Wednesday, October 17, 2012

Avenir Eclectia: Spotlight on Greg Mitchell

Avenir EclectiaAvenir Eclectia is a multi-author, shared-world, micro-fiction project hosted by Splashdown books. Volume One of the stories came out earlier this month. Greg Mitchell has ten stories in this collection, all part of a story arc involving two bug hunters—Dressler and Trebs—and their trip to the ocean depths. Some unexpected twists send the plot in surprising directions, and for the H. P. Lovecraft fans, there's an evil monster with squishy tentacles. Greg has kindly agreed to answer a few questions about his stories.

Chapman: Part of what makes the Dressler story arc so great are the surprising turns when the story shoots off in a new direction. Did you plan all of them or did they develop organically from the writing?

Mitchell: I usually do my fair share of flying by the seat of my pants, but with Dressler, I really did map the course of that story from the beginning. With Avenir being set up the way it is, with small installments, it was a very concentrated effort to make sure that each installment furthered the plot and revealed just enough of the mystery to keep you coming back. Had it been a novel, I probably would have had the last scene and just rode it out until then, but with the short vignette approach, I knew each part had to count. I suppose I approached it more as scenes of a short story—I knew I didn't have a whole lot of time or space, so I wanted to make the most of it. I wrote, I think, the last five or so installments in a single sitting, in order to keep the flow moving.

Chapman: Do you find writing stories as part of a shared world more challenging or easier than having complete control of the work?

Mitchell: I love writing in a shared universe. I have an incredible love and respect for the Star Wars Expanded Universe—where all the books, comics, movies, cartoons, card games, etc. fit into a (mostly) cohesive whole. That excites me to no end to know that all these writers and artists for 30 years have been building upon this single mosaic of creativity. I was immensely honored to get to contribute to that mosaic when I wrote a short piece about a clunky ole ship named the Dusty Duck, for the Star Wars website. There were continuity restrictions with that, but that was part of the fun. Creating something that was uniquely me, but also fit together with the creative efforts of so many. It is a little harder with Avenir when you have so much going on. You read a little bit, to see where people are at in their stories, and then you go off and write yours. And, when you come back, you find that some of the other stories have taken off in directions you hadn't anticipated and that might put a little crimp in your hose, but you just adjust and work with what you have. It forces me to be a lot more inventive and I think that, as Avenir grows, and the contributors work together more closely, it'll only get better.

Chapman: The last stories in the series contain elements of H.P. Lovecraft's fiction, albeit without the hopeless ending. Did you draw on Lovecraft's work for inspiration?

Mitchell: Oh yeah, I love Lovecraft. Ironically enough, I came to Lovecraft by way of Mike Mignola's Hellboy universe many years ago. I love the concept of the solitary man going up against this gigantic maddening mass of tentacles. It's the ultimate David and Goliath story and I'm a sucker for overcoming impossible odds and rolling up your sleeves and punching a monster right in the eye. That speaks to me on a very spiritual level, ha ha. I also like things being over-the-top, so what's bigger than a telepathic squid that wants to eat your soul, right? As for the happy ending, I'm just a big ole softy.

Greg's stories from Avenir Eclectia Volume One:
104. “Only the Strong”
107. “Dark (FLASHBACK)”
110. “Contact”
113. “Gettin’ Crazy”
115. “Separation”
118. “Making the Run”
122. “On the Eve of the End”
124. “The Last Fight (Part I)”
131. “The Last Fight (Part II)”
135. “More Bedtime Stories”

To learn more about Greg and his writing, check out his blog at
To check out the Avenir Eclectia project, visit


  1. This sounds MUY intriguing, and that's some kick-arse cover art.

    1. It's a great story line. There are similar images throughout the book.