New Microfiction – “Insert Disc 2 to Continue”

New Microfiction - “Insert Disc 2 to Continue”Here’s some new microfiction from the following prompt: “You’re walking your dog one day when everything stops. The world goes black. A voice says ‘insert disc 2 to continue.'”

Blackness, utter blackness. No sound. No sensation, whatsoever. I’ve never felt like nothing before, but that’s the only word I can use for it now. I felt nothing, absolutely nothing. How long did it last? For all I know, it was a nanosecond, but it felt like forever.

A geological age passed by, and then I hear a voice. “Insert Disc 2 to continue.” And then I was back.

Here I am again. Still on Sycamore Avenue, the birds are still chirping in the branches overhead. It’s just after one on the eighteenth of October, and the chill breezes hint at the cold weather sure to come.

Kava, our Blue Heeler, is still at my side like nothing is wrong. He tugs his leash in the direction of home. What’s wrong, Dad? his eyes seem to say. Let’s get back to base, I’m jonsing for some kibble.

“Hang on, boy,” I wheeze, suddenly breathless. “Something’s … something’s wrong.” Look up, look down the street. Cars swish by, everything is still exactly as it should be. Nobody else is wondering what just happened. Just me. Grab at my throat, feel my pulse. Am I having a stroke, a heart attack? Nope, heart’s pumping away. No pain, no numbness. Just … blackness, and that voice. What in God’s name does that mean, insert Disc 2 to continue?

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New Microfiction – Defending Shia LaBeouf

Look, you’ve heard what I’ve heard about Shia LaBeouf. I can’t tell you what’s going on in his head, or what his life is about. My job is to write stories, so I do. I do get tired of Internet memes, and if I were LaBeouf, I’d be sick and tired of the ones created about me. So, channeling that frustration, I responded to the following writing prompt: “You’re walking in the woods. There’s no one around and your phone is dead. Out of the corner of your eye you spot him…Shia LaBeouf.”

I hope you enjoy ‘Defending Shia LaBeouf:

“Oh, man,” I said, pointing in horror. There he was, Shia LeBouf. Of course I’d heard the stories. Crazed drug frenzies. Wild fights in the streets. Fits of rage. How would I handle an encounter with … with, Shia??

Make no sudden moves, I tell myself. His eyes are attracted to movement. Whatever you do, don’t provoke him. You don’t know what he’s capable of! Too late, he’s seen me!

“Um, hi,” Shia LeBeofu says.

He’s seen me, he’s seen me! Visions of my bloodied corpse run through my head. My mom will be so sad. She’ll tell everyone, everyone, what a good kid I was. My friends will mourn my loss, game night won’t be the same without me. My neighbors will need someone else to take the trash out now. My boss, well, he won’t even show up to the funeral. Let’s be honest.

I muster up courage, and then say something back before his confusion can become rage. “Hello.”

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Scorsese and the Great Social Media Switcheroo

Scorsese and the Great Social Media Switcheroo‘Zounds!’ the Internet said. ‘Martin Scorsese doesn’t like Marvel movies?’ Cue the outrage, cue the hot takes, and scene. Congratulations, you think Martin Scorsese hates the MCU and you’ve completely missed the point. Here’s a clue: Scorsese doesn’t care about the MCU. He cares about publicity for an upcoming film. That’s why he’s, and brilliantly I might add, pulling the Great Social Media Switcheroo on all of the Internet.

Every time he’s mentioned in the news, they mention his film coming out in the month. Scorsese just scored a billion dollars’ worth of free publicity, and you helped him do it.

Kudos to the old guy, still taking us to school after fifty years. His body of work spans the entire spectrum of film-making, which it might seem almost plausible for him to wax poetic about the quality of movies these days. Why not? ‘Cranky old man complains about the next generation’ is a simple news cycle trope, and let’s face it, social media buzz is driven by outrage. If I know this, you have to imagine that he knows this.

So put yourself in Scorsese’s chair: you have a movie coming out and you want to generate as much buzz as you can. What do you do? Nobody seems to care about the true-life history of your next project, so don’t focus on that.

Instead, you focus on what people do know about: Superhero movies. Come up with a controversial opinion about Superhero movies that these J-school graduates writing your PR fluff pieces will salivate over. In every article they write, they’ll include the magic words: “That said, I will always love Scorsese, be grateful for his contribution to cinema, and can’t wait to see The Irishman.”

Game, set, match.

Scorsese and the Great Social Media Switcheroo

These guys really don’t care what Scorsese thinks.

Forget the actual discussion. Nobody cares if Martin Scorsese like’s the MCU. You didn’t check in with him for permission before you watched Infinity War, why do you care now?

