I got a story idea a few weeks ago, but I haven’t really bothered to put pen to paper to develop it at all. So it’s now up for grabs!
I was listening to Almost Educational Episode 131 about time travel. At some point while I was listening, the idea for a piece of flash fiction popped into my head. Unfortunately, as is usually the case with my ideas, if I don’t act on it fast, the motivation to do it fades pretty quickly.
The main premise is this: The phenomenon known as “frequency illusion” (also known as the “Baader-Meinhof phenomenon”) is actually a ripple effect caused by some kind of change to the timeline in the past.
That’s about as far as I got with the idea, so I’d love to see what someone can come up with here. If it’s already been done, point me in the right direction!
It’s been a while since I finished reading something, and this month I managed to finish two things. One was a full length book, the other was a piece of short fiction. Here are my reviews.
The 100 Year Old Man Who Climbed Out the Window and Disappeared
I received this book as a gift at Christmas this past year, and is a story I’ve had my eye on for quite a while. What I didn’t know about it: it was originally written in Swedish, translated to English (and presumably many other languages since). It’s a simple story, and starts exactly as the title suggests: A 100-year-old man climbs out of his window and disappeared, launching a man-hunt for him across Sweden.
It earns many comparisons to Forest Gump, mainly because the story of his past is told in parallel with the present-day story. In his past, he interacts with many different historical figures and winds up inadvertently shaping historic events simply by dumb luck.
I’m normally not a fan of descriptions that compare the book to another work of fiction, simply because it saddles a lot of preconceptions onto the new work. I tried not to think about the Forest Gump comparisons but after finishing the novel, felt that it was a pretty apt description.
The story is pretty funny overall, and the pacing was generally quite good. At some points I thought that this wasn’t the case; some of the telling of his life in the past felt slow and left me wanting to get back to what the main character was up to in the present day.
I give it an A-, definitely worth a read.
Dead Trees Give No Shelter
This is a shorter piece of fiction, about 40 pages. Wil Wheaton (yes, THAT Wil Wheaton) wrote it with an intended release for Halloween, as a break between a longer novel that he’s working on.
It’s a supernatural / horror story, which coincidentally also moves between the past and present day (and a quick jaunt into the year 2031). I didn’t intend to pick two stories to review that had a similar story mechanic, it’s something I just realized.
A quick but very enjoyable read. Wil Wheaton created a moody atmosphere and did a really good job of “hiding the monster” until it needed to come out of hiding. The story has a certain symmetry to it as well. At one point when I was reading it, I was listening to the E.T. soundtrack, which perfectly fit the tone that I think Wheaton was aiming for. There were some instances where the dialog didn’t work for me, but it wasn’t enough to make me give up reading in disgust. Solid read – pick it up after watching Stranger Things (or watch Stranger Things after reading this).
I really liked it. Around the time that I finished reading this I also binged through the rest of Stranger Things, which was great. Similar atmospheres, which I think is exactly what Wheaton was going for.
Since you probably won’t need help finding The 100 Year Old Man… on book shelves, I’ll just give you a link to Dead Trees Give No Shelter. You can pick it up in multiple forms – I personally bought the eBook. You can also listen to the Audiobook, which was narrated by Wil himself.
What’s next? I’m going to finally read Timothy Zahn’s Survivor’s Quest + Outbound Flight; I’ve also got a World War II book I picked up from a bargain table that looks interesting. I definitely have no shortage of things to read on my bookshelf.
I was listening to Episode 35 of Anthology yesterday which covered the topic of genies. It got me thinking a little bit about something to write, but as usual I was on a walk while I was listening to this is all based on memory!
Anyway, I thought I’d provide everyone with a Flash Fiction Prompt. If you’re not familiar with the term “flash fiction”, you may want to familiarize yourself with the Wikipedia entry. The short version (or “flash” version, if you will) is that Flash Fiction is really short, usually no more than 1000 words. The shortest most-known story is of course The Six Word Story.
A couple of weeks ago I mentioned that I had a short story I wanted to share with you, and that it needed some work. Well, I decided to abandon that story (for now; it needs a lot more work and I didn’t leave myself enough time). However, I did find a mostly complete version of another story that I can totally share.
It’s not 100% finished; I made a few tweaks but there’s a major change that should happen with this story that would completely change it (for the better, I hope).
I can’t remember where the original idea came from, but I think it started life as a novel. I have a memory of writing this for one of the National Novel Writing Months (NaNoWriMo) a few years back. I think rather than keeping it a stretched out mess, I turned it into a more manageable short story.
The result is The Wrist Watch. I’ve got it available in DRM-free ePub format that you can download directly. There’s no way this is good enough to be sold! But if you decide that you really, really want to contribute some funds, contact me privately and I’ll send you a donation link. But trust me you don’t need to.
I don’t have a big post for you today, but instead a story update. In one of my recent goal update posts I mentioned that I wanted to get back to writing some more fiction. I had the idea that I was going to share an original piece with you today, but due to time constraints that’s just not happening.
My thought process shifted to posting an older story, from one of my Google Drive folders. I have a few sitting in there, but to my dismay – they’re not really ready. There was one story in particular I was thinking about sharing, but when I opened it, I realized that I left it unfinished. There are some comments on it that I got from a writing group but I never went back to it.
I’m going to update the story in the next few weeks, and create a cover art for it and release it as an eBook. Actually, as I typed this I also found what looks like a pretty complete draft of another short story. I’ll have to read it over but I think I’m going to give that one the same treatment.
I haven’t decided whether I should try to put them up for $1 on Amazon or something; or if I’d be better off just throwing them online in a pay-what-you-want format. Either way I will make the stories available to readers of the blog in some form.
And so that I make sure the work gets done, I’m giving myself a deadline: Tuesday May 9th. If you don’t see something from me by that date, yell at me! I’m on Twitter at @stephen_g.