Flash Fiction: “Supply and Demand”

I felt motivated today to write a short piece set in my novel’s world. It’s a bit of an offshoot, a side-story rather than a part of the novel proper.

It’s definitely got my writing mojo working, however, so I’ll probably write some more of ye olde novel tonight.



“Supply and Demand”

Daniel cried.

From the darkness around his bed came a low, deep hum. He couldn’t see anyone, of course, but in his mind’s eye they were hulking forms that swayed from side to side.

Every few seconds one would move closer, and the smell of its hunger caused him to scream. Daniel fed them, he knew, thickened them and made them louder. But he didn’t know how to stop the tears. He felt something cold on his cheek, and he screamed louder and harder than he’d ever done before. He tried to pull away, but his arms and legs ignored him.

In the distance, somewhere beyond his bedroom, he could make out the low hiss of whispers. It sounded like two people, and a few words pierced the humming and his sobs. Words like “enough” and “almost.” He tried to ignore the things hovering over him and to focus on the whispers. Who was there? Why weren’t they helping him?

More words.

“Client will be . . .”

“. . . yes, purest around . . . ”

Daniel tried to say something, but his throat was raw and flaky from screaming, and all that came out was a pitiful whine. He didn’t notice when the cold thing was lifted from his cheek or when the humming began to die down.

He wondered where his parents were . . .

The Kreativ Blogger Award

Guess what? I’ve been nominated for the Kreativ Blogger Award!

The name reminds me of Mortal Kombat’s replacement of C’s with K’s (or the Kremlin), and I kouldn’t feel more honored than to receive my nomination from Ms. Kasia James (her name really starts with a “K” by the way).

She fills her blog—Writer’s Block—with great posts about writing, and she’s kurrently celebrating the release of her first novel The Artemis Effect, available for purchase at Amazon.

So, as part of my nomination for the Kreativ Blogger Award, I must share seven things about myself, and if you don’t share these seven things with seven people before seven A.M., absolutely nothing will happen.

1)      The first book I ever wrote was a Legend of Zelda fan fiction. I was around eight, and I had no idea how weird fan fiction would get years later.

2)      I used to have jet black hair, but it started turning partly reddish. I still can’t figure out how or why.

3)      Supposedly, I was named after Michael Knight, David Hasselhoff’s character in the television show Knight Rider. Way to not give me the car along with the name, mom and dad.

4)      I’m a mimic. I can pretty much replicate any sound that I hear, including instruments like harmonicas and trumpets. I really love recreating Ennio Morricone songs (The Good, The Bad, and the Ugly).

5)      The only candy I enjoy is chocolate, caramel, or vanilla flavored.

6)      During a Wing Chung Kung Fu class, I repeatedly stepped on a fellow student’s big toe, and I’m pretty sure I broke it.

7)      I once uploaded a picture of my boss to the company’s Facebook page with the caption “surfing for porn” by mistake.

There you have it. You can never un-know what you’ve just read.

So who else do I konsider to be kreativ? I’ve got a long list of kreativ blogs in mind, but I’ll narrow it down to three:

1)       Of kourse, I have to include one of my favorite blog destinations—Anna’s blog 27 in Twenty Twelve. It’s hilariously creative, and I get pretty sad when she doesn’t write anything for a while (this is my passive-aggressive way of telling her to post more!).

2)      I also enjoy Misprinted Pages because Stephanie posts a variety of creative posts on different subjects ( I especially like Awesome Book Cover Fridays).

3)      Finally, IMMAR ART posts some of the most creative and just plain beautiful art I’ve seen in a long time. He’s a very talented artist, and I’m always excited when he posts a new piece.

This is by no means an exhaustive list of the creative blogs I frequently peruse; my list would be pretty unwieldy if I included everyone though. 🙂

We’ve Come A Long Way–The Internet a Decade Later

It’s difficult to imagine life without the Internet. Instead of looking up YouTube videos, I’d have to go outside and play with a stick and a tire.

If I couldn’t use Facebook or Twitter, I’d have to talk to my friends through a string and a can.

But the behemoth that is the Internet was a much smaller beast at one point, and the habits we’ve adopted today are quite different from just a few short years ago. To show just how much things have changed, Bestedsites.com created an infographic depicting how the Internet and our use of it have progressed over the past ten years.

As a side note, I wish more infographics were .gifs or at least had moving parts within them. It’s pretty cool to watch as I like motion and shiny things (click on the infographic image to see what I mean).

What changes to the Internet have you enjoyed the most? The least?

