Going to try to figure out what to do with this now other than just shameless plugs.
But this is mostly a shameless plug.
Chronicles of the Otherworld: Season 1 Audiobook is available now!
Going to try to figure out what to do with this now other than just shameless plugs.
But this is mostly a shameless plug.
Chronicles of the Otherworld: Season 1 Audiobook is available now!
I hate my audiobook.
No. I mean. Mr. Erik Johnson, my producer, did an amazing job and I was floored when I heard my book come to an audible life but SWEET BUDDHA do you know how many times I’ve listened to that damn thing?
Do you know how annoying it was to get every little thing right and you know damn well as I do there’s still going to be stuff that’s off.
It’s somehow worse than having to read your own book over and over.
I want to say like, “oh it was so fantastic that I didn’t mind having to listen to it like 20 times.”
But no. Let’s be real.
There I am jogging on the treadmill, wanting to forget the world, listening to my glorious mix of K-Pop, Eurobeats, and J-Rock…. then BAM
“THIS HAS BEEN CHRONICLES OF THE OTHERWORLD BY A. S. ARAMIRU”
I thought I got rid of all of you cockroaches off my playlist!
You know what?
I hate that guy.
Screw, A. S. Aramiru.
Screw him, his audiobook, and his writing career.
Don’t buy any of his–
“Hey, asshole. You’re supposed to sell your book. You owe me money. I’ll cut you with a f—in’ spoon. A. F@#$in. Spoon.” – My Former Editor
Here’s a sample of the audiobook:
I’m pretty sure I’m allowed to share that. I’m preeetty sure.
The steps to making the audiobook are pretty simple. I did it through ACX, you probably should too unless you know something that I don’t (and if that’s the case please share).
For me, the only fix I needed was having to change the style of my cover.
It only took 14 different variations and getting irate twice at the dumb uploading system.
Yeah, I’ll keep that autocorrect.
And viola! Now I also have an audiobook polluting the internet.
And I can’t help but wonder if my baby will be okay.
And naturally, dream that maybe people will find the little guy and enjoy it.
There’s a lot of moments when doing creative you wonder if you were honest with your work.
Did I do all I can?
Could I have done something better?
But you have to tap out at some point if you want to do create other things.
Like my imaginary therapist would tell me
“Learn to love yourself. Forgive who you were so that you can be who you are. Who you can be is someone strong enough to deal with everything done by who you once were. You have to believe that. Because you owe me money and I’ll cut you with a spoon. A fuckin’ spoon. Fuck censorship. I know where you live homeboy.” – My Imaginary Therapist
I think everyone should try to make an audiobook.
Leave me a comment if you have any questions, comments, or complaints.
Chronicles of the Otherworld: Season 1 Audiobook is available now!
There are days that are more memorable than most. The kind of days that people relive in their minds through their entire lives. Sometimes we know it before those kinds of days happen but, more often than not, they tend to be a surprise gift. A happy accident.
But for some, even those serendipitous days are marked by something constant. A constant that refuses to wane or be forgotten. The blot on each page of their lives. Nothing short of a real-life curse. An imp sitting over their heads who nested somewhere deep within their minds and hearts.
Bleeding into their senses. Their wisdom. And their beings.
It’s there when they laugh. There when they love. And even there when they cry. Even as their tears roll down their cheeks, it’s the voice that tells them it’s not enough and yet they should be ashamed for giving into it.
For Suzie Lee the week on the lake with her friends and their chaperones would remain one of her happiest and the most adventurous moments of her childhood. It was her days that were more memorable than most.
They canoed through the wakes of the wild waters. They hiked through the creaking trees and where the wildlife cooed and watched. There was even an encounter with a bear and what was the most frightening moment of these young girls lives, in the end, became just another chapter of their adventure.
The fourth evening of their seven-day trip would be the most memorable moment for Suzie. But it would exist as almost a pocket memory of its own. Not because of the Devil but because it was another blot on an otherwise a perfect memory.
A more painful blot because it would have been, otherwise, a perfect childhood memory.
Suzie sat on the dock. Their red and yellow canoes were beached off on the side. The setting sun painted the lake with a blue and purple hue. The few islands they’ve visited filled the horizon like black domes, slowly losing their details to the fading light.
Blanketed by the grandiose nature and its twilight lit visage, Suzie wondered how difficult it’d be for her to drown herself in the lake.
If she pencil dived, no one might notice.
Pockets full of rocks.
A steely determination.
And then… fade away.
Into the cold.
Into the darkness.
No. Be real. Suzie told herself.
Pockets full of rocks.
A violent struggle.
Water pouring in through every crevice of her body.
Filling her lungs and stomach.
Possible last minute of regret.
Then… fade away.
Dangling in the cold. In the darkness. Her corpse gently being pushed one way or the other by the current.
Friends would cry. The family would cry. They’d blame themselves without realizing that the person who should be blamed the most was already gone.
And at that moment, Beelzebub appeared before Suzie in the most unnerving way that’d he would ever appear before her in her life.
From the distance, a familiar head slowly poked above the surface of the calm lake.
Beelzebub slowly ascended until he stood on the surface of the lake and stared at Suzie from afar.
He then took his steps towards her and for the first time, Suzie found herself being startled and nervous to see the Devil. She looked behind her at her friends and chaperone in a gregarious clamor. They had no idea that the Lord of the Flies had appeared. She knew they’d be of no help.
