So I don’t really do flash fiction — stories less than 1000 words. I’ve never really understood the point of them. It’s just not enough room for an author to get a story out! But when my friend Phil Giunta decided to start Flash Fiction Fridays on his site, I decided, what the hell, I’ve been trying to learn to write short.
It’s not necessarily easy. It’s hard to find good models. The shortest fiction in the mainstream is that of Saki — H.H. Munro — and even his stuff is 30 – 50% too long.
But I did manage to come up with an idea. Last year, I wrote my third entry in the ReDeus series, published by Crazy 8 Press. Titled “Chinigchinix Nixes Pix,” it was dubbed by editor Bob Greenberger to be “The Weirdest Story We’ve Received So Far.” Gotta love earning a superlative, huh? “Nixes Pix,” as I affectionately call it (mostly because the name of the patron deity of the Tongvah people is really hard to pronounce!) was the story of a Hollywood screenwriter who must deal with meddling gods while trying to adapt a bestselling young adult novel called Call Me Sam. The idea of the novel was a throwaway gag. With all the supernatural stuff that’s thrown out (and possibly up) in the YA field, it seemed that the only thing left to commercialize was a kid who finds out he’s actually the angel of death.
But the idea grew on me immediately, and I realized that, someday, I’d like to write the story of the young man who becomes the collector of souls. I don’t have time to write another novel just now, but here’s the kernel of that story, “Call Me Sam.”
Saturday, this was the thought of the day for me. I awoke to learn that a young man I knew, not a close friend but someone I liked very much, was dying. Indeed, he was dead before I finished my first cup of coffee. I’d known he was sick. I’d known he was in the hospital. I’d just thought, “This is a young, healthy guy, and he’s coming home.”
He didn’t come home. I was… angry. How stupid is that? It’s no one’s fault. Someone catches a rare infection. I assume doctors do everything they can, but, we’re not immortal. What’s the point of getting angry?
Would you believe I have three blog posts written, and yet, here I sit on a Tuesday evening with not one post ready to go? I have roughed out three very different essays: a review, a rant and a business / leadership reflection. Having done so, I didn’t sweat last night. Normally, on Monday nights, I finish (or start and finish) my blog while Christian has his Taekwondo class. 2,000 words in an hour. Not hard. And I can spend 20 minutes editing on Tuesday. Last night I thought I was ahead of the game.
Tonight, I looked at my three “roughed out” blogs. Put the emphasis on “rough.” None of these were ready to edit! What was I thinking? Of course, I was thinking about twelve other things–work deadlines, the story I was editing, personal business that needed to be dealt with in the wake of a whirlwind trip to my family home in the mountains…
This week’s entry is Phil Giunta’s idea. Phil asked me to join in this Blog Hop, where I answer four questions and then nominate three other writers to do the same, and they’ll nominate three other writers, and so on, and so on…
I don’t normally do these “pyramid scheme” types of posts, as my friend Nobilis Reed calls them. But this is an opportunity to talk about my writing and to give some other authors some exposure. These are a few of my favorite things, so I’m in.
1. What am I working on?
Lots of things, always. I’m outlining a sixty-minute radio play for performance at Farpoint 2015. I’m kicking around ideas for a flash fiction piece (I don’t think I’ve ever written one, unless you count this. It’s 1470 words, so it’s probably too long.) I’m writing a 6,000-word short story, my third in as many months, and I’ve got a novel outline in development. I’ve also got a page of bullet points for potential projects, including some possible Appalachian romantic comedies and ghost stories. Science Fiction is starting to chafe. Continue reading
I hate political memes. Hate them with a fiery passion. A person’s political philosophy is, or should be, too complex to fit into a few words crammed onto a photograph. If a person’s philosophy is not too complex to do so, then I would submit that they need to delay participating in civil society until they’ve learned a bit more about the world and how it works.
That said, I can think of two philosophies that fit in a meme that are valid: “Do unto others as you would have them do unto you,” and “And ye harm none, do as ye will.”
I don’t see either of those being posted on Facebook, though.
Note: If you haven’t seen the film, take my word for nothing in here. PLEASE see it and draw your own conclusions. It’s still running in 65 theaters around the country.
Continuing my review of Atlas Shrugged: Who Is John Galt, I wish to pause for a disclaimer and a shout-out. First, the disclaimer: I am speaking frankly about this film because I believe in the project. I respect the passion of the creative team behind it. I understand the obstacles they had to overcome to bring an overwhelmingly popular book to film under the eye of a film industry that largely holds its audience in contempt, and believes that this book is only popular because most of the reading public is too stupid to know what’s good for them. I admire their effort, and I hope it will ultimately pay off.
I had one all planned, and partially written, but circumstances have conspired against me. I decided, on a whim, to spend the weekend trying to meet a very short deadline on an opportunity I’d just learned about. I met it, but I spent all of my free time Saturday, Sunday and Monday evening writing and editing.
On top of that, I had a system outage at work Saturday night, had to plan for a long-overdue meeting with my staff Monday morning, and then Monday learned that we’d be pulling an all-nighter this Wednesday, and spending every moment until then scrambling to be ready.
So, sorry… No blog this week. But I hope to start next week feeling accomplished.
And, hey, if you’re coming to Baltimore Book Festival, stop by the SFWA tent at 4 PM this Friday and listen in on the panel I’m doing with fellow members of the Heinlein Facebook Forum on Robert A. Heinlein’s literary legacy.
Actually, I feel torn. One the one hand, I supported this movie financially via Kickstarter. I think very well of the producers and creative team who have, thus far, brought us one excellent film and one pretty good one in this trilogy. Criticizing them in public feels a bit like airing dirty laundry, disloyalty to the cause. And yet… When I see something done poorly, by people who want to do a good job, and I know how it could be done better… I feel like I have to say something. Even though saying something seems to put me in the ranks of the many film critics who will say this movie is a desperate, laughable attempt to bring recognition to a set of lunatic fringe ideas, and that the poor quality of the film is just a testament to how unsound their thinking is.
I happened upon this volume almost by accident. I’ve always been a huge fan of Gerry and Sylvia Anderson’s 1975 – 1977 science fiction series, Space: 1999. I’ve got a bit of a chip on my shoulder about it, in fact, because the show seems to provoke resentment from most corners of Fandom. If you’re a fan over the age of about 35, you remember how it felt to like Star Trek or comic books, back before Fandom became just another cash cow for Hollywood? Before the Marvel Movies conquered the box office? Before The Big Bang Theory? (The show, not the actual theory. Note the italics. Punctuation is key.) Before geek was chic?
Yeah, it was a bad feeling to be a fan in those days. Everyone looked down on you, to include your peers, siblings, teachers, sometimes even your parents! Well, as bad as that felt for, say a Star Trek fan, it was worse for a Space: 1999 fan. Everyone looked down on us, including all other fans! To this day, I’m careful at cons and on panel discussions about mentioning my love of this series, because people actually groan in revulsion.
I’m very proud of this little collection, which introduces five new authors and a new artist to the Firebringer stable. I hope everyone will enter to win a free copy, and, if you don’t win, will buy a paper or e-edition from Smashwords, Amazon, Barnes & Noble or the retailer of your choice!