Unfucking a Novel Chapter 1: Gems Before Garbage

  In a previous post, I illustrated my experience with NanoWriMo. The end result of this affair, for those that didn’t read the past article (it’s okay, I know how the internet is), was an incoherent mess of scattershot splattered prose applied to the digital page with the grace of monkey's throwing crap at a wall. It stinks, but the end result is that something stuck around. Despite a rambling and borderline stream of consciousness middle section, I found the beginning rife with potential. The story starts off strong enough, with a main character putting the whole collegiate board on blast before destroying his whole future in one unprovoked phone call. I took that central moment and expanded upon it, exploring their mental state after the event’s fallout, using it as a springboard to contextualize their relationship with the primary point of view character. I wanted to explore the concept of internal stress coloring one’s interactions with others and how unrelated tension can esc

On NanoWriMo

  For the uninitiated, NanoWriMo is a yearly collaboration for creatives, traditionally pressed with the daunting quest of completing a 50000 word novel in the span of a single month. During the month, I conceptualized, outlined, and completed the task by November 30, creating a story that I like to refer to as a conceptual liminal horror.  The plot beat I constructed days prior to the event was an exploration of hologram theory. The idea suggests that the reality in which we live is a digital creation, a projection of information against a cosmic void in the same vein as transparent plastic paper was to classroom projectors back in the day (do they still use those? Am I carbon-dating myself?).  I started with a singular character, a shameless exaggeration of myself as a college student; a reclusive, aloof individual more concerned with their aspirational body of work than human interaction (look, I’m working on being more sociable, okay? Give me a break; I’m an ancient reptilian). Ove

Show Your Work or No Artist Exists In a Vacuum

Yesterday I read a book called Show Your Work, a wonderful piece of non-fiction that discusses the transparency of project work.  In its digital pages (I bought the Kindle version), Austin Kleon explores the importance of (what else?) showing your work.  This is quantified in the following terms: Put the process first, not the product Tell good stories Teach what you know Don't turn into human spam There are other topics discussed, but for the sake of brevity (and density of the contents within), I'll keep it to these for now.   Process First, Not Product I find this to be the most compelling part of the book.  In it, Kleon asserts that people enjoying watching the process of an artist, to the extent that a potential audience follows creatives who show 'how the sausage is made'.  Sharing stirring sentences within a book, for example, stimulates discourse and draws in a potential audience with the promise of intrigue.  No two artists work the same, after all, and reveali

Husk - a short story

  Husk   The cored husk of the world had fallen, a blackened beating heart eviscerated under the thunderous chorus of a thousand megaton bombs. I watched the Earth shiver from orbit, packed away in a cryogenic pod. As I watched from the singular frosted window allotted to my temporary resting place, I waited for the nitrous to kick in. Lucky. That’s what command had called us. We were lucky to be chosen by Central Command. We, the chosen few, had been spared the certainty of nuclear annihilation for uncertainty among the stars. As I watched my city burn in the cold absence of space, I felt nothing. The barren metal skeleton had once housed parks and coffee shops I’d frequented between extended shifts at the corporate embassies. My life had been one endless delegation hearing that rolled over from one day to the next. Lucky. Thousands of years of human tenacity and innovation amounted to this. My eyes grew heavy. If I ever awoke, it would be on alien soil untold amounts o

Eraser - A short story

Eraser     “Ten thousand cads.” A weathered hand reached across the desk. The skin resembled crumpled up tissue paper. The rap sheet planted on the table read like an old Russian novel. The warm steam of the lit cigar wafted through an office congested with rusted filing cabinets and discarded husks of computer towers. “And you want this gone-”  “By sunset, yes.” The rotund geezer sat back in what he assumed to be an upholstered velvet chair. I sat back and pretended to contemplate the offer, knowing damn well I was going to take the job. I needed it. The heart medicine’s price had skyrocketed. I had to start halving pills to keep up with the work.  I didn’t tell him any of that. Pretending was very important in my line of work. There was a thin dotted line between professionalism and bullshit and I had bullshitted my way to being the best professional freelance code cracker the city had ever seen.  “Alright, let’s begin.” I hunkered down in front of the old terminal and re-calibrated

Black Line - A Short Story

  It was ticking. Countless miles of endless space surrounded the dusty shell of my chrome sling ship and the damned box was ticking. For a moment I sat there, dumbfounded, as the toasted console restarted. I ‘d over clocked the engine to shave a few hours off the delivery time but in my hubris, I hadn’t notice that the radiator had popped. The package was in some kind of icebox and the only instructions that came with it were to keep it under zero degrees Celsius. I took a quick glance at the embedded thermometer. One degree Celsius and rising. I’d run the Black Line for a couple of years now, a runner’s term for the illegal warp routes through cosmic gateways abandoned due to bureaucratic red tape and infrastructural decay. The unregulated slipshod relay system came with an endless laundry list of dangers, but there was no comparison to the speed when piloted by elite couriers. Most corporations stuck to the sanctioned lines, well-trodden mass transit routes like the B

Ports — A Short Story

  “No one is going to remember us, you know.” She sat on the railing and kicked her legs in free space. A thin steel multi-alloy anti-radiation wall stood between us and the infinite space of countless stars. I said nothing and sipped a canned cider I’d purchased from duty-free. It was bitter and disappointing, yet filled the empty hole all the same. The collectors weren’t out tonight. You could tell when they were out by the faint blue-orange tinges over the iridescent sheen of the terra-formed bio-dome. “Do you think it’s true?” She paused and pursed her synthetic micro-filament lips. I feigned ignorance as to what she meant. We both saw the rolling cosmic explosion over the horizon. Supernova. The word had meant little to me twenty-five years ago; a buzz-word in an educational neural implant data stream. I was never a good student. My talents were in number crunching and box ticking, the kind of menial work that should’ve been automated a thousand years ago. “Slyphs