By the time she looked back, Beelzebub already stood before her with a stern look that she had never seen him with. But the dock was higher than the surface of the lake, so the Devil glared upwards at the young teen.
“Well, this just isn’t that menacing is it?” Beelzebub said. He climbed up to the dock and stood over Suzie.
“That’s better,” the Devil remarked.
“Hey,” the teen greeted her visitor.
“Hey,” the Devil replied.
“I didn’t call for you, y’know?” Suzie remarked.
“Your precious heart that wants to kill itself did,” the Devil didn’t sound much concerned.
“My heart, huh?” Suzie didn’t seem too impressed neither. “I have to be some special kind of a fuck-up if my crying, bleeding heart calls out to you instead of the other guy.”
“Well, gee, sorry for being a good friend and being there for you in your time of need. You were a lot cuter and more appreciative when you were younger.”
The Devil looked over to the campsite. Girls and women laughing. Telling stories. Eating snacks.
“Why can’t you just go there and enjoy yourself?” The Devil asked.
The girl did not answer.
“You were so happy… during this trip. Weren’t ya?” The Devil looked at Suzie who was still staring off to the lake with disinterest.
“I was,” Suzie finally replied. “And I think I am. Happy.”
“But what? I can breathe. I’m healthy. I’m with friends. My mom and pop have their issues but I know others have it worse. I should be goddamn happy. I’d be an ungrateful bitch not to be happy. I know that, okay? I know that. I’m so fucking happy.”
“….It’s as if… as if…” Suzie grew more and more agitated. These questions. Her feelings. Her lack of a better answer. The shame of admitting these answers. The embarrassment. “None of this is real? It’s all fading? And I’m just… never going to be able to hold on to anything. And I don’t… I don’t want tomorrow to come because it has to all start over again… and no matter what happens I’ll feel the same. Like something’s broken. Like I’m not good enough for anything. And I can’t get better. I want to be better but I can’t. And I’m so tired of it. I can’t even appreciate… appreciate that I’m out here. I’m just going to mess it all up somehow. I am messing it up.”
Suzie held her tongue. She was rambling. She felt silly. She felt trivial. She didn’t deserve to complain or feel bad.
Beelzebub to let silence come over them. Let them soak in what was said and what they were feeling.
“You thought about getting a shrink?” The Devil carefully asked.
“No. I just feel weird talking to some stranger about my problems. Like shit, you only care because I’m paying you.”
“Well there’s another way,” The Devil smirked.
“…My soul for the cure?”
“…Yeah,” The Devil seemed a bit embarrassed that Suzie stole his punchline.
“Does it work?”
“I wouldn’t offer if I didn’t think it was some sort of a solution.”
Suzie stared at the Devil for a little while and turned back towards the lake.
“Look, I know this beast better than you’ll ever know. It’ll only get worse,” Beelzebub began to make his case. “You’ll feel like you’re always running from your own shadow. And when you stand still it’ll be larger than you remember. You’ll have moments when you forget but those are the moments you’ll realize later just how sick you really are. Hopelessness.”
Suzie buried her face into her arms.
“You’re going to live your life feeling like you’re always just head above water. I’m the guy on the boat. But for me to give you my hand. To throw you the life jacket, I need something from you. I can’t help you without that.”
“…I believe you,” Suzie replied without looking up.
“You know,” Beelzebub felt flustered. What couldn’t she understand?
“At the end of the day who’s been there for you? When you felt like no one could hear those screams inside, when no one could tell that you were messed up. When you’ve felt alone, rejected, and unheard. Who was there for you?”
“But, you’re you. You’re the devil. You want my soul. That’s what you do.”
“Because I want you to be with me. I want you to be part of what I’m building.”
“And I don’t want to give it,” Suzie finally looked up. “Isn’t this fine the way it is?”
“And what is this, exactly? You don’t think I’m like a shrink? Just coming for your soul? Except I can actually help you.”
“Do you love me?” Suzie stared into the Devil’s eyes.
They stared in silence.
“Let’s not get gross, kiddo, alright?” This isn’t… that. Don’t get full of yourself.”
Suzie still stared in silence.
I wasn’t. She mouthed.
“I’m just asking. Do you love me?” She spoke.
“I love more of you than any of you will ever realize,” Beelzebub answered.
“You’re not my shrink. Far as I know our sessions have been free,” Suzie smiled. “I’ve already said no. Or maybe I’m fucking pathetic. I don’t know. But I like you as a friend. Friends tied by odd circumstances. You’ll always want my soul and I’ll always say no. Though the temptations there somewhere. Because this sucks.”
“Knowing that there’s something wrong with me and not being able to do anything about it. That I am the way I am.”
It was a question Beelzebub often pondered. She was the way she was. He was the way he was. But why?
“Is there a God?” Suzie asked.
“Who knows,” Beelzebub answered. It was not a question he could answer. Some of his brothers would tell her “no” or “yes”. Whichever they determined would help the case. But Beelzebub, without truly understanding why, believed his answer to be the correct one.
“If you’re real, He must be as well, right? I hope? For humanity’s sake?”
“That is being hopeful,” Beelzebub gave a sly smile. “Believing that there must be another side to this coin. What if this is it? What if I’m all you get? What’s worse?”
“Must be lonely for you,” Suzie said empathetically.
