My brain did a weird inversion of the whole coronavirus thing a couple of weeks ago and had what I thought at the time was a great idea.
I tried to put that idea to paper in the form of a short story.
After writing something I was not at all happy with, I decided the idea was not so good after all.
But perhaps the idea is fine, just not in my hands. My brain won’t stop grafting new ideas onto this one, turning it into some epic nonsense of a multi-novel series, with occasional subconscious plagiarising from Maze Runner. I had
So instead of giving you a story, I’m going to dump the idea here. Your imagination can write the rest.
There are lots of things I’m not particularly good at that I do anyway. Making my own book covers has been one of those things. They’re not particularly good, but my ‘books’ are really only short stories and I was giving them away for free.
While I’m fine with giving away some of my work to connect with an audience that likes my writing, I’m not so sure about spending money to put a cover on a free piece of writing.
Perhaps I was wrong about that, but it’s hard to know.
I’ve got a series of shorts coming together, with a jeans-and-leather wearing female exorcist with a bit of an attitude problem as the main character. I wanted a cover and after a few hours playing around, I decided I wasn’t good enough at cover design to do it myself.
I turned to Fiverr.
About a week later, my opinion of my own cover design skills has gone up considerably.
I don’t do all that much horror, but sometimes that’s just how a story turns out. Not that my horror is all that horrifying, but this story very clearly veered towards that genre about a third of the way through the writing process, and there was no clawing it back after that.
At about 1350 words, it’s pretty short, so it’s quick to read and easy to digest. I hope you like it.
Here is “Rare Gifts”.
The Christmas holidays are – despite appearances – an impossible time for me to write anything substantial. I have made zero progress on my more substantial projects (other than call into question everything I’ve written so far), and I’ve been unable to find the time to write any more of the short story or novella series that I’ve been working on.
Without the routine of home, there isn’t any time to sit at a keyboard and hammer out anything more sophisticated than a very short story.
But I have managed that, a very short story. Particularly in response to prompts over at Reedsy.
This particular story is a reaction to “write a story about a very skilled pickpocket”. It’s about an immigrant pickpocket in a big city. Unusually for me, there are no fantasy of science fiction elements at all. I did have some in mind, but as the story decanted onto the page, none of them made the transition.
You can read the story on Reedsy.
You can comment on it below, or over at the story page itself on Reedsy, which is at this link: What you might find. By Nick Lavitz.
I like writing in response to prompts because it allows me to generate a short story that’s hermetically sealed away from the longer-term projects I’m working on. Writing straight from my own imagination, without a prompt, results in my cannibalising bits from my stories-in-progress. I currently lack the mental discipline to write a spin-off of an unfinished story, instead I compromise the story itself as my imagination goes off in new directions with an unfinished universe.
I’ve been writing some short stories (and a much longer story) for a while now but they’re not ready. Sorry.
They’re a new direction for me and they’ve taken a lot of time to get off the ground as I frequently bring them to the shredder to start again.
New beginnings are painful.
I was, however, browsing the web recently when I came across Reedsy. There they have a competition page with writing prompts, and one of the prompts for the month bounced off some random thought, which resulted in a quick and cheeky short story. Which I submitted.
They’ve put it on their website, so I invite you to take a look at Rewind, and let me know what you think, either over there or over here.
Rewind – by Nick Lavitz
The Ortholan’s crew barely survive their crash on an icy moon, and they owe their narrow escape to the least popular member of their crew, the Navigator, whom they call Blue. But they will need him again if they are to survive, because he is the only person aboard capable of flying the ship back to civilization. Unfortunately, without access to their medication, Navigators become somewhat unstable, and the crew’s only hope of salvation may well be the one who kills them all.
Available on Amazon by clicking here .
Not All Writing Is Created Equal
Today I finally took the advice “do something that scares you”, and published Eternal Child, a novella I’ve been sitting on for quite a long time.
I’m a little confused as to where Eternal Child should sit in the traditional fiction categories. It’s a supernatural horror story with very little actual horror, but a ton of subtle foreboding.
If you’d like to read it, you can find an excerpt below and a full version of the book over on Amazon (click on the image to the right).
I would really like to know what you think. Let me know in the comments below, or by email.
Perhaps, after the Singularity, AI will have other priorities than taking over the world.
Flash Fiction: 1000 words
I wrote back in January that I felt Ursula Le Guin’s passing was a great loss for both the art of writing and for SFF in particular. I was driven at the time by my memories of reading A Wizard of Earthsea, one of the first fantasy books I ever held in my hands. You know, back when paper was a thing.
Since I wrote that, I’ve thought back occasionally to the story itself, only to realise that I don’t remember it all that well.
Passing through an airport last week I came across a collection of the first four Earthsea books and it felt a little too much like divine providence to ignore. I ploughed through A Wizard of Earthsea and The Tombs of Atuan over the next couple of flights, and rediscovered the work.
When I first picked up the book by Ernest Cline, I wasn’t sure what I was getting into. It looked like a slightly nostalgic young adult yarn spun around an overwrought nostalgia for the 80s.
Once I got into it, I was very happily surprised. It wasn’t nostalgia, it was obsession tempered by affection. It used its subject matter as a metaphor for a time when things were perhaps less overwrought, and a little more genuine. All this in the least genuine setting of all – virtual reality. Read More