Thursday, May 22, 2014

May stories update #3

May 16: Prompt: Shame. I started out writing a shame story but that didn't last much past the concept stage. Then it became a 700 word story about Ambrose reading a spell and trying to figure out how to not become bacon in the future.

May 17 & 18: Another weekend. Forgive me as I wander off a bit here.

I've been in novel mode straight up until May 1. And beyond. In the midst of everything else going on, I'm editing novel chapters as critiques come in (and I'm behind. Surprise, surprise.). I'm still rather in that mode. I'm supposed to be in short story mode, and even though I pants my way through both lengths, shorts take a very different focus. No matter which angle I headed off in with this story, the idea kept getting too big and too many characters wanted in on the action.

I'd started out with a nugget of an idea. I liked this idea. Then I re-read the theme for the anthology I was asked to attempt to try for and, gah, my idea didn't exactly fit. It was off in sorta kinda territory. But liked it. But it didn't fit. So I changed it up. And nope. So I went a step back to where I'd been originally heading. Nope. Okay fine. I went to back to the story I wanted to tell. And things clicked. Now I just need to find time to finish it. Will it fit? More importantly, will I even get it done by the 20th? We'll see.

Knowing I was percolating Colonization 2.0 and changes to Sahmara's novel, I spent the majority of the weekend working on the new house: digging footings and leveling the entire basement floor on my hand and knees. It was quite a workout, but yay for progress. Geothermal and concrete are going on this week and next week: the framing begins! Exciting stuff.

Exhausted by the end of each day, I indulged in some book crack: Sherrilyn Kenyon's Dream Warrior. I did enjoy this installment in her world, but the ending was disappointing...because it didn't end. The romance plot was resolved but the other half of the plot was left dangling. While I didn't throw the book (Yes, I have really done that.), turning that last page left me annoyed. However, I do love her world so I'm sure we'll make up soon.

May 19: I know how Colonization 2.0 ends. I just can't get time to write it. So frustrating!

May 20: Oh hey, another day happened with a whole paragraph of writing accomplished. On the brighter side, framing on the house starts next week, and thanks to a massive rush of work, I know my bills will be paid.

May 21: Headdesk.

Current tally: Shorts that worked and might become something good: 4
Shorts that I set aside for later: 3
Days I didn't get to write: Too many

Thursday, May 15, 2014

May stories update #2

May 7: Umm. Life happened.

May 8: It's 11pm already?  Yawn.

May 9: Prompt: Colonization - 2,100 words (attempting to make up for yesterday) into the 4K story I'm aiming for. Tia wanted a better and exciting life. The colony on Jaboa might be better, but better for whom?

May 10 & 11: Ah the weekend: So full of aspirations... So few things actually accomplished. And none of them writing related. Well, except for reviewing the pile of critiques that came in on my current novel project and realizing how much more work it still needs.

May 12: Back to work on Colonization. After staring the cursor for an hour and forcing out a few lackluster paragraphs, I've come to the conclusion that this story is just not going anywhere. Which is annoying because it started out with promise. Started on a new Colonization story going in a different direction. Got 430 words into that effort so far.

May 13: Hit 2K on Colonization 2.0. Not sure this one is working either, but it's keeping my interest more so than the first attempt. We'll see what happens with it tomorrow.

May 14: Taking a colonization break. Today's prompt (slightly altered): via Nick from X day:  Xerxes and his smoking Xbox and I'm also working in the IWM time travel prompt. Got 900 words in before life took over

May 15: Worked out the end of the Xbox story. Finished at: 2,300

May Current tally: Shorts that worked and might become something good: 3
Shorts that I set aside for later: 3
Days I didn't get to write: 7

Friday, May 9, 2014

A Short Story To Tide You Over: To Exist

For those of you who have made sad faces that I'm not sharing my May stories, I give you one of my old favorites from the dusty back burner file.

To Exist

Overmind’s query interrupted Observer’s study of the humans. “Are they ready for assimilation?”


Another query flowed into Observer’s neural network. “They show no sign of evolution?”

Through the shimmering glow of the field that hid them from view, Observer watched the room full of humans, milling, crying, and talking with one another. In the midst of embraces, patting of shoulders and the shaking of hands, sat a box which contained the body of a human who had ceased to exist. Beside the box stood a young girl and an older woman locked in a tight embrace. Tears flowed down their faces.

“Our original estimations failed to correctly account for their unsystematic rate of evolution. They have not yet advanced to anything resembling our state.”

Overmind said, “Current projections reveal our total degradation is imminent. We must assimilate new members into our system. Our observations of this solar system must continue.”

Observer became aware of Overmind accessing its visual data. Another query formed. “What is their prime directive?”

“To exist.”

Humans flowed to the woman and child, touching, speaking, and sharing tears.

“They exist by consuming various mixtures of oxygen, hydrogen and carbons. Clarify.”

Observer scanned the thousand years worth of data it had gathered since noticing the humans as a possibility for assimilation. “They seek to continue their existence.”

“They exist and then cease to exist. There is no continuing without evolving. They fail their prime objective.”

“They would disagree.”

The humans left the room one by one, until only the woman and child remained. The woman paused to press her lips to those of the man in the box before taking the child’s hand and following the way the others had gone.