“At least, we get to believe. Hope. But you already know. Whether there is or isn’t. Either way, I’d feel like that’d be more lonely. More hopeless. Helpless. I don’t know. Maybe that’s why you come to see me.”
“You really were a better company when you were younger,” Beelzebub chuckled as he pulled out a cigar from thin air. Already cut and lit.
“Then stop coming to see me then.”
Beelzebub took a drag of his cigar and released the smoke into the twilight horizon.
“…can I try?” Suzie asked.
“You’re too poor for this,” Beelzebub answered.
“Yeah?” Suzie darted her head around to see her friend.
“We’re making s’mores and we were getting worried. Come join us?”
“Yeah! Sorry!” Suzie quickly looked around to see that the Devil was already gone.
Suzie and her friend chattered and walked back towards the camp as if nothing had happened. As if she had felt nothing. And when she looked back, all there was the empty dock and the beautiful scenery.
She won’t ask him to come back soon or that she’ll miss him.
They were what they were.
Usually, when Beelzebub entered his bar in Hell, it tended to be a bit more cheery. Nods from patrons here and there, some hellos, some flirtations, and sometimes even cheers on more festive nights.
But only choking stillness awaited him this evening.
The bar was full but silent.
Patrons spoke only in sparse whispers.
Obviously uncomfortable, but none willing to be the first to leave. Or at least, none willing to seem like they were eager to leave.
They all glanced at Beelzebub with a spark of hope in their eyes. Pleading eyes that cried,
And then they quickly turned their heads to their own crowds. Afraid that they would offend that one patron in the bar.
That one patron sat alone by the barside. Eating his order of liver and pomegranate with few flatbreads on the side. He had brought his own bottle of wine and offered some to the barkeep, Binkle, who graciously took the drink.
Beelzebub knew it wasn’t Michael. He knew soon as he opened the doors that there were only two beings that could unnerve the denizens of Hell to such extent and make the Lord of the Flies so tense.
“Brother,” Beelzebub carefully called out as he walked over to the patron.
The Brother once had a name.
A beautiful name bestowed upon him by his father.
But it was a name that’s been long forsaken. Only used to recite the Brother’s wrath.
“It’s gotten better,” the Brother spoke of his meal without looking up. “New cook?”
“No,” Beelzebub answered. “Same cook. He’s just gotten better.”
“Always better for the people you already have to improve than to hire new,” Brother cut and ate a generous bite of the liver. He then took a bite of the flatbread. Then took a sip of his wine.
“The bread could be the next thing to improve,” the Brother commented.
“Is that why you’re here? To be Hell’s Duncan Hines?” Beelzebub was irked by Brother’s presence but was careful to not let his emotions slip. And even more careful in choosing his words and attitude. He always thought it was better to not treat his brother with not an overt reverence that may be perceived as sycophancy, rather, simply seem respectful with gentle show hostility.
The Brother smiled.
“You’ve been going to the mortal realm,” Brother still didn’t bother to look at Beelzebub. Still focused solely on his meal.
“To see a girl?”
“Is it love? Lust?” The Brother said the latter with subtle, but violent disdain.
The Brother didn’t question Beelzebub. He knew that Beelzebub and his other brothers were far too wise to lie to him.
There the two sat, along with the rest of the patrons, in uncomfortable silence. Beelzebub declined a drink from Binkle. Only the Brother’s knife clanking against the plate as he cut the liver disturbed the silence.
“What is eternity without purpose?” The Brother finally spoke as he finished the last morsel of food on his plate. “What is eternity without passion?”
Beelzebub knew better than to answer one of these sorts of questions by Brother. The question was simply an invitation for a dramatic silence. A theatrical imposition rather than a thinking exercise.
“An eternity without purpose is being lost,” The Brother carefully placed the utensils onto the near immaculate plate. Neatly folded his napkin, placed it on the table, and then poured himself another glass of his wine.
“And an eternity without passion is being just a function. A perpetual, endless function.”
“And what are we trying to get at here?” Beelzebub asked with a slight snap.
“It’s embarrassing but I’ve been thinking a lot about the whole thing. For a long, long time. Why we are the way we are. Why they are the way they are. We’re at least made with purpose but what are they? And why were all of us made to be able to question our purpose? He trusted all of us so much. And yet I, his favorite, rebelled. I wanted to prove him wrong.”
“I thought it was to show him that we’re fine without his rules. His demands. That we can make a world for ourselves,” Beelzebub waved Binkle over as a way of ensuring of safe passage to pick up the plates and the utensils.
“That’s part of it. That in and of itself, I thought, made Him obsolete. I wanted to show him that he had made a mistake. The power to choose was unnecessary and perverse. I wanted to show him, ‘I am what you made of me. Happy now?’ In fact, I even had a chance to ask him that exact question before… all this.”
“What did he say to that?” Beelzebub remembered the fall. The war. It was imagined by humans to be of some sort of an actual war. In reality, they all simply left His presence. There was no bloodshed but only grievance by their brothers and sisters.
“He said, ‘You’re what you chose to be and you’ll be what you choose to be’,” the Brother scoffed. “I wonder what he thinks by what they choose to be. Rapists. Murderers. Incestuous perverts. And of those who despise Him with all of their hearts. That’s what they choose to be, father. Who is He to judge them when He’s the one who set them free? So I decided to give them a place. Here. They don’t have to live under a tyranny they can’t understand, governed by a being they don’t want to understand. Let them be, who they choose to be. What He always wanted. Everyone just doing whatever they want. Trying to make sense of choices. Trying to figure out their purpose. Trying to find their passion. Doing. Whatever. They. Want.”
