little bit of realism to it. I also like the detective noir (think The Maltese Falcon) and I wanted to add that into the mix as well. Even though it was for kids I didn’t want the characters to be too immature, because I was mature for my age in middle school (at least that’s what I was told a lot) and so I wanted these characters to have a bit more maturity. As I continued to develop the story/plot and setting I tried to keep these things in mind so there are a lot of balances I try to strike in this series. But I also wanted a grand villain, not just the smaller villains (delinquent children) and I found it 🙂
A lot of changes took place in the development of this story and a lot of balances I tried to (and hopefully with success) strike. What it came down to was keeping it with fantasy/sci-fi elements (because ya’ll know that’s my writing home) mixed with realism. If I had to compare Harding Middle School Confidential I’d say it strikes a match between Kids Next Door (as far as the fantasy/sci-fi is concerned) with Law and Order: SVU (not with heavy subjects though), and a pinch of detective noir. I didn’t want to go heavy on the noir because I wanted to keep it light and fun. There is even a little funny in their with how the characters act and react with each other.
There is also another element I want to add as part of this story’s reader experience. It will be titled Harding Confidential Times. It’s the school’s magazine with art, editorial, opinion column, comics, poetry, school related news, school district news, sporting events, announcements, student and teacher highlight, interviews and student court proceedings. Obviously, the student court proceedings would be the part I focus on and it would be something readers can read in between each series for each case the HES has solved. It would only touch on the highlights of the case, evidence presented and which witness testimonies were key and of course the sentencing. Now the charges will be mentioned in the actual stories. I think I’ll also post my notes on what constitute as infractions and what charges they can warrant, I haven’t decided on this yet.
I thought it would be something fun to have that as part of this project. The prelude series goes live today at 5pm. The story starts off with a prelude series and then it’ll get into the ‘meat and potatoes’ if you will. Be sure to catch it and follow the Harding Middle School stories.
I hope you enjoy 🙂