The Internet A Decade Later

Politics Shmolitics

Just a short post today. There be writin’ that needs doin’.

I’ve realized that I’m pretty out of touch with politics. I’ve had enough going on in my personal life that I haven’t paid much attention to the governing bodies in our society.

Plus, as a former philosophy student, I get frustrated with most political issues and debates because the roots of most disagreements lie at a baser level. They require discussions about ethics, etymology, metaphysics, theology, and a slew of other schools of thought.

So, basically, discussions about healthcare, taxes, welfare, and the involvement of the government in business are just surface discussions: a ton of “hidden” beliefs fuel those debates, and those beliefs and values are what we need to talk about.

However, since our presidential election is almost upon us (maybe the Mayans were anticipating this?), I feel it necessary to get my political ducks (or elephants and donkeys) in a row.

Presidential Race

So, I’m making a mini-vow to follow what’s going on in the political world. It seems the only way to do that effectively is to visit different news sites (since every single one of them has a bias, so you gotta shop around to get a complete picture). I’ve done a bit of catching up already, and I’m almost regretting it, but it’s important to stay informed, right?



Do you follow politics? Do you feel they impact your life directly or is it something you couldn’t care less about?

Reading as a Writer: “Don’t Do It!” he exclaimed.

Feathers rustled.

Alrighty. I’ve got this theory, and I’d like to share it with you: reading books from the perspective of a writer will rarely give you an accurate impression of what your readers think when they read.

Let me explain.

I’m a writer. As a wordsmith, I enjoy clinkin’ and clangin’ at the old literary anvil, producing text that’s strong and sharp. Or so I hope.

The problem is that to be a writer, you consciously have to notice things in writing that other people usually don’t (literary techniques, word usage, etc.). We’re able to analyze the structure and elements of a story, poem, or any other piece of writing.

Why is that a problem? Because as a writer, you tend to project your unique perspective onto your readers. You see the literary world in a certain way—you notice adverbs, plot devices, and dialogue attributions because you’re trained to use them yourself—and you assume that every component of your writing has the same effect on your readers.

But I’d wager that most readers don’t care about the details that you and I, as writers, give meaning to and obsess over. Take dialogue attributions. I’ve seen it mentioned in more than one manual on writing that “said” is the only attribution you should use. “Said,” it is said, is stealthy, invisible.

To use another attribution is to draw attention to your writing and to take your readers out of the moment.

“I hate you” whispered Oliver. NO!

“I hate you” said Oliver. YES!

But, wait, no, it actually doesn’t because most readers are NOT usually reading a work with writers’ eyes. The analysis above is based on already knowing a rule, one that frowns upon using anything but “said.” A rule that was established by someone else and which has a reasoning behind it, a very subjective bit of reasoning.

So when you see “whispered” or “yelled” or “muttered,” your writer’s brain goes “What the fuck?” and you frown.

Non-writers? Totally oblivious. Their frame of mind is different from a writer’s; they point out different things that they love or hate. Don’t believe me? Scan reviews for popular and not so popular books on Amazon and other websites. You can tell almost write away who reads a book from a writer’s perspective and who represents the average reader. What they point out is VERY different

Seriously, when was the last time you heard an average reader complain about the minutiae writers tend to notice?

So, the next time you’re deciding whether to use a technique or not, think about how you’re looking at your own writing: are you seeing your work through the eyes of a writer who knows a ton of rules, or are you seeing it through the eyes of the average reader who is oblivious to 90% of that stuff?

Ok. Un-ruffling feathers.

But that’s just my humble opinion.  What do you guys think? Do writers and readers view books differently, or do we all notice the same things and just express them differently?

“Fuck It” or A Treatise on Procrastination

Psych! This isn’t a treatise. Who writes those anymore, anyway?

It will deal with the subject of procrastination, however,  a topic that was crammed into my brain pan after reading the latest post by Ms. Honesty.

Like any other human being on the planet, I’ve fallen victim to procrastination again and again. It was a way of life in college–I’d write essays the morning they were due. Not just 2-5 page ditties but 20+ page symphonies.

Fortune cookie procrastination

This habit has seeped into (or perhaps originated in?) other areas of my life: household errands, appointments with doctors, paperwork.

Oh, and finishing my novel . . .

My weapons against procrastination tend to be twofold:

1) external motivation (“motivation” can be replaced with nagging, threats of violence, or being disowned, depending on who is involved) or

2) Fuck it

Now, the first is one that we’re all familiar with. You put off doing the dishes long enough, and you will get a bit of external motivation from your spouse, parents, or child services.