“Even kill themselves,” Beelzebub chuckled.
“Or save them. Look at you. I’ve always meant us to show the ugliness of the humans to let them relish in it… but you… you don’t want any of the humans to actually understand suffering. The absence of God. The cruel reality of having choices. To understand why they need to come here. To be free. You didn’t want that girl to kill herself.”
“There are better ways to spend a life. Better ways she can get here. The suicide bunch tends to regret and leave if they ever find that things could have been different. They’re not understanding anything. They just want the things to end. They don’t like it the way it is. So they just want it to end. They’re just trapped and they want out.”
The Brother leaned in closer than Beelzebub was comfortable with.
“But what if I wanted her dead right then and there? Get her here and then sort it out.”
Beelzebub took a moment to search for his answer. But there was only one answer.
“I’d imagine you have the power to make any of us here do whatever you want,” the Lord of the Flies spoke frankly. “We’re mere insects compared to you.”
“And what would be the point of having any of you around if I were to do that,” the Lightbringer answered as he snickered.
Beelzebub gave the Brother a look.
“I know. I know. But I’m not Him. I’m not all-powerful, all-knowing being,” the Broher let out a big sigh. “Who gives a shit. Now… now… I’m so tired. I don’t know how He can keep this up. Or maybe He just doesn’t give a shit either. And I don’t give a shit what you’re doing Beelzebub. I just wanted you to know that. That’s why I came today. You don’t have my blessings with whatever you’re doing, but I frankly don’t care. I just want to have a nice meal. A nice drink or two. And maybe drive out somewhere to stare at the full moon as my dessert. That’s what’s on my mind.”
The Brother looked deeply into Beelzebub’s eyes.
“You know your purpose. Maybe you’ve found your passion. Who am I to get in your way? But looking at you. I admit I do feel lost about myself,” the Brother didn’t take his eyes off of Beelzebub. “So you have my blessings to do whatever the fuck you want.”
Beelzebub waved Binkle over. An odd sense of liberation washed through him.
“You want your drink?” Binkle asked.
“Vodka—” Beelzebub answered.
“Why?” the Brother interjected. “Is my drink not good enough for you?”
“Just bring me a wine glass.”
The overdue Part 3.
I think this is the part that had the most correct… soul *ba-dum-tss* and tone of the story.
There’s a lot of ideas here that could use some incubation time to properly develop and hatch. If I were to go through the editing and the rewrite process for this short story, this is the part that’d I’d look over first.
It was always planned to make the story mature as Suzie matures. To make the ideas, the odd philosophies, and the tone fit Suzie’s age. But there still has to be some sort of a deft and recognizable uniformity that carriers from section to section of the story.
I think the contrast is clear when comparing this part with Part 1. The story originally began as sort of a comedic short from a goofy idea I had while working other projects. The first part is really clear of that. But as the idea developed, it became something else.
And this is why editing and rewrites are important to a story. Because sometimes it’s hard to predict or plan how a story may develop or what new ideas, insights, and outlook you may get for your story.
Anyways. Sorry for the delay & thanks for reading!
The little war drums of their tiny stomps pounding the grass and sand.
It’s a celebration of freedom. Liberation after hours of being trapped in school.
But for Suzie Lee, recess was a time for peace and serenity. The seemingly endless green of the playground fields, the labyrinthine of the big toys, and all the possibilities that a ball and a few friends could provide meant little to the young girl. Even all of the staff and other children would know exactly where to find Suzie each and every recess. Regardless of whether or not they knew her name, everyone in the school has heard of the girl who’d always spend her time at the sandbox by the jungle gym. The girl who was always huddled over drawing or building things with the sand.
The small girl, petite even for her age, had her black hair always tied into pigtails as she stared into the grains of sand. It was as if the sands were the cosmos and it was her job to arrange the stardust.
And it was Charles Bogart’s job to kick some of that stardust onto Suzie’s face.
Suzie coughed violently as she rubbed away the sand from her eyes. The special art drawn into the sand all but gone.
“Charles Bogart!” Suzie yelled but didn’t cry. Suzie never cried.
Charles laughed. His chubby cheeks turning red with his bucktooth revealed for the world to see.
“I hope the devil gets you!” Suzie tried to chase after Charles but tripped.
Her wishful omen was obviously a fair and just judgment for getting sand kicked on your face.
Charles ignored Suzie curse and fled with a wide smile stretched across his face. But he didn’t get far until a sight stopped him dead in his tracks and turned the smile, upside-down.
“So you just showed up?” Binkle asked with an amused astonishment. He poured Beelzebub his vodka on the rocks.
“Yep,” Beelzebub answered as he squirted lime into his drink. He then drowned the carcass and stirred.
“Just like that? Poof?”
“Yeah,” Beelzebub sipped on his drink.
There’s a bar in Hell.
Well, there are many bars in Hell but there’s a particular bar in Hell known as The Center for being at the center of Hell. Which made little sense, as Hell was boundless and endless. The infinite plane for those who wanted to live away from God—either by choice or as punishment—and now lived under the mercy of the fallen angels: the princes of hell, i.e., the Devil. Or the devil[s] though the brothers didn’t mind sharing the title.
