Wrote a new microfiction piece last night in response to the following writing prompt: “The man screamed, for he was just an inch in the fourth dimension away from his own universe, but so helplessly trapped in one that was not his own.” The premise sounded interesting to me, and I wanted to focus on why he was taken away. It quickly became a small short called ‘The Last One.’
One reason I do microfiction is that it’s a great way to keep my chops up. Another reason is, it’s a great way for me to meet new readers. Am I a good writer? Can I tell a good story? You can make a decision pretty quick when you read some of my microfiction. Here’s a quick sample:
So close, yet so far.
Scrabbling at the unseen barrier. It doesn’t feel like anything. Not glass, not metal, not plastic or wood. I can feel nothing, no texture, under my fingertips. But it’s there, separating me. Just one small more bit, not even the width of two fingers, that’s the distance between me and home.
“Help!” I scream. “Help me!” I can see them. Ordinary people, ordinary day. It’s a street corner, 85th or 86th Street. Central Park West, where my grandmother used to take us to walk her dog. Taxis, buses, people and animals. I can see them, hear them, even smell them. But that’s as close as I’ll get.
Have a great rest of your day, and Write On!
Created a new piece of scifi microfiction in response to the prompt: ‘Humans never managed to developed laster-than-light travel. Instead, they developed ways to discretely piggyback on ships that can. The other races in the galaxy are getting suspicious.’ So, I decided to write a story where humans are treated like pests. Guess how they decide to treat us? I hope you enjoy ‘Pest Control.’
“Oh god, here’s another one!”
“Quick, deploy the sentinel.” A whirring airbot hurtles from the darkness, lidar scans searching for the critters. They can’t hide forever, sentinels know what to look for. Air composition changes, skin oil deposits, spoor. Little beasts are cute in a way, but they’re dangerous to the traveling elite.
“There, there!” The airbot responds to the chief engineers shout, tracking to the left. They listen to scurrying sounds, feet scraping against metal and plastic. “seems to be more than one. I can hear two sets of mandibles.”
His assistant, the one responsible for sentinel maintenance, nods his head. “Should install vermin guards on the cargo bays. Keep waiting for them to appropriate the funds.”
“It’s in the next phase of ship mod work. We’ll get there. In the meantime, watch the fun!” The chief engineer cackles, one of six green bellies drapes over the handrail. “Go, go. Run you little turd!”
“Hey!” a third voice joins them. It’s Ry’legh, the midshipman. “I got five credits, says this one lasts longer than ten minutes against your sentinel.”
“You’re on,” the assistant replies. “I sent our best. This little booger don’t stand a chance.” His airbot seems to sense the new tension in the air and chirps with determination. This isn’t a matter of life and death, it’s a matter of cash! It re-acquires its target, another dirty-faced, nearly-sentient human, running for its life among the hulks of cargo containers in Cargo Bay 7.
Just finished a new fiction piece based on the following prompt: “You and your spouse are having a nice vacation, relaxing on the beach in the sunlight. You got a notification on your phone and checked it out. It was your spouse asking you when you’ll be going on vacation.” Something about the prompt instantly made me think of a Hitchcock film and Ray Bradbury. I’m calling it ‘Better Half’ and I hope you enjoy it.
I started writing ‘Battlefield Surgeon’ in response to the following writer’s prompt on Reddit: “You are a surgeon working the front lines of the American Civil War. 2 soldiers bring in another, shot twice, one in each leg. Looking closely you realize it is your brother. “Fix him up enough that he can be hanged for desertion” one of them says.”
War isn’t something to be glorified. This prompt struck a chord with me simply because it illustrates the impossible circumstances that humanity can put itself in. War is a horror, how should a doctor respond? I took inspiration from An Occurrence at Owl Creek Bridge by Ambrose Bierce and started typing.
Thanks for waiting for my next post – I think you’ll be pleased. I picked up a writing prompt on Monday: “You research pathogens for the CDC. You’ve been given a blood sample from a frozen corpse that is over 70,000 years old. As you start to resolve the image, you realize the sample is filled with nanomachines and they are coming to life.” I broke the story up into two sections and I’m calling it ‘Nanobreak.’
We always imagine outbreaks taking place in third world locations, but what if they begin as a pathogen our systems can’t protect because they don’t understand?
Started some new microfiction over at Reddit that seems to be winding down now. ‘Lone Survivor’ is based on the writing prompt: “it’s been 14 months since the bombs fell. For 14 months you have had no one to talk to, no variety to your diet and nothing interesting to do. But today the air scrubbers in your bunker have stopped working. You now have to leave in search of repair parts or die.”
Inspiration for the story comes from several places: Cloverfield 10, Firefly, The Road by Cormac McCarthy, and the artist pictured to the right: Simon Stålenhag. I wanted to paint a portrait of a simple guy, with a painful past, facing an uncertain future. I even named him ‘Chad,’ because I hate the name Chad and thought it would be fun to create a hero I immediately disliked. Anyway, I hope you enjoy it!
Happy Sunday – here is some new microfiction to get you started on your week. I hope you enjoy it, I ended up typing the whole thing out on my mobile phone while I waited for a new writing computer to arrive.
The writing prompt was fairly complex, but the concept is simple. It’s based on that old Internet meme: ‘If you ask him, he can tell you how long you have left to live, but only because he shoots everyone who asks him with a revolver as a joke.’ I hope you enjoy …
I won’t focus on Elon Musk this week. Wrote something nice for him the other day, now he’s pissing off the Internet. That’s life for you. Instead, let’s talk about ‘Lake Geneva Shores’ – this new piece of scifi microfiction I wrote this week.
People enjoyed it. I try to stick with writing prompts that are original and scifi focused. That’s what scratches my itch, and the itch of the readers I want to write for. The prompt’s premise is simple enough: “‘Why does your ID say you’re only 17?'” “‘Time travel.'”
Sound like fun? Okay, let’s roll – hope you enjoy:
Now it’s time for some new scifi microfiction – I wrote ‘Evil Genius’ in response to the writing prompt: ‘You are an Evil Overlord about to conquer the known world, but there is a catch: You are competent.’
Writing a good bad guy is harder than it looks. You find yourself mentally filtering out every movie villain ever, because they usually fail at the end, and you want to make sure you don’t set them up for failure.
In the end, I thought of a guy with the charisma of Barack Obama and the evil intent of Admiral Thrawn. After that, the story just flew out of my fingertips. I hope you enjoy …