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The Spiral

Fiction Fragment Friday

Last week I did not post a Fiction Fragment Friday. It was a very difficult week personally and I just did not have the energy or the time. It is something I have beaten myself up over a bit, but all we can do when we stumble is to acknowledge it and move on trying to be better. I have creative goals and the only way I will achieve them is if I don’t let setbacks destroy the progress I have made.

I’m not particularly happy with this story and I think it lacks any form of subtlety. It is far from one of my best for these, but it speaks very much to my headspace. It would be nice if the things that hold us back and try to beat us down were external physical things to be fought, but that just isn’t always the case. Sometimes our greatest critics live in our own heads.


  I lay there on the couch struggling to get up, but my body had no energy.  The blanket wrapped around me felt like I was surrounded by a warm cloud making the world feel somehow unreal.  My eyelids fought my commands trying to shut and pull me back into sleep.  I thought about all the things that I needed to get done and with each task that crossed my mind it felt like there was a heavier weight on my chest holding me down.  The desire to just give in and stay there forever was almost overwhelming.

  “Why bother getting up?  It’s not like anything you do matters.”  I heard the familiar voice, but this time it didn’t seem to just be in my head.  It echoed throughout the room with whispers coming from every direction.  A warm breath ran across my face and into my ear bringing with it an odor that smelled like something had died and was rotting away. 

  Shadows ran over me and gathered into a solid figure.  It had a dark crimson skin with yellow glowing eyes.  Two horns came from the top of it’s head and a pointed tail was flipping around behind it.  I couldn’t help but compare the creature to demonic imps I had seen in video games and fantasy art.  Opening my mouth to scream I found that I couldn’t make a sound and even worse the pressure on my chest was making it extremely hard to breath.  All the while it continued to whisper all of my failures in my ear flicking it’s tongue against my ear. 

  My body wasn’t moving, but I could feel myself being pulled down like I was sinking into quicksand.  I thought back over my life and found myself focusing on the things I had accomplished.  I felt overwhelmed, but I also could feel my will gathering.  I have always been stubborn and while I might beat myself up I wasn’t about to let someone else do it.  “NO.”  I gasped out.  My right hand shot up and wrapped around the imps throat.  My eyes opened wide and I met it’s surprised gaze.

  “Noooo.”  It hissed at me.  “This is not possible.  You were mine.”

  My left hand joined my right wrapped around it’s throat.  I squeezed as hard as I could pulling it off me and to the side.  I rolled over on top if the imp and looked it in the eyes.  “The things that live in my head are far scarier than you could ever hope to be.”  As it stopped struggling the imp faded evaporated into a red cloud that flowed into me.  I collapsed on the bed, but I felt stronger somehow. 

     I curled back into my blanket and slept more soundly than I had in weeks.  When I woke up I felt truly rested.  Sitting up I looked around for any sign that the demon had been real, but there was nothing.  I couldn’t help but wonder if it had all just been a dream.  Real or not I felt renewed and went about the rest of my day productively.  I found myself staring in the mirror that night ready for bed.  Looking at my face my eyes flashed to a yellow glow before turning back to their usual blue.     

New Year

Fiction Fragment Friday

It is the start of a New Year and I have quite a bit I want to accomplish creatively. For today though I want to look back on 2020. It was not a good year for the world in general and there were some very difficult aspects for me personally. On the other hand creatively it shaped up to be quite a year for accomplishments though many of those came at the end of the year.

  • I launched this website to have a single place to point people for getting updates on my projects and finding my work
  • I launched a weekly Patreon exclusive podcast for Fear the Boot called Fear the Boot: Game Notes that has had 43 episodes released to date.
  • Two beta rules released of the Skies of Glass RPG
  • Helped organize and run Fear the Conline 2 an online Roleplaying game convention
  • Took part in Big Twenty, and ETU streams
  • Completed NaNoWriMo successfully
  • Released 15 Fiction Fragment Friday’s on this feed
  • Had a flash fiction published in an Anthology(You can find the link on my Published Works tab)

2020 was the year I restarted my creative endeavors and I expect much more out of 2021 now that I am back on track with it. Expect submissions, rejections, self-publishing, topic blogging, and much much more in the coming year.

For this weeks Fiction Fragment Friday I have returned to the setting I created for my Thanksgiving post. The first mission to Mars and specifically dealing with being away for the holidays.


  I floated in my cabin thinking over the past year.  Does the measurement of a year even mean anything when you aren’t on a planet?  I frequently asked myself questions like that but found there was no real point to answering them.  Mission control was still on Earth and it measured time.  So was my family and they were counting the days I had been away.  It only made sense for us to do the same even though we were not orbiting the sun.  Thinking about the questions just made me feel further away and the journey down that path led to madness.  I was starting to wonder if some of my crew mates had already started down that road.