After an odd bet with even odder wages, Beelzebub had won against his six brothers and named the bar The Center and effectively made his portion of Hell, the center of Hell.
It did well for business.
Yes, people still had to work in Hell and pay their taxes to the princes.
Binkle was the master of the bar and the personal bartender for Beelzebub. While he was alive, Binkle was a comedian. His jokes impressed Beelzebub and his brothers enough that he was able to land the relatively cushy job of being the Beelzebub’s bartender. Though he was once fully human, the princes added bits and pieces to the comedian to their personal amusement. As of now, Binkle had seven nipples (one inside his ear), a hairy rat tail, and taste buds on his anus. The last bit was added by Asmodeus, one of Beelzebub’s brothers, and it was an addition Binkle was still unaware of. And, of course, the name Binkle which Belphegor, with his great sense of humor, had given the comedian. His real name was long forgotten.
“My mouth tastes funny,” Binkle smacked his lips. “It’s been like this all day. Your brother was here earlier, by the way.”
“Did he pay his tab?” Beelzebub sipped on his drink
“Well, he grumbled when I asked him of it,” Binkle prepped some finger foods for the devil then grabbed a mouthwash.
“Well that didn’t help,” Binkle said after a gargle and a spit. “So what made you do that?”
“Do what?” Beelzebub shook his empty glass in the air. Binkle relieved him of it as he handed him another.
“You know. Show up? When the girl summoned?” Binkle pushed a basket of fresh nachos to Beelzebub.
“Just felt like it. I mean, why not,” Beelzebub enjoyed Binkle’s skills as a bar chef.
“Something about the girl just beckoned me over. I don’t know. Maybe I was bored.”
“Did you just show up like that?”
Beelzebub was currently dressed in a way that a Beverly Hills yuppie would dress to look casual. Sports coat, t-shirt of a rock band they’ve barely heard the name of, darkened jeans, and shades.
“No, went with the classic,” Beelzebub turned into a hideous form that’d convince denizens of hell that there wasn’t a God.
“Wow,” Binkle said. “That kid’s going to need therapy.
In fact, Charles was in therapy until his senior year of high school. No one believed that he had seen a monster. As no one should. Everyone believed he was crazy. As one should when a child starts screaming and crying that he’s seen a monster and that everyone else can go to hell for not believing him. Once his parents could no longer afford his therapy, Charles turned to drugs and delved into cults that even Beezlebub’s brother Mammon found to be a senseless waste of goats. Eventually, after an emotional breakthrough with his friends and family, Charles decided to go to a dime-a-dozen art school that the same friends and family couldn’t convince him out of after they recently had such an emotional breakthrough. His obsession with flies didn’t win him many fans nor jobs. So after graduation, Charles worked through various fast food restaurants until he became a manager of one. Where he tried to swat a fly since by this point he grew an insatiable hatred towards them, and ended up falling face first into a deep fryer and died.
Don’t kick sand at people, kids.
“You’re other brothers are not going to not like that. And I’m not talking about the ones in hell. And by brothers I mean just one,” it took a lot of courage from Binkle to warn Beelzebub like that.
He studied carefully of the Lord of the Flies’ reaction. The Lord simply sipped on his drink, deep in thought.
“So, what now?” Binkle asked. “Are you going to try to bring her here?”
“I’m done with her. It was fun. But can’t turn a little fun into a headache,” Beelzebub said as he watched Binkle drink a shot of whiskey to get the funny taste out of his mouth with to no avail.
The heavy padded doors of the bar slammed open. A flood of light filled the bar with heaven’s glory. A heavy aura of the divine made the other patrons of the bar uncomfortable, perturbed, and annoyed.
A tall, fit man in a white robe and golden locks calmly walked toward Beelzebub.
“Brother,” the archangel spoke with a voice of grace and magnitude. “We need to talk.”
This is from a novella I was working on that I ended up putting aside when I had to work on different projects. I decided to post it on the blog and finish the story up here as well.
I don’t think it’ll end up being a novella as planned and probably will be a longer-short story.
I’ll try to post every Monday.
“Take an event from history and write a fictional account describing a conspiracy theory about what “REALLY” happened. Or, if you prefer, write a scene about a character who believes in one or more conspiracy theories.”
[Word Count Limit]
Found out about the contest around 6:00PM PST on 04/04/2018… the day the short story was due was…. at 8:00 PM PST 04/04/2018
Around 90 minutes.
500 Words, cut down from around 680.
Started from a Lee Harvey Oswald bit to this:
Down the Highway 285, just about when drivers would think they’re in the middle of nowhere, there was a diner. It looked like an old chrome box and during the day it glistened under the blistering sun and at night it lit itself up with the bright red neon sign on its roof that simply read: “DINER”. They figured no one cared about the name of the place.
It’s 1969. The time was 1 AM.
Jim sat at his table with his coke bubbling through the ice cubes. He scratched his head with its crew cut and pushed his thick black-rimmed glasses back on to the top of his nose with his index finger. He opened his mouth to speak to the lanky man in his fancy suit and matching fedora before closing it to gather his thoughts again.
“I’m telling you it’s all true, Jim,” the man in the fancy suit said. “All those people who’ve told you that you were mad… they were wrong.”
