Where do you like to write? At your home office looking out a big bay window on the sand and surf? Curled up on the couch with a blanket and your laptop, sipping a hot cup of tea? At the library using public computers in near tomblike silence? At a coffee shop with your tablet, a cappafrappalatteccino and your headphones? Continue reading →
A bit of a departure from my regular genre fiction, but here’s hoping someone out there likes it.
A quick shoutout to K.C. Wise of Writing While Black, from whom I borrowed the last two lines. I’m hopeful she won’t be angry with me (or for changing it a bit), but I did really love this line and wanted to use it.
Her Morning Routine
by Rick Cook Jr
Lilavati did not sleep last night. She lay awake, running her morning routine over and over. Wake before the sun rises, wash her face, brush her teeth, wrap her mundum neriyathum about her body, milk the goat, gather vegetables and herbs from the garden, strike the fire for breakfast, walk along the white sands, pray. Her morning routine never changes, and it cannot change this morning.
The rare drought has come to seaside Kerala, and her morning prayer yesterday should have asked for rain. But she does not wish for rain.
There are times when I enter a sort of revision fugue, where I’ve been writing and rewriting the same words, sentences, paragraphs, scenes, chapters, stories to the point that I can’t reliably tell what’s going on anymore. I come out the other side with a net wash. I may have been editing for three hours straight, but when I look at what I’ve been working on I honestly can’t see the work anymore. All I see are letters mashed together in some semblance of order. Continue reading →
Once upon a time, there was a story so short, it was only a single line. That line danced up the straw into my nose, a churning whirlwind of promise. I leaned back, snorting and coughing, holding my nose shut against the tingling urge to sneeze all that powder back out. Everyone around me laughed as I started to sniff. I didn’t feel anything different, except a pleasant numbing sensation. It tasted funny, in the back of my throat. Continue reading →
If you aren’t familiar with Grimdark, just let me warn you: nothing good happens in this story. It’s full of awfulness and I apologize in advance. Also a little NSFW for mild language and sexual content.
How I Felt When I Saved The World
by Rick Cook Jr
Our white clothing blended with the whitewashed walls and décor. Sprays of crimson marred the columns on our way up. Delaana wiped her daggers on the corpses as they fell, and we dashed up the interior stairwell before their bodies even settled. Delaana ran ahead, scouting; already her disguise was painted in gore. I strengthened my barriers against the fear and anger borrowed from the guards, letting it wash through me until I was alone with my own emotions once more. Continue reading →
This one will be pretty short. Probably. Maybe. Just go with me on this.
In a previous post about Maintaining Momentum I spent a lot of time talking about a lot of different things, all of them designed to keep you striding forward confidently and quickly. But one thing I barely mentioned is the concept of Saving Everything, which has nothing whatsoever to do with maintaining momentum, and everything to do with future inspiration.
Doesn’t matter where you are, who you’re doing, why you’re running from the police, when you’ll hit the ground, or what your fortune cookie says. Continue reading →
Imagine a block of ice. You take your chisel and hammer and you go to work, making small nicks and grooves. You know what it looks like, you just have to get there. The first thing you do is knock out the basic shape of the sculpture. We’ll say it’s a banana. You like bananas, right? It’s a damn banana. Continue reading →
They collapsed in a heap on the ferry as it pulled away. Rangold was first to his feet, sneering and jeering at the group of five on the pier, who were shouting and cursing.
“Hah,” Rangold shouted. “This is last time you see us empty-handed!” He turned and dropped his trousers to the group, who all averted their gazes or threw rocks. One bounced off Rangold’s rump and he jumped up, yelping. The surprised expression on Rangold’s broad face almost made Murce laugh. Almost. Continue reading →
Anyone who read my first novel knows I was fond of big words. I went out of my way to use words like “peripatetic” and “eructation” simply because I knew them. It took a while to understand that this was a mistake. I’d artificially raised the bar for people to read and enjoy my novel with absolutely no gain.
When I was younger (and not very much younger) I had this mentality that “I’m writing for people like me” when “people like me” was a flimsy, shifting concept. Also a pretentious asshole.
My misconception was that the ideas would seem bigger and more intelligent if the language I used was bigger and more intelligent. This can be true; my grandmother read part of my first novel and then immediately put it down when she got to some words she didn’t know. The sentence structure was too complex for her. Her perception of the novel was that it was incredibly smart; too smart for her.
I had artificially raised the boundary to exclude people based on just a few words and needlessly complex structures. Continue reading →
Rembrandt’s lost work “The Storm on the Sea of Galilee”.
An Original Sin
Eva slipped in through a rusted, decaying vent on the surface level. It came apart with a simple heel stomp and she glided down the shaft, knocking loose a fan on the way. It clattered and tumbled, coming to rest some hundred meters below.
If anyone was in the bunker, her element of surprise was gone. She continued down, muttering.
Soon she reached the shattered fan blades in a juncture in the vent system and lightly set her feet down. The vent moaned, its fastenings creaking. The last thing she needed was to be thinking about how chubby she must be if the vent collapsed under her weight. She began to crawl. Continue reading →