I’m going to make a prediction here and we’ll see if I’m write in about forty-five days. Scorsese is going to ride the wave of this topic until two weeks before his movie comes out (around Thanksgiving). Then, about that time, he’s going to go on an ‘Apology Tour,’ talking about how he’s had a change of heart.

Boom, Scorsese’s back in the news again, and so is his movie. He rides the wave of contrition around the world – his new movie front and center the entire time. By the time we land on Opening Day, Netflix and Scorsese will be laughing all the way to the bank.

Now, here’s another thing. I don’t personally care. Scorsese wants to use the purpose-built outrage machine to sell his work, who am I to argue. After all, I’m in the same game but at a much lower level.

That in and of itself creates it’s own challenges. Of course I want people to discover Mesh, but I’m really conscious about remaining authentic to myself and my readers. How do I sell my book without selling my soul? I’m still working to crack that nut, and I use moments like these to help me figure out what the right answer is.

In the meantime, this is the reason I’m not really listening to the discussion. I don’t care if Martin Scorsese likes Marvel movies, I have my own problems with them as it is. What I do care about is making and creating. Let the haters hate, our job is to create.

Chilling at the Station: Scifi Concept Art

Happy to say that I have completed a new piece of concept art for Mesh. Hope you enjoy this new scifi digital painting that I call ‘Chilling at the Station.’

Part of the story takes place in virtual reality, and the main school VR construct is a Victorian station that branches off into many cyberpunk-y areas. I decided to visualize that for this piece of concept art and show you some of the steps I took in this Imgur album.
I use photo-realism by using stock photos as my guides to paint the scene with photoshop and a digital tablet. In this case here, I started with a kid who looks like my protagonist and a Victorian building – in this case it’s the British Museum of Natural History in London.
Gradually, I paint over the scene – I’m a writer, not an artist – until I have a competely-drawn digital painting of the overall structure. I can’t use the complete picture because that wouldn’t fit with the story. In this case here, the Station is a massive place – almost endless in some areas – and the room above is too small to capture that.
I hope you enjoyed walking through the process of me painting the pictures in my brain. Let me know if you have any questions!

Mesh – Submitted for Coverfly

While I’m waiting for feedback from other beta readers, I submitted Mesh for consideration in a Coverfly competition that offers feedback from other editors.

At best, Mesh gets discovered and this is the small step for an author, one giant leap for Mesh-kind. At worst, I’ll get some more feedback on how to take the story to the next level. Submitting Mesh to Coverfly forced me to write a better log-line for the book, too: Set in the near future, a group of supersmart kids come together to work on a secret project. The question is: are they saving the world or destroying it, and what will they do when they know the truth?

Imma keep working, but wanted you to know what the story about the story is, for now.

How to Get Set for NaNoWriMo!

It’s that time again, when a million new authors throw caution to the wind and commit themselves to writing a complete novel, yes sixty-thousand words or better, in 30 days. All hail NanoWriMo! I have some thoughts about the contest itself, but before I talk about them, let’s talk about you. Do you plan to write a novel next month? If so, here are some suggestions on how to get set. I hope you find them useful as you prepare to write a super-awesome story that takes you to the stars.

The Dirty Truth About National Novel Writing Month

The Truth About Writing a Novel in a Month

13 Ugly Truths About Nanowrimo

The Truth About NaNoWriMo

3 Ways to NOT Fail at NaNoWriMo

Like those? I hope you find them useful. NaNoWriMo isn’t for the faint of heart, but it can lead you to some great places. Best wishes on your next project, and may it be the story you always wanted to tell.

Microfiction – RenFaire for Real

Took a few days off of writing in /r/writingprompts. Now I’m back with a new piece of microfiction. This time, in response to the following prompt – “You’ve always had a passion for writing since an early age. Now, right after you published your first book, the story somehow has transferred itself into reality and you’re the main character.” – I decided to take a new direction. What if you were a fantasy author, now stuck in his weird Pseudo-European Medieval universe? Cosplaying will never be the same after you read ‘RenFaire for Real’ –

They always say “Write what you know,” but nobody tells you what to do when what you write becomes all you know.

Endless rain falls across the green forests of Kylldale. I’ve never been to Ireland, so I kinda fudged the details. Stone walls, cobbled streets, ancient inns. It’s green, so it must rain a lot, right? I worked myself into a lather over those details; the sights, sounds and smells of a Middle Aged-village in winter. Reality force-fed through a bucolic meat grinder of pastoral scenery. It sounded like an escape, but now it feels like a prison. For reasons I’m still trying to figure out, I’m trapped inside my own novel.

If only I’d written the Internet into my book. I’d can send a nasty email to my agent.

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