A very brief update; the story is almost done.

Guten tag, Buenos días, Konnichiwa, and Nǐ hǎo.

I’m going to keep things short today, because I’m racing against the clock to finish my new short story, so I can have it edited and ready in time for Halloween—and hopefully at least a little bit before.  I’ve been roaring along on it, writing a good two thousand words a day (and yesterday I wrote 3000, possibly because my subconscious mind knew I’d need to get some extra work in to make up for this blog post, but more likely just because I’m getting near the end, and it’s getting exciting).

I expect to finish the story within the next few days.  Then begins the task of editing, which I’m going to have to do at breakneck speed to be able to put it up in time.  The good thing about doing this on the blog, though—as opposed to releasing it as part of a book—is that, even if it’s not quite as perfect as I would have wanted it to be when I do post it, I can always fix it more later.

Which reminds me of “Prometheus and Chiron.”  I haven’t yet finished the editing of the audio of that story—really, I haven’t even begun the process.  I’ve been too focused on this new one; the lamentable intrusion of having to make a living is another obstacle, as well.  But I will get there, and I may be able to finish it in time to release it too before Halloween.  That would be nice, and would also be appropriate, given the nature of the story.

And that, I think, is enough of an update for today.  I apologize if its brevity is disappointing to you.  If its brevity is pleasurable, then “You’re welcome.”  In any case, be well, enjoy reading, have fun in the lead-up to Halloween, and…

TTFN

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Short stories, audio, and video, oh my!

The Headless Horseman

Konnichiwa, minna.

I’ve been making excellent progress on my new short story, tentatively titled “Hole for a Heart.”  It’s now about twenty-four pages long in draft form, and—I think—is well over halfway finished.  This is good, because I want to have it ready for you all to read in time for Halloween, since it is a horror story with a good, Halloweeney feel.  Fortunately, as I’ve said before, I tend to write quickly, if I just commit myself to the task.  I don’t know if that ends up meaning that I write well; it’s impossible for me to be objective about my own writing, so I can only say whether I like the story or not.  Thankfully, I almost always do. Continue reading

An update on short stories, audio, and video

Okay, well…let’s get to today’s business.

As I’ve written here previously, I’m currently taking a short break from working on “Unanimity,” because a horror story—one that had begun with only a vague notion and image—abruptly crystallized in my head, just in time for October, and I decided that I must write that story.  It’s now well underway, roughly twelve pages long, so far.  I’m quite excited about it, and hopefully some of you will be, as well, when it’s finished.  It will be ready well in time for Halloween (barring the unforeseen, which, curiously, rhymes with Halloween).

Don’t worry, I haven’t forgotten my intention to create an audio file of me reading some of my writing, as I did with the article, “The Idolatry of the American Flag.”  The audio on that has its issues—I think I was too close to the mic when I recorded it, so you can hear me smacking my lips and spitting and whatnot.  Who knows, maybe some people enjoy that, and were grateful to hear an audio file that had it.  If you’re such a person:  “You’re welcome.”

For everyone else, however, I am learning, practicing, and experimenting, and I expect steadily, if not swiftly, to improve.  In fact, I’ve already begun to read aloud my short story, “Prometheus and Chiron,” which, despite what you might think (reasonably enough), neither contains nor refers to either of those two mythological figures, and in fact, takes place in the modern world.  I know, I know, it’s a pretentious, misleading title.  That’s what I do.  Nay, that’s who I am.

In any case, the plan remains to use that story as my first fiction audio, but even as I started playing with it, I learned an interesting fact:  when one begins to read one’s works aloud, one encounters bits of prose that, while perfectly acceptable on the printed page, must be wrung off the tongue awkwardly when spoken.  This inspired me to go through the entire story doing some additional editing and rewriting, which is a rewarding experience in its own right.  I suspect that no writer is ever perfectly satisfied with all the details of any tale that he or she has written—or perhaps I’m atypical in this—and one of the great advantages of putting stories up on my blog is that I can still improve them after the fact.  Once they’re out in the wide world in books and other venues, it becomes both much more mortifying and much more laborious to fix them.

Anyway…

To make a long story slightly longer, the point is that I am going to do that recording of “Prometheus and Chiron,” and I will release it here, on this blog, rather than on Iterations of Zero, simply because the latter is not about fiction, whereas this site is.  I’m pretty excited about the process, and I hope you’ll enjoy listening to me read my own fiction.  I may be an egotist, but I don’t think that anyone else could do a better job than I can at that task—at least, not anyone else who wouldn’t cost a lot of money.  I’m pretty sure that Patrick Stewart or Ian McKellen would blow me away, but they both spend most of their time reading that Shakespeare guy, just because he’s from the same country as they.  It’s blatant nationalistic favoritism, and I’m shocked that the Social Justice Police haven’t made any noises about such things.