“But…” Jim still couldn’t find exactly what he felt was wrong.
“How long were you searching for us?”
“…for 23 years. Jesus. That’s two wives and three children.” Jim sat back a bit and sipped on his coke.
“I’m here to tell you that we’re real,” The man gave Jim a kind, comforting smile.
The man removed his fedora. Four green tendrils shyly poked above his thick, black hair. He then pointed his finger at his forehead where a third eye opened stared at Jim’s reluctant face.
“What is it, Jim? What’s wrong?” The man asked.
“You can’t be real,” Jim said sternly.
“I’m saying, where’s the MIB? The boys in the shadows? The Men in Black?” Jim tried to keep his voice down. “How can I be speaking to you right now?”
“I don’t… think they’re real.”
“They’re not real?! Ha! Then what’s the government using the tobacco industry for? What’s Vietnam for? Think man! Think!”
“I…” Worried about the commotion, the man retracted his tendrils and put back on his fedora.
“Do you really think that the government would let aliens just walk around willy-nilly? Talk to us? Let them observe us? Bullshit! That’d be utter chaos! What’s the point of paying taxes then!”
“I have… I don’t know.”
“Then who’s propagating this idea that Earth is round, man?! And that “moon” landing a week ago? Come on!”
“Earth… is round.”
“Earth. Earth is round,” Jim groaned. “Jesus Christ. I don’t know who put you up to this but they at least need to do better homework.”
“You boys okay?” The waitress asked.
“Yeah,” Jim stood up. “And he’s getting the check for wasting my time.”
Jim put on his jacket and his fedora. With his briefcase clenched tightly in his hand he walked out to the cold, desert night.
He lit a cigarette and looked up into the sky. The vast black canvass of endless stars, mysteries, and other lives.
Someday, Jim told himself. Someday he’ll find the truth.
Well. There it is.
That’s the copy and paste of the story. A direct link HERE. There’s a lot of great other submissions to read as well so make sure to check out the whole thread if you click on that link.
In the end, while I had a lot of fun writing this story I wasn’t entirely happy with it. But it was good to write something from beginning to completion again and I submitted it regardless.
Hi, it’s me. Your average writer.
You might have heard of me from my past works such as… who are we kidding? You have never heard of me. I’m a nobody. But I’m a nobody with some experience.
Last time, I posted a blog about 4 Same Stupid Questions I See All the Time On Writing Forums. Click HERE to fulfill my shameless plug.
This time, I thought I’d do something a bit more helpful and thoughtful.
I’m going to buy your ebooks.
Just kidding. I’m still poor. And with the money I have I’d rather buy a McDouble and a McChicken at McDonald’s with the awesome Mc2Pick for $2.50! What a deal! And make sure to check out their limited-time holiday drinks!
You already know what this is about. You’ve read the title. Get to the point you’re saying. Maybe you’ve already scrolled down.
This is for all of you out there wondering what exactly some of those answers you’ve received meant. Because the random stranger who gave you the answer left you cold and hanging without an explanation. Like my dad on Christmas.
Let’s get the big one out of the way.
I’m literally massaging my nose bridge with one hand and typing this with my other two hands as I’m trying to explain this one.
Not because it’s particularly difficult to answer, but because it’s so basic.
But not because it’s just so basic, but because it’s so basic and it’s a mistake that I make often and I know for a fact that many other writers who should be above these kinds of things make this mistake as well.
So let’s try to understand WHY this happens.
I have a simple theory: We are describing what we are seeing in our brilliant, gifted minds and forgetting that our jobs as writers are to help the readers experience what we’re seeing and not have them simply understand what we’re seeing. We’re not supposed to be the tour guides but be VR goggles. They want to be inside of our story—not be outside of it.
Showing is taking notes.
Telling is creating worlds.
There are times when you want to “tell” over “show” but this is one of those things where you have to master the rules before you learn to bend them.
And here’s an example just in case:
Jimmy was mad at Moe.
Jimmy’s unibrow furrowed into a rugged U, his hand trembled with fury, and his heart filled with the burning desire to bitchslap Moe.
You want to be a swimmer? Go practice swimming every day.
You want to be a stripper? Go practice stripping every day.
You want to be a writer? Go practice stripping every day.
Well. Why not. Cardio’s important. But you should also practice writing every day.
This somewhat calloused sounding advice exists because most people only talk about writing and never actually write.
They think they can be writers by just spewing their thesis about the craft of ink and paper as they lasciviously rub themselves for their own creativity and avant-garde ideas.
Something about hic Rhodus, hic salta.
Your ideas aren’t worth donkey’s spit on a chicken’s ass if you never actually create something with it. And unless you’re some sort of a Hemingway’s spirit reborn, you’re probably not as good as you think you are.
So how do you “just write”? I personally say do away with the whole “have a word count for the day” thing. You know, when people say things like “just write 1000 words a day”?
Look, fellow grasshoppers, if you’re a professional writer then you know when your due date is so daily word count either makes more sense or not at all since you just have to get’er done by that date.
You know how you work. You can set your own pace.
If you’re a hobbyist it makes less sense because the rigidness and the arbitrary number just turns your hobby into a chore.
But sure. If it works for you—good. Nothing wrong with that.
If it doesn’t—don’t worry about it. And let me recommend, instead, setting up a timed session.
