Once upon a time, I was daydreaming.
This is a completely common activity for me; however, on this particular Sunday morning, I was daydreaming about a tale I’d learned as a little girl at a Lunar New Year festival in San Francisco.
(The festival was back when I lived on an island in the San Francisco Bay.)
After visiting with this tale in my daydreams, my mind drifted to another tale; one I’d learned from Father.
Both of these tales that filled my daydreams on that Sunday morning were from ancient China.
When I got home, I adapted these two tales in audio plays.
(There was a time, years before these daydreams, when I’d written audio plays regularly.)
I adapted that first daydream (the one I’d been told, along with a crowd of other children, at that Lunar New Year festival) into a script called “The Tree,” and I adapted the second one into a script called “The Pillow.”
While it had been years between my previous audio scripts and these two, my imagination was now active, and my mind bounced to two more tales, which I thought I could adapt in a way so that all four fit into the same world.
These two were ancient Jewish tales; the introduction of Daniel (which is likely one of the world’s oldest detective stories), and the tale of Judith.
I like sharing, so I wondered, “What if I used these tales as a foundation for a shared world?”
This question led me to doing the first draft of my simple guide for writing in this world, which I now called “Tales of the Middle Kingdom.”
I had a sudden shocking realization that I had a fantasy world, and had somehow neglected to discuss how the magic in it works, so I wrote the script “The Forrest,” to demonstrate the possibilities and limits of magic in our kingdom.
While I was still energized from this fifth script, I overheard a conversation between some imaginary people.
(This is often how my writing works; audio is my strongest sense, not visual, so I hear characters conversing with each other.)
And this conversation became the sixth (and final) of my TotMK scripts; “Steamed Siblings.”
So, six scripts; two based on Chinese tales, two based on Jewish tales, and two original ones.
In universe, the order of the tales (beginning with the chronologically first/oldest) is:
- The Pillow
- Detective Dani
- The Forrest
- Steamed Siblings
- The Tree
After completing this work, I felt that I, as someone who isn’t Chinese, shouldn’t be the person to lead a project founded on and rooted in Chinese culture.
So, all of these tales (and the writing guide) have been collecting dust for almost exactly four years.
However, I’ve now decided to share them with the world.
Perhaps they’ll amuse and entertain; maybe stir imaginations.
I wrestled with releasing them, as I don’t want to cause offense, and ask your pardon if I do so.
You may download a zip file that includes PDFs of the six scripts, the writing guide, and the Creative Commons copyright notice for these materials, here: