Monday, January 8, 2018

Some Thoughts On Inspiration

In what was a first for me, a reader reached out to me through my website to tell me that he was a fan and to ask where I got my inspiration from. I wrote back with an answer, and the more I thought about it, the more I liked my answer, so I've decided to reproduce it here.

Inspiration... So, to my way of thinking, storytelling is a marriage of three elements: you need a good character, you need a plot/setting to place that character in, and you need some kind of external conflict that mirrors the character's internal conflict. Characters are usually inspired by people I know or by characters in other media--I'll take a handful traits from different individuals and mix them together. I usually will have a guiding philosophy in mind for this person. It won't be obvious in the story, but it helps the writing to be able to say fundamentally, quirks aside, this individual is a humanist/hedonist/narcissist/etc. Story/setting are the weird ideas that occur to you a dozen times a day. What if people could teleport to the grocery store, etc. If I stumble across an even remotely interesting notion, I'll jot it down for later reference, so at any given time I've got a list of fifty-ish ideas I can mull over. Most of these never become stories and the list does get pruned from time to time. Finally, I consume a lot of news and non-fiction, so that gives me a thematic basis for the conflict of a story. I'm always on the lookout for interesting philosophical/economic/moralistic notions that can be translated into a smaller individual conflict.

There's also a lot of personal taste in there. I like redemptive heroes more than virtuous ones. I like optimistic heroes over dour ones. I like anything about AI or time travel. Once I have a workable mix, I'll flesh out the plot and get writing, but that process is less about inspiration than practice. And it doesn't always happen as cleanly as I've described above--sometimes I just start running with a plot because I'm excited about the idea and I figure out the character and themes on the fly. But overall that's the basic process.

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Thursday, December 28, 2017

End Of Year Missive

As 2017 comes to a close, I wanted to do a quick post with the current state of the writing.

First, I need to mention my biggest sale ever! I placed a piece called "Dry Run" in Orson Scott Card's Intergalactic Medicine Show and the new issue went live on Christmas Day. The content is paywalled, so you'll need to subscribe to read the whole thing. If I can log-roll for just a second, it's only $15/year and it gives you access to all their back-issues, which you can get as ebooks. (And no, I don't get any direct benefit from you subscribing, just the warm fuzzy of people supporting a market that actually bought my stuff.) End log-rolling.

So, all in all, it's been a good year for me re: short stories. I won't recount everything (relevant links can found under the Fiction tab), but altogether I made two pro sales and netted two other acceptances, one semi-pro. I received two honorable mentions for submissions to the Writers Of The Future content, including one Silver HM, which I believe is the level just below semi-finalist. And I've got several other stories out on submission, so hopefully there'll be more sales to announce soon. Hopefully. Now I've jinxed it, haven't I?

My big novel I worked on for the last couple years is in a holding pattern. It was ambitious and I'm glad I wrote it, but I don't think I have a very good chance of selling it in its current state, so I want to let it breathe a bit and then come back to it. I have a few less ambitious ideas for novels cooking, one of which I plan to have written, revised, and out on submission by the end of 2018.

Outside of writing: 2017 has been, amongst other things, exhausting, so my goals for the next year include getting myself into a better place mentally. In fact, if I have any resolutions for 2018 it's that: corral some of the madness and try to be less stressed. While also doing all the projects. Yikes. Wish me luck. And, while you're at it, wish yourself luck too.

You deserve it,
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Friday, December 15, 2017

New Fiction: Alienation; Sale: Dry Run

Hey, y'all! Exciting news!

First off, a piece I mentioned a few months ago is now live in NewMyths.com issue 41. The story is called Alienation, and it's about dating. While being an alien. Scroll down to the Flash section to find it. (Or fine, here's the direct link.)

Next up, I can finally announce that I'll have a piece called Dry Run coming out in Issue 60 of Orson Scott Card's Intergalactic Medicine Show, which should be out soonish-ish. I'll have more details when they land.

Happy reading!
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Wednesday, October 25, 2017

New Fiction: Ms. Figgle-DeBitt's Home For Wayward A.I.'s

This amusing piece showed up a few weeks ago in Escape Pod. I'd recommend listening to it rather than reading it because the narrator is amazing. I'm very proud of how this story turned out, considering I started writing it with nothing but a zany idea for a title and a dumb joke about bananas. Bananas feature prominently in the story--rather, a recipe for a banana cake features prominently. Prominently enough that I baked one to celebrate.


The recipe for this beauty can be found at Averie Cooks. Anyway, I hope you enjoy. The story that is. Or the cake. Both really.

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Friday, October 6, 2017

Sale: Alienation

I'm pleased to announce that I will have a short story titled "Alienation" appearing in the December issue of NewMyths.com. Stay tuned here for more information. Or, you know, subscribe to them. You do you.

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Wednesday, August 9, 2017

Petty Gremlins

Hey, y'all. I wrote a thing. It's rather silly. You can listen to it here:

Wednesday, July 26, 2017

New Stories Coming Out Soon!

So I wrote a couple of stories and they will soon be available for you to listen to with your own human ears!

On August 9th, I'll have a story on 600 Second Saga.

Late October, I'll have a story in Escape Pod.

I'll post specific links after they drop, or you could just subscribe to them in iTunes (or your podcatcher of choice).