Again:  anyway…

Once I make that recording and place it on this site, I beseech you to give me feedback, even if it’s just to say, “Hey, I listened to it,” or “Your voice sounds stupid.”  I would just love to hear from you in some form.

Even if you don’t get back to me, though, I intend next (probably) to read “I for one welcome our new computer overlords,” and to upload that audio, though I think I would probably read that story in two parts.  I already know right where I’d split it.  But I may also do a bit of reading of the first draft of the beginning of “Unanimity,” sort of as a teaser, and that might come before the next short story.  We’ll have to see.

I’m also going to make more videos here and there, though those tend to require a bit more guts on my part, because I’m not all that pleased to see my mug on the screen.  They can be fun, however, and there are certain subjects that simply lend themselves to the format.  Rants, in general, are often worthy of the full, holistic experience of the ranter (or is that rantor?).

Speaking of ranting, I think that I’ve probably said enough about the few subjects I wanted to cover today.  The audio is coming, my new short story is going swimmingly, and my video projects loom, while behind them, unabated in its potency, lies “Unanimity.”  And I already know which book I mean to write after that, though I suppose I might change my mind.

Life may not always be good, but at least it’s interesting.

TTFN.

I have just started a new horror short story in honor of October.

scarecrow

I’m writing this post as a brief note of apology, mainly to myself, since I doubt that it matters much to anyone else.  I am, however, taking a slight break from writing “Unanimity,” and that goes against some general guidelines which I had previously laid out for myself.  I do, however, have good reasons for that departure, and I’m not honestly worried that I’m going to get derailed from the plot of my novel.  “Unanimity” has already survived a long hiatus while I finished the rewriting and editing of “Mark Red” and “The Chasm and the Collision.”  It will weather this much smaller storm without difficulty, mixed metaphors notwithstanding.

The reason for the break is a joyous one:  I’ve been seized with the plot of a new horror short story, and I want to write it and put it out on my blog before the end of his month.

The seed of this story arrived during the bus ride to Ohio to visit my mother for the last time.  I’m not going to say much about what that trigger was, but it was something that I saw near a gas station by an exit off the interstate, well between major cities.  I took a note down of it, thinking that it might be the germ for an eventual story, and finally, last night, the story blossomed.  It’s definitely an October-type tale – good old-fashioned horror – so I felt justified in getting it written as quickly as possible.  I’ve already got 2000 words down of the first draft, but that’s just the start.  (I’ll try to keep it from becoming a very long short story, like “I for one welcome our new computer overlords,” but I’m afraid I can make few promises.  The story is what it is, and must be told.)

I even have a tentative title, which I shall share with you, since it’s by no means any form of commitment; I may change my mind before the story is done.  That title is, “Hole for a Heart.”

Halloween is my favorite holiday – my equivalent of Christmas, one might say – and for me, I’ve gotten my Halloween present early this year.  I hope to share it with all of you soon.

TTFN!

My plans to conquer other media

Okay, a quick little post today, since I’ve used up a good portion of my usual Thursday morning writing time by working on “Unanimity.”  I couldn’t help it.  I’m in a lovely, chilling, horrible moment in the story, and such scenes are hard to escape.  It’s a strange perversion, I suppose, but writing moments where very bad things happen to people who are—if not completely innocent—not deserving of the horrors in store for them can be terrifically fun, especially when the writer can imagine readers being frightened by the scene.  I remember, early in the writing of “The Chasm and the Collision,” when my son read an early draft of the “frightful night” occurrences near the beginning of the book.  He said (more or less), “That was kind of scary, Dad.”

Of course, I felt like rubbing my hands together and giving a Monty Burns-style, whispery exclamation of, “Excellent!”  And I did tell him that I was glad he found it scary, since that was my intention, and he understood.  I owe him a lot for that report!

Anyway, I’m writing “Unanimity” enthusiastically, even as hurricane Irma approaches South Florida, where it’s almost certain to cause me at least temporary inconvenience.  But I’ve been through quite a few hurricanes, and through worse life events than those, so I’m not as panicked as many people in the area seem to be.  Nevertheless, the storm bears caution:  specifically, I had to make sure that I had pens and notebook paper so I could continue writing even when the power goes out, as it almost certainly will.

One has to have one’s priorities straight.

I’ve been going back and forth on my secondary blog, “Iterations of Zero,” and just in the last few days, I think I’ve come up with something I’m going to do instead.

I’m going to do a Vlog.

