Friday, July 31, 2009

Friday Flash Fiction: "At the End of the Day"

Not my best story, but here it is. I haven't missed a week yet and I'm not going to start now.

Read "At the End of the Day" at 512 Words or Fewer


Thursday, July 30, 2009

Quote of the Moment

"Breaking a story is a bit like role-playing, but I can't get the writers to use the damn dice."
- John Rogers

Also, a heads-up: "my" episode of Leverage airs next Wednesday night on TNT. You should be able to see my face in the background in at least one scene.


Friday, July 24, 2009

Friday Flash Fiction: "Fly Like an Eagle"

I considered titling this week's story simply "The Time Machine," but I wanted something a little more interesting. (Side note: I highly recommend The Time Ships, Stephen Baxter's authorized sequel to the H.G. Wells classic.)

So why, of all the titles I could have chosen, did I go with this one? Here's a hint:

Read "Fly Like an Eagle" at 512 Words or Fewer


Friday, July 17, 2009

Friday Flash Fiction: "Universal Language"

Of all my 512s so far, I believe this one to be the most Scalzi-esque; it would not be unfair to make comparisons between "Universal Language" and his "How I Proposed to My Wife: An Alien Sex Story." I wouldn't say I was directly inspired by that piece, but I definitely had its comedic-yet-sentimental tone in mind when working on this week's story. Like they say, steal from the best.

Read "Universal Language" at 512 Words or Fewer


Sunday, July 12, 2009

Who is Doctor Gneiss?

Yes, that is pronounced "nice," and yes, it is highly ironic.

If you've ever enjoyed comic books, superhero movies, or Dr. Horrible's Sing-Along Blog, you might like my new short story, "Restart:"

My name is Eddie. I am ten years old. I forget things sometimes because I am sick. That is why I am in the hospital now and also why I am keeping this journal. So even if I forget things they will still be recorded here...

Read "Restart" in Strangetastic, Issue 1: Beginnings


Friday, July 10, 2009

Wednesday, July 08, 2009

Pay the Writer

After reading Monday's blog post, my friend Loren emailed me to ask: "How soon do you realistically think it will be before you make money from writing?"

I wrote up this response:

I've been submitting short stories to magazines; if and when one of those sells, I might get a couple of hundred dollars (depending on the publication). The short fiction is mostly for practice, and to accumulate professional credits.

After I finish this month's rewrites/additions to the novel, I'll start querying it; if it sells, a typical first-novel advance is about $5,000. (Last year at VP, I talked to one of the staff who had signed a 3-book deal for a total advance of $60,000. That's insanely great for a new novelist. Her agent had managed to get two publishers into a bidding war.)

More on first novel advances:

I also have a couple of screenplays in the trunk. I have no idea what the going rate for those is, but my impression is it's highly variable depending on a variety of factors (no pun intended). I'd have to do quite a bit of work to get either of them into fighting shape.

Realistically, I probably won't ever make a living from writing alone; most fiction writers don't. I expect to get back into web consulting in a few years--I've already started attending the various open-source events here in Portland--or doing other types of freelance work.

Those are the facts. I'm luckier than most to be able to take a few years off to chase this dream--I've already won the lottery once, figuratively speaking. I have no illusions about my chances of becoming a bestselling millionaire novelist (to wit: vanishingly slim), but I believe I have a good chance at getting published, sooner or later. I'm working on the "sooner" part.


Monday, July 06, 2009

Money for Nothing

D recently received a mysterious $250 direct deposit from the VA into her bank account. Upon further investigation, she determined that it was an "economic recovery payment" to eligible Veterans, implemented as part of ARRA. It's apparently also tax-free, and separate from the disability settlement she received a few years ago (long story). So, hooray for free money!

We're living off our savings right now, and it feels weird to fill out surveys and list our annual income as "less than $15,000," but it's technically true. Our only actual income is from bank interest and investments; the bulk of that comes from the index fund, which is still paying about $1,000 in dividends every quarter.

Including the bank interest, our total income this year will be somewhere in the neighborhood of $10,000. (Which, incidentally, is how much Ed Helms' character in The Hangover had in savings--and he was supposed to be the most stable of the four protagonists. D was quite appalled. But that's another story.)

I also made about $300 back in May for three days' work as an extra on Leverage. It was literally a minimum wage gig, and I didn't do it for the money; I had fun being on set and rubbing elbows (sometimes literally) with the cast, crew, and director.

So far, no actual money made from writing, but I'm hoping that'll change soon.


Friday, July 03, 2009

Friday Flash Fiction: "Art Attack 2"

My mother once said to me: "Art is more important than food." I'm pretty sure she was joking.

Read "Art Attack 2" at 512 Words or Fewer