HUMAN-SIM and Infinite Connections

Cal Newport recently published an article about Ray Bradbury and his short story THE MURDERER. What caught my attention is how real the world Bradbury illustrated has become. Interestingly enough, HUMAN also captures this idea of being constantly connected, though my focus is not on the mental distraction as portrayed in Bradbury’s tale or Newport’s writings. I am much more interested in the social implications and conversational impatience which I see evolving in regular discussions. Bradbury’s distracting phone call or Newport’s note of the disrupting email are the same as the conversationalist who interrupts one when speaking, believing they know the rest of the sentence better than the speaker. The remaining stories to be told in the HUMAN story universe explore the consequences of when these situations are amplified. An idea misinterpreted because the listener came to their own conclusions prior to completion of the speaker’s thought. Seeking to be understood when the patience or capacity doesn’t exist. Being in many conversations at once, intending to capture it all. These works are the basis for my own thoughts on conversation and one’s ability to listen and the other’s need to be understood. HUMAN-SIM is the attempt for the story world characters to have it all – or to have “the world” – at the same time. What happens when we can’t have it all? When we have to chose “the world” over something else? What if the real world is speaking to us, but we are too focused on “the world”[…] [Keep Reading]

HUMAN: The eBook

Perhaps the most motivating feeling in the world is to self-publish an ebook for the first time. For me to see my own work on Amazon available for sale is an incredible experience. Last week I self-published my short story, HUMAN, and of course I encourage everyone to read it. A huge thanks to Ani Paoletti, who provided the cover art. The story world of HUMAN is the result of my own reflections on our social experience in the last ten years (prior to COVID). Much of my incorporated ideas are expressed in further detail in my interview with fellow creative Andrew Hall. HUMAN explores the emotional response to professional and social situations given technology’s presence. How do we feel when we can’t remember something specific or keep up with someone in a conversation? How do we feel when we can’t contribute to a conversation because we didn’t read the latest news story? How do we feel when we aren’t genuinely listened to? These are questions I’ve been trying to understand since I graduated from college. I believe we all feel this way at some point in our lives. We’re in the middle of talking and the person we’re conversing with is looking elsewhere, or they pull out their phones or cut us off and attempt to finish our sentences. One thing I never understood was how someone could come to realize what I was going to say before I finished my thought, while at the same time being able[…] [Keep Reading]

The Aesthetics of Editing

For those curious about what editing physically looks like, here’s a page from my short story: Saturn: Journey to the Core. It’s interesting to look back on this and see how much I crossed out. I didn’t delete just words, but entire sentences. The first paragraph was deleted in the final version as it was not essential to the telling of the story. I read this short story again and can cut even more while improving the prose here and there, given my growth as a writer in the past four years. However, I’m not ready to make any changes yet. SATURN was my first published work, and to keep it in its original form seems like the appropriate action at the moment. Perhaps it will change in the future when I return to this story world. (Yes, that means we will hear more from the OKULOUS crew in due time…)  [Keep Reading]

Interviews from the Void: Episode #51 – Brett Abrahamsen

Highlights Ideas are more important than the writing itself. Flash fiction and short stories are essential mediums for ideas. We need ideas that haven’t been written about before. Welcome to the 51st episode of Interviews from the Void, where I interview writers about their writing process, discussing the mechanics and physicality of the craft. In this episode, I chat with writer Brett Abrahamsen, who specializes in short fiction and seeks to get his readers to think deeply about the existence of the universe and their place within it. His flash fiction piece, A NEW KIND OF APE, is an intriguing read. It was the year A.D. 73,000,000 on Alpha Centauri. A scientist was preparing to give a speech. The speech was to discuss a book, for which the scientist had received a prestigious honor. The scientist’s book was only a sentence long. He had called it A New Kind of Ape. Archaeology was the dominating field at the time, and the book had reflected his discoveries in this area. Specifically, it described his excavation of the fossilized remains of a new, previously-unknown species of ape, a kind which – or so he believed – was central to evolution. He began to speak before an appreciative – ecstatic, in fact – audience. “I feel this is the culmination of my life’s work – the thrill of discovering a new species”. He cleared his throat. “I was excavating beneath some curiously inscripted stone markers, and there were the remains, remarkably well preserved, of[…] [Keep Reading]

The Key is to Start

Starting provides the necessary momentum to keep going. In a recent interview with my fellow creative friend Andrew Hall, we discussed the transition from world building and research to writing. When – and more importantly, how – do we make that transition? How much world building and outlining is too much? I’ve given these questions additional thought, and hope to inspire you to just start the writing process. Before driving into the first draft of my science fiction novel, I intended to have the entire story outlined. However, three months into the planning process, I had a 30,000 word outline in front of me and quickly lost interest in the story and the story world I developed in my mind. 2019 approached and I didn’t work on the novel at all, partly because I did not believe I had enough of the story planned. One of my fears is that I didn’t have a solid beginning or end and if I don’t plan it out, I would write the infinite story. Where’s the fun in that? Writing is to be enjoyed. Let the pressure of having the story be perfectly planned drift away. Just start. I believe many creatives – like myself – struggle to start, or we get addicted to starting projects and never finish them. I suffer from both. And at some point, I needed to admit to myself that world building, planning and outlining was becoming a means of procrastination. Once I figure out this section, I’ll[…] [Keep Reading]

