My short story, Speedster, is now available for free on Amazon Kindle until the 25th of August. It is a superhero noir short story about a girl named Allison Nells whose brother is addicted to a dangerous drug that gives him superhuman speed. I wrote it over a year ago and I am still very proud of it. If it seems like your thing, check it out while it’s still free and please consider reviewing. Any feedback at all would be helpful :)
You can download Speedster on Amazon Kindle here.
Hello everyone. Sorry about the long gap in posting, but life has been kind crazy these past few months.
Anyway, you may recall earlier in the year where I talked about the fanfiction I wrote for My Little Pony: Friendship is Magic, The Vinyl Scratch Tapes.
I am pleased to announce that some very talented individuals have made an audio adaptation of my fanfic. So far only the first two chapters are complete, but the quality of them is superb. They even approached me to write some original content for the adaptation, which I was happy to do. I even wrote a short Christmas special for them.
The voice acting in them is superb and far greater than I could have ever imagined. I’m very flattered to have such talented people working on a project adapting something I wrote.
Check them out:
Ever since I posted my short story on Amazon, I’ve been thinking about writing a lot. I realized I don’t really talk about writing very much on this blog, despite how important it is to me. I’ve been more open about it lately, what with my musings on self-publishing and learning a valuable lesson about my writing style from fanfiction (I… swear that’s not a joke, really), but outside of that I haven’t said much. I wanted to change that, so I thought I should talk about a very significant moment in my life: when I realized I wanted to be a writer (and might have a decent shot at being one).
I had always been a daydreamer. I always liked writing silly stories or doodling poorly drawn comics. It was basically how I entertained myself. Whenever I was in an English class and we had to write a story, I always loved it.
In my junior year of high school, I found out we had a Creative Writing class. Since I loved stories, I thought it would be fun to sign up for it. I didn’t really have much ambition to be a writer at the time (thought I always had a lingering hope in the back of my mind). My main motivation to join the class was to just have a good time and probably get an easy A in the class (I was kind of lazy like that during my high school years).
Our first assignment in that class was to write a short story loosely based on an actual event. It seemed simple enough. I wasn’t very worried about it … until our teacher, Mr. Brockwell, mentioned that we had to read our work aloud to the entire class. Not just for this project, but everything we had to write had to be read aloud.
I was quite nervous. I was not a good public speaker back then. I know a lot of people are afraid of public speaking, but I really had a problem with it in school. One on occasion, I almost failed an assignment because I became paralyzed with fear during an oral presentation. Back then, public speaking was probably my third biggest fear, right behind death and snakes.
I realized before I could worry about that, first I had to actually write the story. I figured I could think of a way to weasel out of reading it aloud later.
Even though we were supposed to base it on a true event, I had just planned on making something up wholesale, until I remembered a very tragic thing that had happened around the same time.
A friend of a friend had an alcoholic father who lost his job and sadly killed himself around the time I started the class. Needless to say, it was a very terrible experience for her. Even though I didn’t know her personally, I remember being very affected by the story once I heard it. Having an alcoholic father myself, I guess I could relate to her.Even though my relationship with my dad wasn’t exactly great at the time, I never wanted anything like that to happen to him. I tried to imagine how she must have felt, but I didn’t think I could really grasp it.
I ended up writing a very short first person story loosely based on what had happened. It showed the main character having a tumultuous childhood with an alcoholic father, but still loving him, then ending with the tragedy of the father killing himself. The girl herself felt guilty, because even though she often thought she hated her father and wanted him to die or go away, she never really meant it. I probably ended up basing the story more on my own personal experiences than the actual event itself.
I had a feeling it was a moving story, but I couldn’t really tell. At that stage, it was hard for me to objective about my work. Still, I thought it was very good.
But I still dreaded having to read it to everyone.
When the assignment was due, Mr. Brockwell actually took us all outside and we sat in a circle to read our stories in the sunlight. Mr. Brockwell was cool like that.
After it became obvious to me that I wasn’t going to get out of reading it aloud, I actually volunteered as one of the first to read. Might as well just get it over with, I thought.
Mr. Brockwell saw I was really nervous. While I was trying to get the courage to read it, he smiled and said,
“You know, my college professor used to say a beer or two before having to read aloud helped.”
I took a deep breath, held the story in front of my face, and just read it from the page so I wouldn’t have to look anyone in the eye when I read it. Luckily it was a fairly short story that didn’t take a long time to read. If I had written something really long, I probably would have had cardiac arrest.
When I finished, everyone was silent. Realizing the story was first person, I hastily added, “I um… should probably mention that didn’t actually happen to me.”
