Microfiction: Moving In, Moving Out

Wednesday recalls moving in and remembers the moment she wanted to move out. She sees them both as the last of the boxes leave the room. All over the world Wednesday’s gone, seen, and done so much. But, still, each house, no matter how small a time spent there, was a memory, and nothing closes a memory like the last item out of the room.

“I’ll miss it here,” she says and knows she is lying and telling the truth all at the same time. Continue reading

Flash Fiction: Was She There?

The ceiling spins, and the fan stays so damn still. My stomach is a churning, burning, mass of something or other that is not bile but tastes a heck of a lot like it. My legs do not go the right way, not the way they should be—the muscles relaxed to the point I’m unsure I can stand. Continue reading

The Newest Fear For People

As a horror writer, I think about what scares people. And, in the new world we live in, the thing people seem most anxious about, if not outright terrified of, is technology.

And I think I have one big clue about why we get so worried, collectively, about machines. It’s the same reason we fear monsters and demons and ghosts.

Loss of control. Continue reading

Microfiction: Bagels And Cream Cheese

“They say the percentage of redheads in this country is really tiny,” Hebert said to the woman as she handed over the cheap bagel, the near-it’s-expiration-date cream cheese tube, and the coffee with a price in the two digits.

“Is that so?” she said, sounding bored. “Well, I guess that’s cool. Enjoy your food.” Continue reading

Good Writer Habits

Okay, so, if you keep up with my newest posts, then you would know I recently covered a bunch of bad habits a lot of wannabe writers seem to have that makes them crash and burn before they really begin. And, in the interest of not only being negative, I thought I would offer some helpful habits that if used will—possibly—increase your comfort toward writing, and your output as a writer. Your mileage may vary of course, and some of these may seem outrageously obvious, but you’d be surprised how many times I’ve told these things to “almost writers,” and they did little to follow them.

Writing is about discipline, after all, and these actions take that same discipline to accomplish. But, though that might sound scary, they are not too hard to do, really. And, from them comes useful fruit.

So, with all that preamble gone and done, here we go. Continue reading

Flash Fiction: Unintended Consequences Are For Suckers

In the attic sat a mysterious typewriter. In the attic stood a boy and a girl. All young—except the typewriter. The typewriter was old, as typewriters tend to be.

“So, that’s the one your grandmother talked about?” the boy said, and walked toward it, ducking underneath some webs.

“Yeah—but don’t touch it!” She reached out to stop him but her fingers missed by inches. Continue reading

Write In New Mediums, Author

Never stop learning, never stop reaching forward for new creative skills. This world is full of media, so don’t rest on your laurels. Both because you can get bored, and because your audience can get bored. And boredom is the biggest sin of creating entertainment.

Got it? Good.

Now, with that disclaimer out of the way: I have a relatively different bit of advice to offer regarding how one can keep learning creative skills. Most go for reading more fiction, reading craft books, attending seminars, or workshops, or classes, or (my favorite) just writing a ton. And yeah: do that.

Do that now. Do that sort of thing routinely.

But, as another way to increase skill: may I suggest writing outside your genre and/or medium? Continue reading

Flash Fiction: Crime Scene (Part 3 of 3)

(And, here it is, the conclusion to the three part story. If you haven’t read them, here’s part 1 and part 2.)

“So… if you’re done faking…?” was all I managed to say, as a cough hit my lungs.

“Yep,” she answered. “Two came in, we picked you. Once you breathed us…ha. Done for good.” Continue reading

Bad Writer Habits

I meet a lot of people, a depressing amount of people, who could be writers. They have the innate understanding of a compelling construction, and possess a creative drive and an imagination beyond normal.

But, as other writers immortalized, “writers are people who write,” and these people I meet often don’t write beyond random ineffective bouts of literary flailing. And it hurts me: this loss of potential. I see the spark unused. I had that same spark, and someone else recognized it and got me going—and I wish I could do that for these people. Be a mentor or a colleague. Get the energy flowing.

But, as they move in the right direction—if they even make it past the fear of beginning—they stumble onto bad habits. Brutally bad habits. And no matter how much advice I give, how much time devoted to helping them, if they do not unlearn these habits, they won’t earn the title of serious writer. Continue reading

Flash Fiction: Crime Scene (Part 2 of 3)

If you haven’t read it, here’s a link to part 1.

For everyone else, let’s continue, shall we?


That caught me off guard, and she nodded like I’d answered, told her whatever it was she wanted forgiveness for was okay. But, after a second, I just repeated my question: “So, what was it then?”

She answered without a pause. “It’s a biomechanical species of swarm insect. Though it acts as a single unit. Has a short lifespan, so every time its population grows low it latches onto one host and invades, repurposing organic material to make more and more of themselves until it can burst out without an issue.” Continue reading

Flash Fiction: Crime Scene (Part 1 of 3)

I haven’t felt squeamish in years. So, you must understand my confusion when I came upon the newest scene of death and dismemberment and something lurched in my stomach. A few thoughts went through my head as I clutched with one hand on my gut. I assumed the sponge steak I had made had been bad or something of that ilk. That I had failed to drink enough sim-water.

Only after another second I realized the truth: I was grossed out, disgusted. My partner did not look at me as she passed by my frozen figure into the living room, and so I did not have to explain my situation as she kneeled next to what used to be a person. Continue reading

Starting Off Dead

The easiest way to get me to buy a book is for the first few sentences to blow me away, or for the premise to be amazing, or for your name to be J.K. Rowling or Neal Shusterman.

So, to this end, when I’m not already a fan of the author and the premise isn’t an immediate hook, I have a little test I will do, which while not at all fair, is fun and a learning opportunity. And the test is this: if I read the first sentence, or the first page, and my eyes don’t bounce off once, then it goes on the to-buy list.

Again, super unfair. But it is an interesting exercise. And, by doing this sort of test a lot, I’ve noticed a few reoccurring methods of structuring the beginning sentence from book to book. Continue reading