The second, however, is a different beast. It involves abandoning all types of inhibitions, rationalizations, and poor excuses.

It is the purest expression of internal motivation that I know of, and it goes something like this.

I want to write 2,000 words today. But, I also want to watch a movie, read a book, play a videogame, call up a friend, eat a cheesestick, anything BUT what I know I really should be doing.

So I sit and weigh the benefits of writing those 2,000 words: I’ll have a few pages of my novel done, so I’ll be closer to editing it and publishing it and making tons of money (I didn’t say they were realistic benefits).

But I still feel the pull of those other things, particularly the cheesesticks in my fridge– I tend to eat them slowly, sinewy string by string. It’s a process.

That’s when my final defense kicks in. It’s an overwhelming sense that I should just do it. In my mind, I keep saying “fuck it, just do it.” No reasoning, no cost/benefit analysis. Just get up from my seat, pull up my Word document, and write. I then think of each of my body parts moving. “Fuck it, just pick up your feet, put your ass in your chair, and type.” I keep saying it until I feel a kind of involuntary tingling or twitch in my limbs, and when it becomes unbearable, I get up and just do what I should.

There’s no voodoo, no multi-step program, no affirmation necessary. It’s a silent prayer that starts with “fuck it” and ends with me writing.

But what about you guys? What do you do to beat procrastination? If you don’t procrastinate, then what does godhood feel like?


Time Is On My Side

Oh, time. How are we supposed to think about you? Are you linear with a firm past, present, and future? Or are you cyclical, repeating yourself occasionally?


This past weekend, I watched another great episode of Breaking Bad, which is in its fifth (and, lamentably, final) season. Every time I watch a new episode, I try to pinpoint exactly what it is that I love so much about the show. It grips me in a way that few other programs can, and the usual analysis of acting, character development, plot progression, and more can yield potent reasons for why it’s such a fantastic show.

However, I realized that one of the many reasons why I enjoy the show so much is how it handles time.

Most shows provide a very linear progression to their plots. You meet the characters, find out their motivations and goals, and watch them try to achieve those goals. Sometimes they succeed, sometimes they fail, but events are pretty straightforward. Sure, there are some flashback sequences, but for the most part, things progress linearly towards a climax sometime in the future.

Not so with Breaking Bad.

Walter White, Breaking Bad, Final Season

Each season begins or at some point includes a glimpse into the future:  a scene introduces us to an event that won’t take place until the middle or end of the current season. A season might open with destroyed objects—burned toys for instance—and as the season progresses, we try to figure out what exactly happened: why are those items destroyed? Was there an explosion? Was someone killed? Maybe a major character?

It creates a unique kind of tension because you know that something bad will happen, but you don’t know when, how, or why. Everything you see on the show is framed by that one event: is THAT person going to cause the explosion or whatever destroyed those objects? Is THIS why they decided to go there? You just don’t know!

It’s a storytelling technique that has absolutely captivated me, and I find myself testing it out in my own writing. It’s a tease, a “hey, this is going to happen, but you don’t know why, and whatever conclusions you come up with now are going to be challenged as you read/watch more!”

But I’ve also read many books on writing that frown upon these kinds of techniques. Flashbacks and scenes set in the future take readers out of the present action, they say, and thus have the potential to bore and/or disorient readers who want to know what’s happening right now.

Well, if you’ve been following my blog for a bit, you already know how I feel about some of these “rules.”

But what do you think? How do you enjoy time in books and movies? Do you enjoy flashbacks and scenes in the future, or do you prefer linear storytelling?

What’s In A Name?

Ah. It feels good to be back.

Let’s hop right into a bit of mental massaging, shall we?



Those sounds you make to identify someone, something, or someplace. Since I’ve dived back into my novel writing,  coming up with names for my characters has become a renewed source of fun.

There’s just something . . .  fulfilling about finding the right name for a character. A villain named Maurice just doesn’t have the same “oomph” as a Max or Magnus. The right name fits the character like a glove, and you can imagine other characters referring to him or her in anger or hate.

Yet names don’t have to be complex, polysyllabic affairs either. Who would ever suspect a name like Walter could inspire sympathy, respect, and fear, but it happened in Breaking Bad.

I tend to find names in a variety of places. I once found the name for an antagonist while watching a documentary on the history of cocaine. The expert who was interviewed had an intriguing name, so I opened up a chapter of my novel and tried it out. And wouldn’t you know it: it fit!

J.K. Rowling has mentioned that she researched names by scouring phonebooks, which sounds like an excellent idea.

So how do you find names for your characters?