Maybe one hour a day. One hour every other day.
Make it your schedule, like everything else you do in life, and just use that time to write one word or ten thousand words. Or even no words. Just do something writing related. Even if that’s reading for research, doing brainstorms, and whatever. Maybe it’ll be for an hour. Maybe it’s two hours. Just set a time.
This will give you some freedom and some ease with your writing pursuit. And if you have an end goal in mind that’s where you can set a long-term deadline for yourself.
Oh, and, if you’re not letting other people read your work—you’ll never get better. Practice makes permanent and not perfect.
Writing without outside criticism will only make your lack of talent permanent.
So, this one’s a bit FUBAR.
To unravel this, I’ll just first explain where it’s coming from and then kind of go on about why it’s FUBAR. And just a head’s up: this one’s going to be a bit serious.
Like stool samples. Poops are fun and games but sometimes you have to use serious, medical terms like “stool” and “samples”.
When there’s a fad, it’ll start a trend.
Star Wars sparked the sci-fi boom.
Lord of the Rings & Game of Thrones sparked the fantasy boom.
Twilight sparked the wtf-happened-to-vampires boom.
Hunger Games started the dystopian boom.
The whole idea of “write what you’d want to read / don’t follow a trend” is that the chances of you actually catching the trend and having your passions align with the trend… are low.
Why is the chance of catching a trend low?
Because writing is a long process and publishing can be even longer. It usually takes years for someone to finish a book and see it in stores. You really think the trend will last that long? And what about passion? Do you think you can write a work you’re proud of without a passion for it? Even if you’ve missed the trend? Can I add any more questions to this paragraph? Well? Can I?
Writing what you’re proud of—something that you can call your own—can mean more at the end of the day than writing something that you thought was going to sell.
But remember when I said this topic is a bit tricky? With the technologies and how the book market is today… you can basically ignore everything I said up there and maybe you should.
You know why trends start? Because they sell.
People tend to want more cake after they had a slice.
Twilight spawned True Blood, Vampire Diaries, and a bunch of other vampire shows, books, and ebooks in a variety of genres.
Erotica was a popular genre to write for on Kindle for a while because they sold like… well… sex.
Publishers will always welcome any book that’ll sell. That’s their jobs. Publish things to sell. And if the genre’s hot right now, they’ll be looking for more of that genre and might even put you through the fast lane.
For indie writers, catching trends is easier now more than ever because you can instantly check what’s selling well. Check the Top 100 on Amazon. There you go.
Passion? Damn, son. Passions tend to suck at paying for stuff. And I like stuff.
Besides, if you’re a professional writer shouldn’t you have a grasp of how to write just about anything?
Timing? You click “publish” and you’re done.
You want to put more work into it? It won’t be too hard for you to chug out a 40-50k novel that follows a formula for a standard successful storytelling in a month. Remember, NaNoWriMo thinks just about everyone can chug out 50k in a month. You’re a professional, veteran writer. If this is your full-time job, you can do it in 2-3 weeks. During the time you’re writing you can hire an editor and an artist and ding-ding-ding you have a Hot Pockets book.
Besides, talking about passion, do you think there’s a lot of market appeal to a book that’s so personally you?
Sometimes a book is too much you and sometimes that’s not a good thing. That’s when a writer is just doing a self-pleasing (there, friends, I didn’t use the word “masturbatory”) project and hoping that people might like it.
Hell, that writer might not even be thinking of readers. If your protagonist is a half-orc, quarter-dragon, quarter-boar stripper named Borga Do’Kora (stage name being Danger Dick) who’s day job is a tax accountant, maybe you really did not give a chicken’s ass on a donkey’s spit about the readers.
And that’s fine. Writing, in its best form, should be reflective and a fragment of your being. Even if that’s a half-orc, quarter-dragon, quarter-boar stripper who’s favorite food happens to be pickled eggplants.
But if we’re talking about making money, the whole story changes.
Wow, the last one was so damn long. I’ll keep this short. You know how you improve your mile run right? You keep running.
But as you keep running, you’ll run into some hurdles along the way. Maybe your ankles will start to hurt, maybe you’ll run into better runners, and maybe some literal hurdles. It’s called gaining experience.
And sometimes, it’ll hurt. They might say you have ugly shoes, ugly face, and that you look downright silly running.
But someone wise once told me… Just kidding. I read this on Tumblr.
“Writer’s who are afraid of rejection are like boxers who are afraid of getting punched. You’re in the wrong line of work.”
In every aspect of our lives, we should welcome valid criticisms. In writing, we have to take-and-thank any sort of feedback we can get and sort it through ourselves like beggars on the street corners Aurora ave in Seattle.
And a lot of times… the greatest of criticisms will come from our own failures. It’s okay to fail despite what my mother says. What’s not okay is to let failures just be failures. Then you’ve wasted your time.
Don’t give up. Everything’s hard and writing as a craft has been around since the beginning of written language. You don’t have to try to rewrite the rule book, the legacy, or try to be the next big thing. Just enjoy it and see where it takes you.
If someone says you suck–say thanks. What can I do to be better?
If you think you suck–well, I suck. What can I do to be better?
And I’m not saying having that attitude is easy. It’s tough. Hell, I always get salty and pissy and depressed about myself and my life. And sometimes about my writing!