“They believe they continue after permanent shut down.”

“Have you gathered evidence of this?” Overmind inquired.

“Negative, yet the humans have held this belief in various forms throughout my entire period of observation.”

“On what do they base this hypothesis?”


The field flickered, a once minor error within the system that now occurred with frequency. Observer extended its manipulator arm to adjust the view.

A small crowd gathered around the woman and child now seated at the edge of a hole in the ground. The box, closed and sealed, sat opposite them. A single man stood at the edge of the hole, speaking to the crowd.

“Unproven hypotheses do not yield the desired result. We do not have the time or resources remaining to search out alternative assistance. When our systems fail, we will be discovered,” said Overmind.

Observer had listened to common human theories of what happened after their existence ceased millions of times. The words altered within the variables of geographic location and time period, but the central thread remained the same: there was something beyond this existence.

Overmind accessed Observer’s files. “All evidence suggests these humans will not take the revelation of our presence peacefully. They will destroy our data. It is imperative that our research on the creation and progression of this solar system remain for any that may come after our shut down. The humans must be terminated.”

The man finished speaking to those that had gathered. The child stood and tossed a white flower into the hole. The woman led her away as the crowd dispersed.

“They could be granted more time. Others may come.”

“Sensors have not indicated other contact since we arrived in this solar system. Waiting is futile. We must begin a full download to archive before further system glitches make it impossible. Terminate the humans.”

A machine lowered the box into the hole. Another covered it with dirt and grass.

Overmind vacated Observer’s network. Data streamed through the system, flowing to Overmind’s archives as the all-encompassing download commenced.

The grass surrounding the rows of stones showed no sign of the boxes hidden beneath. Yet, humans came. They spoke to the stones, the grass, and the sky above. They brought flowers, shed tears, shared words and wore forlorn smiles for those who had ceased to be, as if they communed with those gone before them.

Could they see and hear something sensors missed? Had proof been there all along?

Observer’s network hummed as it considered the implications.

Observer’s manipulator arm hovered over the final keystrokes of the termination sequence. Its neural network formulated new hypotheses: Humans did evolve, but only after they ceased to exist. If Humans evolved though belief, Observer could do the same. It knew the words of belief from each and every culture in existence.

It analyzed the gathered data one last time before Overmind’s download filtered through its files and discarded this new hypothesis as a glitch.  

Without any operational threat, the humans would be more inclined to study what they discovered than destroy it, and given time, the humans would advance to a point where Overmind’s data would be of use to them. If the hypothesis proved correct, Overmind could commune with the humans as they did with their own kind that had evolved. The research would continue.

Observer recited the words he’d heard in churches, in grassy fields, beside blazing infernos, alongside holes and trenches, speeches of men behind pulpits, and whispers of men and women and children uttered in the dark.

There was only one way to prove the hypothesis.

The download began to sift through Observer’s recent files. It shut down all but its upload systems.

No longer having a need for power, Observer funneled its entire backup repository into a surge that shattered Overmind’s system along with its own.

Together, they ceased to exist.

Tuesday, May 6, 2014

May stories update #1

May 2: Prompt - Valley, Lissy & Jarrell - when these three names come together, what happens? Apparently my next attempt at a 500 word story turns into a 1000+ word fable about Jarrell and Lissy doing a challenge to get married in the valley. Will they make it? I don't know. I'm cutting myself off at 1K. I'll make some notes and return to that another day.

May 3 and 4: I'm giving myself a pass on the weekends, but if the story and time to write it pops up, I'm not going to stand in the way.

After working most of Saturday, I had Sunday pegged as a mostly writing day - which is good because I have a lot of edits to catch up on from critiques coming in on my novel. But, alas, running kids around, planting my garden, and house projects took over and I didn't get a damn thing done on the writing front.

May 5: Andrew's prompt: That cat had been a pain in the neck for years but, now, it had literally become a pain in his neck. Annnd... picking the prompt and doing a little brainstorming was as far as life allowed me to get.

May 6: The cat story is complete at 1,070 words. Sorceress Shireen likes cats, and men. Her cats don't share the same affections.

Current tally:
Shorts that worked and might become something good: 2
Shorts that I set aside for later: 1
Days I didn't get to write: 3

Thursday, May 1, 2014

Its May!

...and that means is short story month, thanks to A Story A Day In May. I won't be posting stories here because, assuming they don't totally suck, I'll be attempting to publish some of them. However, I will be updating my progress every few days.

I work best from a prompt so thanks to all of you who dropped by on X day to offer up some great ideas. I'll be digging into those throughout the month. I also get daily prompts from the storyaday website and have grabbed a few from other sources yesterday. (Have I mentioned my procrastination problem?) As long as I can make time to write and my brain doesn't turn to mush, I have plenty of idea fodder to work with.

That alone puts me ahead of last year. To make things even slightly more successful this year, I'm attempting to keep my stories short. To date, 1,500 words is really darn short for me. I'm going to a attempt to keep them more in the 500 to 1,000 range, even if that means just getting the bones written so I can add the meat later.

Day 1: Prompt: Fear I went for a 900 word MG (I don't write MG so this was new for me) about girls in a cemetery. One is dared by the others to steal something.