Human – A Short Story

I was fortunate enough to meet Ani Paoletti via Twitter when she noted she was providing free book covers for writers during the COVID-19 pandemic. I’ve been searching for an artist to help me with cover are for a long time through Twitter and DeviantArt with no luck to date. I sent a note to Ani and she helped put together the cover below for my short story, HUMAN – which originally appeared in Kyanite Press last year. This cover exceeded my expectations and I wanted to share it. I’ll be doing an interview with Ani in the coming weeks, serving as another entry in the Interviews from the Void series. Read on to explore the world of HUMAN. I hope you enjoy it. Be sure to reach out to Ani if you need cover art assistance. In the near future, we’ve overcome the limitations of non homogeneous communication. A man lost in his life and career hopes to get the latest HUMAN-SIM upgrade and get promoted at work, with unexpected consequences… DAY ZERO My brain processor lagged. Susan – the barista who always took my order – told me the price for my regular, black coffee. It was always $9.56. My Human-SIM integrator card already released $9.56 from my account and transferred it to the café. Yet something was wrong. “Scott, I’m afraid prices went up today.” “They did?” I asked after a brief delay. Maybe I had a poor connection to the network. The café was one of[…] [Keep Reading]

My First Story

Looking back on the my writing history, I think it’s important to thank the group of people who read and published my first story, Saturn: Journey to the Core. Without that first publication, it is possible I would not have had the confidence to write more short stories. I started this blog in 2014 and posted on and off until 2016. During that time, I received a comment from someone starting a new quarterly publication, and they were seeking submissions. The publication was New Zenith Magazine, featuring art, poetry and short stories of all genres. My short story, Saturn: Journey to the Core, appeared in the inaugural Summer, 2016 issue. New Zenith is no longer around, but I felt I should share this story with my readers. Thank the first person who published your story. They believed in you. [Keep Reading]

Kyanite’s Healing Words Project

My friends at Kyanite Publishing had a great idea when COVID-19 pushed many into isolation: publish short works on their website for reading enjoyment and a means to escape to another world. There are many great story tellers associated with Kyanite Publishing, and I hope my readers will check out their works at Kyanite’s Healing Words Project during these strange times. My short story, HUMAN, is now available for free as part of this project.   [Keep Reading]

Interviews from the Void: Episode #49 – B. K. Bass

Highlights How to start a publishing company. Why the classics are critical for improving our writing. How to create new creatures and monsters for our stories. Welcome to the forty-ninth episode of Interviews from the Void, where I interview writers about their writing process, discussing the mechanics and physicality of the craft. In this episode, I’m very excited to be chatting with BK Bass, my friend at Kyanite Publishing. I met Mr. Bass through Benjamin Hope, and they’ve published two of my short stories: THE SCHLIKT and HUMAN. Mr. Bass also shares more writing knowledge in an in-depth interview with our mutual creative friend and photographer, Andrew Hall. Arthur: Tell me about how you came into writing. Are there any experiences you have which inspire your stories? BK: I fell into it at a young age. In fifth grade I started reading Greek mythology, Edgar Allan Poe, Terry Brooks, Tolkien, and others. I fell in love with everything fantasy, mythological, and macabre. Soon, that branched out into science fiction. It wasn’t long before school writing assignments turned into a chance to explore my love of these stories from the other side of the pen, and before you know it, I was writing for fun. I kept practicing for about 25 years, and here I am today! Arthur: Tell me about Kyanite Publishing. I love working with you and your team. How did the idea for the company come about? What were the challenges? What has been the most positive part[…] [Keep Reading]

The Purpose of Writing

Why do we write? It’s a question we often ask ourselves amidst the struggle of developing a story or writing a novel. Once our writing reaches a stagnation point – when the enjoyment of it becomes work – we stop. During that moment, I ask myself: Why am I writing this? It’s simple to think we will complete a writing project and no one will read it. It won’t have an effect on the world. It is also tempting to think this about anything in life. Why go through the effort? While working on a separate project for my professional career, I came across the following quote: “The English author and essayist Samuel Johnson said, ‘The only aim of writing is to enable the readers better to enjoy life or better to endure it.’ This happens, we think, because great authors lead readers to find or make meaning in their own lives.” I found this quote very powerful the moment I read it. The only aim of writing is to enable the readers better to enjoy life or better to endure it. To return to my original goals, and to further expand upon what I noted about writing in my interview with Andrew Hall, I hope that through my writing, I’m able to equip my readers with a sense of joy through the story; I intend to provide a sense of being which allows them to endure whatever moments they must. This is my purpose for writing. Source: Rosenbach, William[…] [Keep Reading]