Flash Fiction: “88 Days” and “Mine”

I used to write a lot of flash fiction, at least one piece a week. Last year, when I wasn’t writing anything, people suggested I try flash fiction again and I thought about it but didn’t get very far. This year, now that I am writing again, I have the urge to flash.

I will be keeping my clothes on. 😉

I find it interesting that creativity seems to spark creativity and for me, writing small follows writing large. But I do remember that what I used to love about writing flash fiction was the break it offered my novelling brain. For an hour on Monday morning, I could step out of the universe that was all but consuming me and think about something else for a while. In another direction. Usually in a post-apocalyptic direction. 

We’re not going to talk about why the first two pieces I’ve written in two years are set after some sort of apocalypse. We’re just going to roll with it. “88 Days” is inspired by Fear the Walking Dead only in that the picture reminds me of the LA neighborhood where the series starts. The story is original, or as original as anything post-apocalyptic gets. “Mine” is a return to the world of “Reminders”, this time consciously. I searched for an image that would take me there as I’ve always been fascinated by this world and wanted to explore it further. Continue reading “Flash Fiction: “88 Days” and “Mine””

It’s Not You, It’s Me. Or Is It?

Late last year, I bowled through three of my most anticipated games in a matter of weeks, emerging on the other side somewhat disappointed and quite disillusioned. The critics loved these games. They were winning awards. But they weren’t winners for me. The question was, why?

We’ll start with the biggest meh of all—Star Wars Jedi: Fallen Order

This is the trailer that sold me on the game. Continue reading “It’s Not You, It’s Me. Or Is It?”

What I’ve Been Reading

I gave up participating in reading challenges a few years ago when I figured out that I really only ever got around to reading one or two of the mountain of books assigned. I’m a mood reader, meaning I’m not really sure what I’m going to read next. It might be one of the books staked in the ‘maybe I’ll read this next pile’ (or, let’s face it, one of the several ‘maybe I’ll read this next piles’ dotted around my house), or it might be the book I found at the library last week. The book that showed up on my ereader from a library hold or preorder. Or one of the nearly 400 books on the ‘to be read’ bookcase in the bedroom. The collection I lean toward and away from while doing yoga, thinking to myself, I really should get around to that one. Or that one. Or that one.

Obviously, I don’t need to challenge myself to read. And yet here I am, participating in #WritersRead. Continue reading “What I’ve Been Reading”

The Long and Winding Road

I’m on the fourth draft of this WIP. What makes the situation unique, for me, is that I haven’t finished the first draft yet.

Usually, when I write a novel, I go all the way to the end before making any significant changes. There have been exceptions. Sometimes I’ll get the feeling the book isn’t working. Not in a small, niggling way, but a big, ‘two plus two does not equal five’ way. The motivation isn’t quite right or the ultimate conflict—the plot climax or the ultimate relationship test—feels forced. At that point, I’ll load what I have onto my tablet, read it, try to pinpoint the moment the book goes off the rails and make some notes to redirect it. This happened with both To See the Sun and Purple Haze. It wasn’t a big deal. In the case of To See the Sun, I had to go back and add a villain, which meant fleshing out an existing character and giving him a larger role in the overall plot. Simply done. Purple Haze was a little more difficult, but once I solved Dillon’s GMC (what did he really want?), I figured out what he needed to, er, sacrifice to get it done.

He and Lang got their happy ever after, okay? That’s all you need to know.

This book… Take a deep breath with me and let it out again. Yeah. This book has been a journey. Continue reading “The Long and Winding Road”

My Odyssey

Sometimes, instead of playing D&D, our group would get together and play a console game. Usually, it would be something we could take turns at, a perennial favourite being Katamari. Then we might fight it out with Super Smash Bros Brawl or, before Twitch was a thing, watch one person play Halo, Portal, or, in one memorable instance, Assassin’s Creed.

It was early 2008 and we’d never heard of this game, but it looked fun. Kind of like Prince of Persia, but with a much bigger world and story. So I bought a copy and played it through, experiencing the usual arc of new game discovery. In addition to learning how to make Altair run and jump and climb, there were extra senses and puzzles and things to collect. It was hard and frustrating, then not so hard and fun in that ‘I’ve accomplished a thing and I really want to accomplish the next thing’ way, then amazing, and then… wow. There was a story here, something deeper than an overarching reason to kill stuff and collect stuff. The best part for me, though, was the fact you didn’t have to fight your way to every victory. A lot of the time, you could sneak around the bad guys, pull off one spectacular kill, and run away.

This wondrous game had also solved the inconsistent puzzle of death and resurrection. Because the player character was reliving the memories of ancestors through a device called the Animus, death was really just desynchronization. Reload and try again.

Perfect game was perfect.

You can continue reading the highlights of my Assassin’s Creed journey in previous posts. (Assassin’s Creed III, Black Flag, Syndicate, Unity, and Rogue.) Today, I’m going to leap forward twenty or so years to Assassin’s Creed: Odyssey, which I just finished, bringing me up to date and ahead of new releases for the first time in ten years. Continue reading “My Odyssey”