This wasn’t entirely true, since part of the story was from my own experience, but I wasn’t comfortable letting them know that.
“Oh, good. I almost felt horrible about making that beer joke,” Mr. Brockwell said. “Good job!”
Mr. Brockwell and everyone else gave very polite claps and everyone agreed it was pretty moving. I noticed one of the girls in our class looked like she was about to cry. I remember this very clearly since… I never knew I could write something that could affect someone so much.
We listened to everyone else read their stories. Some were good, some … well, not so good. Everyone else in the class thought mine was the best of the lot.
One of my friends in the class walked up to me after everyone was done.
“That was a really good story,” he said. “I didn’t know if I was gonna cry or what.” The guy in question wasn’t the type to admit something moved him, so I took it to heart.
“Thank you,” I said.
That was the first time I had read what I had written to anyone. It was also the first time I ever felt confident in my ability to write.
I did very well in the class. Near the end of the year, I remember Mr. Brockwell telling me, “You’ve got the gift.” Probably the best thing any teacher had ever told me. Up until that time, writing was something I only did for school, but after that I started writing fanfiction. I started trying to write short stories and began taking it seriously. I wanted to write stories that moved everyone, just like I managed to do with the kids in class.
I wish I still had a copy of that story I wrote. I only wrote one copy on loose-leaf paper and lost track of it when I moved to a new house. It’s a shame, but I still remember it. It was really the start of everything, when I decided I wanted to be a writer. Even now, I consider that day to be the defining moment of my life.
So, there’s my story. Sorry if it got kinda sappy. To anyone reading, was there any defining moment in your life when you found out who you wanted to be? If so, please share it. I’d love to hear about it.
So, I’ve actually been trying to get into self-publishing some short stories (and maybe eventually some novels) as ebooks for a while now, after after some hiccups, I finally have my first ebook release. It’s a 3400 word short story blending science-fiction, superhero fiction, and noir, available for Amazon Kindle.
“Allison Nells knew her brother Jake was on speedster, a highly-addictive drug that gives the user inhuman speed. She knew it was only a matter of time before Superhuman Narcotics hauled her in for questioning.
She just didn’t expect them to accuse him of murder.
Now, faced with the knowledge that Jake may be a killer as well as a drug user, Allison must figure out what to do. But if Jake is as dangerous as the agents believe, her life may be the next one in peril…”
I put a lot of work into this short story. I want to do a lot more ebook releases, but I want to see how well this does first to give me an idea of whether I should go that route. If this seems like something you’d enjoy, please check it out. If you enjoy it, please help me spread the word and consider posting a review.
Also, I just want to note the cover was done by Carl Graves, who I highly recommend to anyone who wants professionally done cover art.
Speedster is available for $0.99 as an Amazon Kindle ebook.
I’m going to set a record for weird blog post titles.
You may remember last month I admitted to writing fanfiction based on the enormously popular reboot of My Little Pony and questioned whether it was worth doing or if I was less of a writer for doing so. Well, it’s been a month since I started and I do have to say that, despite what I may have originally thought, I think this experience has helped me grow as a writer. And yes, I’m being serious. It’s actually a pretty good story that I wanted to take the time to share. Allow me to explain.
My first crack at My Little Pony fanfiction was a crack crossover between the show and the Cthulhu Mythos. I wrote three chapters and eventually sent it to popular fansite Equestria Daily. For those of you who don’t know, Equestria Daily is pretty much the main gathering place for teenagers and adults that surprisingly enjoy the show. They also showcase fanfiction, but have pre-readers who approve everything first to make sure everything is high quality. As a result of this, most of the fanfics on the site are actually worth reading, like Progress (a very well-done comedic work). I wrote three chapters over the course of like a week (much faster than I usually write) and submitted it, certain it would get accepted instantly.
I was surprised, but it was a well-needed boot to my ego. I know I’m a fairly decent writer, but I hadn’t even considered the possibility of having to edit what I had written before I submitted. I am actually a relatively through editor for other stuff I’ve written, but I didn’t edit this fanfic at all at first. The reason for this? Well … to be honest, it was a fanfic and I was lazy. The response I got was really helpful, telling me what I needed to work on and fix before it could be posted. Oddly enough, it was actually the most helpful critique I’ve ever gotten for anything I’ve written period. I wasn’t discouraged at all. I was thankful that it actually helped my craft, not to mention teaching me that any writer should always take what they do seriously. Thinking I could just write anything and people would like it anyway was rather arrogant and untrue.