But that’s the process of “Keep Writing”. You’ll get better as long as you keep challenging yourself and keep yourself honest. Make sure the cycle of depression and persistence keeps turning. There’s no fast lane here. It’s just gaining experience.
Or just give up. It’s your life. Why are you doing this if you’re not enjoying it unless you’re trying to pay bills with it?
It’s okay not to be a writer. It’s okay not to be a professional writer. I’m sure your friends and family will be happy to hear that you decided not to be an artist anymore and decided to be a Tax Accountant and go make a happy, comfortable living without having to worry about your future.
But if you’re not going to give up, keep running. As you keep running, you’ll also learn how to enjoy running better. And hopefully, y’know, you’ll keep researching into how to run better because that’s part of keep running.
Like forms and stuff.
This got too sentimental for my taste.
AND I SAID HEY-EY-EY-EY! HEY-EY-EY-EY!
I SAID HEY!
TUPAC KILLED JFK!
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I’m sure any writers who don’t retire after NaNoWriMo is over will know exactly what I’m talking about.
You’re browsing through your favorite writing forums as you relax on the comfort of your gluteus maximus resting against your glorious throne (in my case a $50 dollar chair from Costco).
You chuckle at the plebians crying for help and you dowse yourself with a reality check for your daily dose of crippling depression about your own writing.
Or, I don’t know. Maybe you just had nothing better to do on the toilet.
But this sacred ritual is plagued, as it often is, by the redundant questions that you’ve seen countless times on a weekly basis that fills up the pages of your favorite writing forums. And it’s even more than the usual because ’tis the season.
Don’t they know how to search?
Haven’t they cracked open a book before?
Isn’t there some sort of a VlogBrother piece about this?
Tell me honestly that you haven’t seen these multiple times before:
By writing them interestingly.
If people can write interesting stories about silly characters like Superman and whiny angsty kids like Holden–you can do it too!
If you have talent.
But let’s be real. Most of us don’t have talent.
We just have fun writing.
I was told that’s okay.
Like any other person.
Add the colors of their individuality later. Like complaining about menstrual pain. Because that defines women. For men, you can make them constantly worry about the size of their penis. Because that defines men.
See? I insult both.
What? What about hermaphrodites?
Unless your mother is a hermaphrodite. Then-she’s-a-respectablel-lady-who’ve-gone through-something-not-many-of-us-have-gone-through-and-I-hope-she’s-okay-with-the-choice-that-she-made -on-what-sex-she-wanted-to-be.
Don’t sue me. I’m poor.
No. Don’t do it.
Yes! Do it!
I don’t know. Go ask James Patterson.
It’s impossible to answer that question without actually reading your work. Even then, remember that even Tolkien was told Lord of the Rings was a terrible idea by his peers.
But, again, let’s be real. 90% of writers are too afraid to let others read their work and 75% are too lazy and/or uncaring to read other people’s work.
To be fair–the latter is fair. Why should we spend our precious time reading your book when people probably won’t even read it for free?
Don’t you know we’re too busy caring only about our feeble writing careers? Do you think we’re made of spare eyes that we can replace from the ones that burst staring at little tiny symbols all day? We’ll lay waste to our eyesights with our own crap thank you very much!
Know your work well enough to answer that question for yourself or find beta readers… I.E. Probably your friends and family members who you’ve successfully guilt-tripped to helping for free.
Just in case some of you are actually doing that… 9/10 they won’t help.
If they’re saying good thing–it’s useless. They love you and care about dumb things like your feelings. If they say terrible things–well, apparently it was that bad. Which, I guess, is helpful.
Just find strangers. Hop into their tinted white vans and shove your manuscript into their faces. Stranger danger doesn’t apply here.
Please be advised that this content is meant for comedic effect and none of anything the writer says should be taken seriously or with any sort of credence. Don’t sue him. He’s poor.
No. It’s not.
You’re not either. Your mother, your school, and your girlfriend/boyfriend lied to you. There are no such things as special snowflakes. Even if it was original, we’d tell you it isn’t because we’d be jealous or want to pretend we’re intelligent and we’ve encountered it before.
How you can be original isn’t with the formulas, but you can be original with the presentation of the formulas.
Have your own voice. Your own take. And do it with confidence.
People will respect someone who didn’t pull their punches and gave it their all rather than wimpy little attempts that made no noise or mark anywhere.
Just remember Robert Downey Jr.’s sage advice: “Never go full retard.”
Even if you went “full retard” (his words, not mine) if you gave it your all… then at least you’ll have a clearer picture of what you did wrong. If you were wishy-washy with your voice, it’d have been a lot foggier to determine exactly what you did right and what you did wrong.
Like anything else in life: Don’t be afraid to fail. Just be afraid of not learning from the failures.
Or the crippling depression that comes from failures.
And the subsequent anxiety attacks when you get up and attempt again at possible more failures.
And the sad looks you get from your family and friends as they wonder where you’ve gone wrong.
Yeah! Just be honest with yourself and give it your all to tell the story you want to tell in the best way that you want to tell it!
I’m no expert when it comes to writing. Not even close. But these are questions that even amateur writers could answer because they are basics of the basics of creative writing…
…THAT YOU COULD HAVE ANSWERED FOR YOURSELF WITH A LITTLE REFLECTION.
JUST TAKES A LITTLE LOGIC.
USE THE SEARCH FUNCTION NEXT TIME.