Friday Fictioneers: Two Steps Back

PHOTO PROMPT © Roger Bultot

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Release Day and the blank screen lit up with system stats for the Virtually Real Simulation.  Chief Designer Barrok’s heart sank. Hundreds of users denied service. All around him, excited voices bounced off the metal walls of Service Central.

His chief aide tapped him on the shoulder. “Look at the news.”

Stepping back from the monitor, Barrok stared up at the news feed: “Virtually Real a Global Success, exploding all benchmarks.”

“I want it to be perfect.”

“I know, sir. Nothing ever is.”

Chief Never-Satisfied they called him. “Brilliant man. Impossible to work with,” they said, but never to his face.


This is my weekly submission for Friday Fictioneers, where every week we write 100-word stories inspired by the picture of the week. This week’s picture made me think of Ender’s Game and also how many times when creating something we forget to step back and see the big picture. For more fiction or to add your own, click on the blue froggy!

Celebrate the Small Things!

Celebrate blog hop

It’s Friday again, time to celebrate – and better late than ever. I’ve had another long day, got quite a bit done, including the gym, housework, and lots of writing, most of it business writing – which is a phrase meaning writing lots of little things that someone will actually pay me for. Getting paid for fiction is … harder. I’ve also made some solid progress editing and rewriting my current WIP, High Water, Deep Wind – a fantasy novel about underwater dragons and the people who love them. Well, sort of.

How was your week? What’s new? What’s great?

Celebrate the Small Things



This Friday, I am literally celebrating the small things, being back home after a whirlwind trip around the U.S., with a brief foray into Canada. I literally got home a week ago pulling an all-nighter for the last leg of my trip and getting home at 7:30 in the morning last Friday.

So, that’s the number one thing I’m celebrating this week.

Writing wise I’m celebrating finishing yet another novel draft, this being the gazillionth draft of an on-going project where I’m doing substantial editing to get my characters working together. I’m really happy with this end-to-end revision and am now determined to leave it alone for a while so I can come back with fresh perspective. I’ve sold one business writing article this week also and really need to write more. Got a couple solid days of cardio in despite not feeling so well. My body is still not accepting East Coast time despite having been home for a week.

Enjoying some really great weather here. It was really great to see the world. It is also really great to be home again.

How was your week?

IWSG: Show Don’t Tell – Evoke


First, Happy IWSG Day! This is the first Wednesday of the month and that means it is time for Insecure Writer’s Support Group Day, where once a month we gather to share our fears, insecurities and encouragement as we walk down this winding writerly road.

This month, the question of the month is how we make time to write when we’re busy. I’m literally writing on the road, on my way back from a long trip out west which turned out longer than I planned but that’s okay. I can answer the question honestly by saying I’m always honing my craft.

On my way across two countries, I got to experience so many amazing things and meet so many amazing people and occasionally write by hand in farflung places like the Rockies of Canada and Yellowstone National Park. I’ve also been listening to some great audiobooks from authors who inspire me, like Larry Niven, who I got to see speak at this year’s Worldcon, and Ernest Cline, whose nostalgia-inspired Ready Player One is a book I could listen to forever.

Worldcon panel with Niven giving my phone somewhat a doofy look while I take my fangirl pic (loved the hat!):

2016-08-19 14.00.53.jpg

Funny enough, considering I’m presently writing in Iowa home of the prestigious Iowa Writers’ Workshop, I’ve also been listening to Professor James Hynes, former workshop prof, a lecture entitled “Writing Great Fiction.”

What Haynes has to say about evocation is opening my eyes to lapses in my own fiction. True confession: I have a Bachelor in English, Creative Writing, and that means I’ve taken Creative Writing seminars. We were told show don’t tell but until this moment I don’t think I ever understood what that meant. I thought show don’t tell meant (for example) – don’t tell the reader the character is angry. Show them slamming their hands on the desk, shouting, throwing things.

Evocation is more than that. Evocation means creating magic, poetry, using metaphor and sounds that evoke the image. In other words show the reader the character smacking the desk like stamping out an already-dying fire, stoking the flames of resentment.

Have you ever learned something new, something you already thought you knew, but started to see in a whole new light?

I am exhausted and still a long way from home, but so glad for the chances to catch my breath. I’m still hopeful one day I’ll be a “real writer” – whatever that means.

Old Faithful near sunset, still doing its thing.2016-08-31 18.53.55.jpg

Friday Fictioneers: One Last Beer


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One Last Beer

Old Sal never saw a drink he didn’t like. You don’t believe me?

Let me tell you something. You remember that billboard we used to have out on I-9, the one for that car dealership? People said the competition knocked it down for a lark but I know for a fact Sal was reaching behind him for the last beer, when WHAM. I smacked his hand.  And wham. He crashed.

I died. He lived. Now that the old goat has finally made it to the pearly gates, we have a score to settle. He still owes me a beer.


This is my entry for Friday Fictioneers and I’m pretty sure it’s a terrible, terrible story. Admittedly the first thing that came to mind when seeing this photo was Tubthumping and then I started thinking of funny song lyrics we always get wrong. I still don’t entirely believe the real lyrics to that song are the real lyrics to that song….

Celebrate the Small Things

Celebrate blog hop

Happy Friday!

How was your week? I had a fairly productive one. I’ve made definite plans to go visit relatives in Canada who I’ve never met before. Depending on the how the Fall elections go here in the States, I may just ask about moving there permanently. (Just kidding!)

My other major accomplishment this week is the re-discovery of a manuscript/story I’ve been working on since I was a small child, my first novel ever. Re-reading it and seeing the concepts I’m struggling with to this day, I’ve decided to focus my editing on getting that story ready to be published for free, online – something which I have wanted to do for over a decade now. I love this story so much and so deeply I just want it out there. But I also want it to be beautiful. Also, I’m viewing this as a necessary learning experience for myself to grow as a writer.

These little, achievable writing goals. I definitely need them.

Also this week, got my cardio in every day. In lieu of the gym most days I’ve been walking the fitness loop at the mall because it’s much more convenient to get to.

In general, it’s been a pretty good week. How about yours?

IWSG: In the Beginning


This month for the Insecure Writer’s Support Group, the question of the month is this: What was your very first piece of writing as an aspiring writer? Where is it now? Collecting dust or has it been published?

My first novel ever as an aspiring writer is called The Dark Circle and I first started writing it in my later single digit years, not exactly sure when, but I do remember the fuzzy red journal I used. This was back before everybody had a computer, let alone mobile devices. Sometimes I still like to hand-write partly because then it’s mine in a very personal way.

I’ve never published OR let go of that novel. Every few years or so I return to see if I’ve grown enough as a writer to finish it. It’s kind of like my white whale or maybe a treadmill where I always get something out of the trial. It’s very philosophical and full of naive youthful ambitions, starting in a world where people can recreate the world at will with their minds. In the opening scene the main character kills a fellow character out of sheer curiosity. She then gets into an argument with her current boyfriend. He’s from a different world and is horrified to discover that she doesn’t understand what murder is. The parent/creator of the person she killed is upset too, but mostly in a “you damaged my property” sort of way.

All of this sounds really horrible but she’s actually not a bad person, and she learns by the end of the first chapter. I love this novel. I do. It’s just super tricky.

What about you? Is there a hard, ongoing project you return to every now and again to see how much progress you can make this time?