I spent the next several days thoroughly editing it and submitted again, and this time it was accepted. I was very excited, having learned a lot about writing in such a short span of time (from writing fanfiction no less). Since Equestria Daily was a popular site and I thought my story was fairly good, I was certain it would become crazy popular.
Don’t get me wrong, it was rated very well and the people who read it did like it, but it wasn’t exactly an earth-shattering response. But still, it was fun to write … up until about chapter four when I got writers block on it. The story was relatively serious, and the only ideas for it I could think of involved throwing a DJ pony (based on a non-speaking background character from the show) in there to give exposition over the radio, but that had nothing to do with the rest of the story.
Still, I liked that idea and I ended up writing a different story that was just about that DJ pony hosting a radio show. Since I’m relatively good with dialogue, but not so great with prose, I thought it might be fun to write a story that was only dialogue, so each chapter of this story was done in the style of a transcript of the “actual” broadcast of the radio show. Also, since I had never written a straight comedy before, I thought it might be fun to give that a shot too (part of the reason I liked the idea so much). At the last minute, I got the idea to pair her with another pony who would act as the straight man.
What ended up coming from this was a story I called The Vinyl Scratch Tapes. Like I said, I had never done a straight comedy before, but I was surprised to find I had a lot of fun with it and I managed to turn out a pretty good product. After last time, I wasn’t expecting a huge response, but I had a hunch this might turn out a little more popular than before, especially since I enjoyed writing this even more than anything I had written in the past year (including the first draft of an original novel and several short stories). So I sent it to Equestria Daily and, unlike last time, it was accepted right away.
Turns out my expectations were a little low, since this story got ridiculously popular. I mean, it wasn’t the most popular fanfic on the site or anything, but it did get a huge response. People loved the comedy in it, so I kept writing more (throwing in a bit of dramedy in there as well). Each chapter I wrote of it seemed more well received than the previous one. Not too shabby for someone who didn’t think they could do comedy well. While my first story sort of drifted into obscurity, this one gets responses all the time. Heck, it even has some good fan art to boot.
I’m in the middle of writing the last chapter of this story arc (though I think I’ll end up doing more in the future when I have time). I ended up learning a lot from this, namely that sometimes its important to do what feels fun rather than worry about what other people will think of it. I learned I’m way better at writing funny things than I thought and I enjoy it much more. Before writing these stories, I was trying to write horror short stories which died on the page. I was actually pretty depressed about it, but working on these stories picked my spirits up a bit. It did show me I am a good writer at a time when I wasn’t certain of that. I have a few ideas for original works that I want to work on, stories that will take advantage of the skills I learned from these fanfics.
Overall, I think it turned out pretty good and was very worth my time. And all this came about from watching a kid’s show. Sometimes it’s the little things that end up snowballing into moments that define us.
I’m sure some of the people reading this might find it funny I enjoy this show and even sillier that I wrote fanfiction of it, but I found it a very heartwarming experience. I found a lot of people who enjoyed what I wrote and showed me my strengths and weaknesses. I felt more rewarding writing this than I have anything else in recent memory. I just thought it was a neat enough story to share with you all.
So I’ve been spending the past week trying to write a serious werewolf story, but I haven’t gotten very far with it. In fact, it’s been going pretty stagnant thus far. I’ve felt very pressured that I haven’t been able to make the story really “pop” yet. Felt almost like I’ve had writer’s block or writer’s fatigue or something.
So then, after watching a few episodes of that new My Little Pony show on Youtube (don’t judge me, it is a well written show. A well written manly show. For manly people. Manly), on a whim, I end up writing fanfiction again. Crossover fanfiction between that show and Cthulhu (I … don’t know why either).
Read at your own risk (even though I do like this story, I just want to say that most of the stuff I write is a great deal more serious than this).
The weird thing is, in one day of working on this, I’ve already written more than after an entire week of working on that werewolf story. And it felt way more fun to write.
I don’t really know what, if anything, that signifies. Maybe I’m just getting kind of burned out on horror and it was kind of refreshing to write something less serious. Maybe I had more fun with it because I felt less pressure to refine it since it was, well, a fanfic and not something I intended to market. I honestly don’t know. I really like the story. I’m having fun writing it. But part of me feels like less of a writer because I’m going back to writing fanfic instead of working on original work.
I’m not entirely sure, but I think I’ll write this fanfic a little bit. I have spent the last five months working very hard on the first draft of a novel, which I finally finished. Maybe this will be a nice pallet clenser or something.
Or maybe I’m just justifying myself so I can write more about ponies. I’m honestly not sure…