March 7th, 2012  |  Published in Fiction

Yesterday a friend showed me a spoof trailer for Waldo: The Movie, which was fantastic and you should watch it. Not to miss an opportunity for self-promotion, here’s a link to the flash story I wrote in 2007 called Waldo, Stealth Assassin, which operates on some of the same premises.

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February 14th, 2009  |  Published in announcement

My first piece of fiction has been published!  It is called Valentine, and you can check it out over at Flash Scribe.  I won’t say too much more, other than to thank my awesome wife, without whom this never would have happened.  Enjoy

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First Sale!

February 1st, 2009  |  Published in Fiction, writing

I have officially sold my first story!  It is a piece of flash fiction that is slated to run on Valentine’s Day, over at Flash Scribe, which should be officially launching today.  In any case, they seem to be an awesome group of people (AND they bought a story from me), so you should definitely go and check them out.

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Faith In Publishing

January 9th, 2009  |  Published in Uncategorized

I probably don’t need to tell you about the dismal state of publishing these days, so I won’t.  What I do want to tell you about is where I see hope.  Mainly that is the in electronic publishing.  First, let me tell you about what brings this up.

I recently submitted a couple of pieces of flash fiction to a new publication called Flash Scribe.  Although they do not offer vast sums of money as I would prefer, I really like flash (my favorite piece that I have written is Bob: Employee of the Future) as a format and figured, ‘what the heck?’  So a couple of days go by.  Then I get an e-mail saying that they couldn’t open one of the files that I sent them.  Two things.  One is that it only took them two days to reply.  I realize that flash is, by definition, very short, but they still have to be on the ball to have that sort of response time.  The second is that they did not automatically reject it, which would have most certainly been much easier.

This is the sort of behavior that I simply would not expect from traditional media.  Why?  Because they are traditional, and therefore, by definition, established.  To them, innovation is not an opportunity, but a threat.  It is innovation that will save the industry, but for innovation to occur, people must take risks (especially on unknown writers like myself :).  In short, I want to say that innovation is a necessary condition for hope, as it is rarely the past that saves the present from the future (quite the opposite, but that is a different debate).  In addition, I want to wish the best of luck to the various people and groups that are making a go of doing things differently.

Disclaimer – I have yet to get word on my submissions, and I am not writing this as an attempt to flatter my way into anyone’s good graces, I just thought it needed to be said.

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The Changing Face of Short Fiction

May 9th, 2008  |  Published in Fiction, Publishing, Stories, writing

So how long, really, is a short story? Common definitions define the top end of the length spectrum at anywhere between 7,500 to 20,000 words. Those numbers are for the most part, arbitrary. I mean if you define a short story as having a maximum of 10,000 words, then what is it about that 10,001th word that puts it over the edge? Silly, right? A much better definition is the functional definition famously espoused by Edgar Allen Poe in “The Philosophy of Composition”, which defines a short story as a story that is able to be read in one sitting. This may seem vague, as how much can be read in one sitting will vary from person to person, and indeed for one person from one situation to the next (reading at home vs. on a train, for example). On the other hand, it is much more reasonable than arbitrary word counts.

So what happens when we bring technology into the mix? Reading on a computer is a much different experience than reading a physical book, and the comparison is not necessarily negative. I won’t go into the details of how the two mediums differ, but I will say that electronic text lends itself to shorter reading times. On the computer, for example, there are a million other things going on which conspire to prevent the reader from sinking large amounts of time into something like reading, and this trend will only continue as we get more multi-purpose mobile devices that also act as e-book readers. Second, dedicated readers will also have a tendency towards shorter works, albeit to a lesser degree and for different reasons. The reason I say this is that they are more convenient than paper books (or at least this is where they are heading, currently the point is debatable), and so they lend themselves to the reading in the short periods of time between other things.

As a result, the average time a person spends reading without interruption (a sitting) will shorten. This means that stories broken into smaller and smaller chunks (flash fiction) will become the normal medium of fiction. This is not to say that long-form fiction will go away, because it won’t, just that more of it will be distributed serially. Personally, I think that this is a good thing. As a writer, it forces me to look at scenes as individual stories that contribute as a whole.

I would like to give one example of how this could work (beyond my own project, Uprising, of course). I have just finished reading Word War Z, by Max Brooks, which was fantastic, and for those of you who are not familiar with it, it consists of nothing but fictional interviews with survivors of a global zombie war. Part of the appeal of the book was that most of the interviews were short, and so it was easy to pick up and put down. On the other hand it was written in such a way that it was nearly impossible to put down (partially as a result of knowing that I could at just about any time, I’m sure).

If they were available, I would gladly read other stories that were written in this format, but there aren’t. Instead, its something that we’re going to have to do for ourselves. Which is a topic for another day (a day that will probably be sometime next week, in case you were wondering)

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Exercise Your Brain

May 3rd, 2008  |  Published in Misc, News, Society

Although I am a huge proponent of reading as a way of improving brain functioning, I am also a geek, so I think that you might as well leverage whatever technology is out there. Last week, NewScientist had an article about a simple exercise that could make you smarter. Sounds pretty cool (and it can’t hurt), right? Well someone went ahead and implemented it in Flash. Who knows, maybe at sometime in the future our schools will have an entire class devoted to thinking skills (like this, or chess, or go). I know, expecting our schools to teach people how to think better may sound crazy, but its crazy enough that it just might work! So go ahead, play, and get smarter! Today, remember what happened two iterations ago, tomorrow, the world!!! (the extra exclamation points are to ensure that you know that I am indeed serious)

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April 18th, 2008  |  Published in Fiction, SciFi, Society, Uprising, writing

As Ethan watched the live feed of the protest, he wondered if the speculation on the internet had been right, if the 10 year anniversary of the war would actually be a turning point. Someone had mashed on a crowd count algorithm and it was currently hovering around 235,000. The feed was jerky, bouncing from angle to angle as the mod drones that the protesters had set to cover the event were shot down by their military counterparts, but that just served to accent just how huge the protest was.

Read the rest of this entry »

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I guess that I’m just a quitter.

April 18th, 2008  |  Published in News

So a little over two weeks ago, I wrote that this site was going dark.  As you can see, that isn’t the case.  I’ve still been writing, but I really want to post, as well.  What will be happening, though, is that I plan on posting more fiction and less meta-fiction.  Part of the reason for this is that I’ve come around to the point of view espoused by Warren Ellis, about how media for the web shouldn’t be constrained to the standards set by print.  As a result, I will try posting stuff that is extremely episodic (less than a thousand words, probably more like four to five hundred).  The first of this stuff should be going up shortly.

I still strongly believe that one of the things that will have to happen here is the advent of a better way of . . . advertising isn’t the right word, but its close.  Basically, I will continue to work on my fish project, as well as looking for alternatives.

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