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 can’t expand on details beyond what’s available in the paper. It just feels compelling to say that a story like this represents my worst nightmare as I move forward with Mesh and other projects.
Look, it’s one thing if you’re crazy about money like Johnny Depp. But for a guy who just wants to tell stories and not go broke in the process, this is frightening. How am I supposed to justify this difficult path toward self-actualization, knowing how many risks are involved?
I’m very pleased with ‘Docking Sequence.’ This started out as a simple experiment with photomosaics and comic art and ended up being one of my new favorite wallpapers. With May drawing to a close, it makes me happy to end the month with a new chunk of scifi to share with you.
Creating new scifi all the time – even if it isn’t as cool as other artists’ work – is important to me. Along with finding my voice, I need to learn how to use it. Struggling, trying, learning – that’s all part of the trip. Putting your stuff out there into the world is a valuable skillset for any creator to learn.
Hope your summer is as good as you deserve it to be.
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:
Whoa – I did not expect that. On a side thread about keto dieting, I stumbled upon an answer to a question I’ve been asking ever since the late 90s. In three paragraphs, a justifiably-angry Redditor outlines what’s wrong with every user community ever.
This doesn’t just apply to people on /r/keto, or Reddit. Forum trolls are a thing no matter where you go. User communites are designed to support an interest, and the benefits of welcoming new members should be self-evident. Not so, in the day and age of trolling. As the Redditor brings out, working for the greater good seems to be in decline, and toxic behavior leaves many communities with a bad name, as people leave discouraged, and defeated.
But you already know this.
This isn’t another point-at-the-problem post. God knows you’ve seen a ton of those. The real question we should be answering is, how do you avoid this behavior? How do you pull back from this reality? Good user communities are good tribes, and good tribes come from good tribal leadership. Let me share this Ted talk on Tribal Leadership with you, and I hope you find it useful in your community-building activities.
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 …
Sometimes I weep for the species. Jimmy Kimmel did a bit, where they asked random people if they could *name* one book (“The Bible, 50 Shades, whatever …”). You’d think that a question like this would be a lay-up, right? Not in 2018, muchacho. The conversations did not go well, and if you’re an author, this is terrifying.
Of course, maybe I shouldn’t worry – they were asking these questions in LA, after all. It’s no secret that literacy is in crisis in America. As difficult as the problem seems to be, the answer is actually simple: Read. Pick up a book. Read Reddit. Read the paper. Read one viewpoint on an issue, and then go find another side and read that too.
Ran across this story about the Midland School in California, and fell in love. For over a thousand years, education has been the root of every civilization. But how do you teach young people to be good people? How do you teach them the skills necessary to be successful beyond business, in life itself?
Midlands seems to have found the answer. What makes a school like this stand out is the level of life skills they’re giving to each student. “The students more or less run Midland, which has no janitorial or maintenance staff. They plant and pick about half of the food they eat on a 10-acre farm. They clean the windows, maintain the landscape, and sweep the old chapel.’
“‘We know we’re different and we know we’re a little crazy,’ said Christopher Barnes, the head of school. ‘The question for each student and for each family is if we’re your kind of crazy.'”
How does this tie back to Mesh? Our protags, Roman and Zeke, are going to visit a school like Midland when the Mesh is discovered. A school full of tough nerdy kids, ready to do battle against the bad guys? I can see them having a lot of fun. My hope is that you will, too.
I’ve been submitting short stories over in /r/writingprompts – today I’m going to share two shorts that I wrote this week. First one is in the morning, and the other will come out later today.
The first story is in response to the prompt: You are getting seriously fed up with all the time travelers from the future constantly trying to kill you. I channeled my inner Mel Brooks and started banging out prose. Hope you enjoy …