In other words, I’m going to create videos (easy to do nowadays) about various subject and topic matter that I had intended to move on over to Iterations of Zero.  In fact, I think I’ll probably call the new video channel just “Iterations of Zero,” since I like that title and idea so much (I’m easily pleased).  Though I may just leave it under my name.  We’ll see.

As for why I’m doing this, well, there are no doubt reasons of which I am not aware, but among those of which I am, the main two are:  exposure and time.  It’s simply a fact that more people watch videos (probably orders of magnitude more) than ever go out of their way to read blogs, or even other print media.  This is a lamentable fact, but I think it’s empirically undeniable.  So, getting videos out there in which I talk about everything from black holes to criminal justice, to medical science, to philosophy may get what I think are important thoughts to more people than they might reach otherwise.  And the videos will serve to promote me and my fiction writing as well—indeed, I can be my own primary sponsor, which is kind of a pleasing notion.

With respect to the “time” input to the decision, the term might be misleading.  After all, it may at times take longer to make a video about a certain topic than it will to make a blog post—as I’ve said before, I tend to write very quickly.  But it is a different kind of time.  I tend to write earlier in the day, and I often write while on the train going to work, and so on.  When I’m writing (with the exception of Thursdays, when I write this blog) I want to be writing my fiction.  I have foolishly let decades pass without working on most of my novels, so I have a tremendous backlog of them to get out before I die!

That being said, there seems to be only a certain amount of writing in me on any given day.  That can sometimes be a pretty huge amount—I’m very lucky that way—but it’s finite, and I’ve already noticed how difficult it is for me to dedicate some of that resource to two separate blogs.  Speaking to a camera, on the other hand, like speaking to other people, is a different mode of communication, and seems to draw upon slightly different resources.  I’m not particularly good at making small talk, or interacting at a purely social level, but when I have something to say, about subject matter that I find intriguing or important, I can gab with the best of them.  I tend to write my first drafts rather as if I were talking aloud to someone, so I expect there won’t be too much difficulty, and I foresee that this will be a potentially useful venture.

Anyway, that’s my provisional plan for the moment.  Obviously, once I get it going, I will let you know.  Things might be temporarily delayed by the lovely hurricane approaching South Florida, which may curtail any use of electricity or electronics temporarily, but I’ll be back as soon as I may.

TTFN!

Prometheus and Chiron

PROMETHEUS AND CHIRON

by

Robert Elessar

 

copyright 2016 by Robert Elessar.  All rights reserved.  Any unauthorized reproduction of this work by any means is strictly prohibited.  Sharing the link to this post is perfectly acceptable, by any media you like.

 

Tommy first saw the woman at the station in the evening as he waited to catch the train home.  He had done some drywalling in a friend of a friend’s house that day, and was tired and sore as he waited. Continue reading

Mark Red Chapters Are Now Unpublished

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Okay, after many a threat to do so, I have now officially unpublished the serialized chapters of Mark Red.  I’ve been planning to do so for some time now, of course, in preparation for my eventual release of Mark Red as a full novel, but the editing of that novel has pushed me to stop procrastinating.  I realized, soon after beginning the editing, just how raw and rough the book was, and I thus felt the urgent need to pull it, lest any reader get a poorer-than-necessary impression of my writing skills.

I shouldn’t be too hard on myself about this, of course.  After all, this was the first real writing I had done since Med School, I think, so I was pretty rusty.  Add to that the fact that it was handwritten (initially on scrap paper, then notebook paper) while in prison, and then mailed to my sister, who gamely tried to decipher my handwriting in order to type it in and publish it.  You won’t know how heroic a task that was until you realize that, only after I begin writing long-hand did script begin to be called curse-ive—this because of the endless stream of profanity coming from anyone who tried to read what I had written.

Now, however, I am well along in the editing process, turning the very rough draft into a smoothly flowing bit of prose (I hope).  I still like the story, thankfully, so I’m not deeply disappointed.  But, man, were there some terrible stylistic gaffes and goofs…embarrassing.  I am editing a lot every day on the way to work and in between other things (mostly non-existent, since I have no life), and it shouldn’t take too long for the final novel to come out.  But I am going to have to go over it numerous times to make certain it’s smooth.  It’s a bit like drawing a picture, I suppose.  Your first line on the paper can really suck, but with repeating strokes you refine it into a graceful curve, and then finally you ink and color it, and if you’re lucky and persistent, it comes out pleasing to the eye.

In any case, I’ll let you all know when it’s coming out.  In the meantime, please do check out Son of Man and Welcome to Paradox City, both available on Amazon Kindle.  Read and rate, and if you feel up to it, review.  It’s okay, be honest.  I can take it.

TTFN.