  My coms notification beeped on my tablet indicating that a message had arrived from earth.  Floating over I grabbed the tablet from it’s velcro secured charging station on the wall and flipped it on.  It was a video message from my wife Bernice.  I did the math in my head and figured that with the delay a message of this type was probably sent over an hour ago and that didn’t account for the time to relay it through NASA and their content screening.  They say they don’t screen our messages but we all know that is a lie.  They keep quite a bit of what is happening back on Earth from us.  Since we can’t do anything about it that’s probably for the best but it still doesn’t sit right in my mind. 

  I hit the play button and found my wife on the couch with our kids asleep around her.  “Hey hon,  happy new year.  The little ones didn’t quite make it to midnight.  This has been a hard year with you gone, but I wanted to make sure you knew that we are so proud of you and what you are doing out there.  It’s just so hard to believe that we won’t see you this year at all.”  I could see that tears were fighting to come out, but she was staying strong for me.  “Be safe out there and come back home to us.  We need your name in the history books for the right reasons.”  The image cut off. 

  I floated there thinking about the message.  I don’t know if there is a right message to send to a loved one on their way to Mars, but these were getting harder and harder to watch.  It was nice having a reminder of what was waiting at home, but as supportive as she was trying to be each message was just another reminder that I left them back there while I went off to be one of the first humans on Mars.  Instead of energizing me each time I watched on it felt like a knife was being twisted.  I put the tablet back on the charger.  I knew I needed to reply but it could wait for a while. 

  I made my way to the galley and found mission commander Norton and doctor Samuels sipping on champagne in pouches.  Commander Norton smiled at me and I could see by the expression on her face that she was already at very least tipsy.  Doc Samuels was much better at holding his alcohol and didn’t seem phased at all.  I greeted them both, “Celebrating the New Year?”

  “By trying to forget the old one,” commander Norton said as she held up her bag.  There was a sadness in her eyes that I had not seen before.

  “Are you Ok Genevieve?”  It wasn’t often that I used her first name, but I was asking the woman and not the commander.  On a mission like this differences like that seemed to matter more than ever before.  We needed to be more than crew we needed to be friends, family, and a support network.

  She sighed before starting and I could tell it was difficult to share.  “I got an e-mail from my fiance Lisa back on Earth.  The New Year got her thinking about her life and how she didn’t want to keep putting it on hold.  She found someone new.  Didn’t even dump me over over video, just sent me a text message.  Worst part is I can’t even blame her.  Twenty-one months is a long time to wait for someone.” 

  “Yeah it is.” She was voicing the deep dark concern that lived in my head whispering to me at my darked moments. 

  “Bullshit,”  the doc barked out.  “Sacrifice and dedication are just part of what you sign up when you are with us.  They all knew what they were getting into.  If they can’t handle it they are weak and we don’t need them in our lives.” 

  I felt like there was a story in what Doc was saying, but even after all this time I didn’t know him very well.  I didn’t know if he had anyone back home or not and I realized I wasn’t even sure where home was for him other than Earth.  He tossed me a bag of champagne and it floated into my hands.  He lifted his up.  “Enough of this self pity.  It is a new year and this is the year that we are going to make history.  Our names will be remembered forever and that is something to drink to.”

     I nodded and sucked a drink of champagne out of my bag.  I knew that he was right, but it felt like we were all on the edge of some sort of breaking point and I found myself just hoping we made history for the right reasons.

The Friday Before Christmas

Fiction Fragment Friday

Hey everyone this week I have a Christmas themed Fiction Fragment Friday for you. I am also happy to say that the Flash Fiction Athology “Worth a Thousand Words” that I am included in has shipped. When there are links available I will update my published works section on the site. Lots of fun work going on behind the scenes here on the Skies of Glass Roleplaying game, editing Ricochet, and deciding on the next project to tackle. For now enjoy The Friday Before Christmas.


‘Twas the Friday before Christmas, and I was a bit distraught
Not a present was wrapped, some weren’t even bought
The Amazon boxes were stacked in the living room with care
In hopes that the remaining orders soon would be there

I wish the dogs were nestled all snug in their beds
Instead they were playing, biting at each others heads
And Kitty stretching out pretending she is so good
But I saw her peeing everywhere but the litter-box like she should

When out on the porch there came a loud thud
I sprang to the door to find a box covered in mud
The footsteps in snow stopped well before my stairs
I knew the box had been tossed while I sat inside unawares

I looked to my driveway to see who was to blame
The amazon driver looked back without shame
Like lightning he backed out into the street
He flipped me the bird as the gas pedal met his feet

I brought in the box dripping snow on my floor
trying to keep dogs from rushing out my front door
I slipped on the puddle and fell to my back
The dogs licked my face as I screamed ack, ack

I struggled to my feet pushing the dogs away
When across the room I saw the tree begin to sway
I heard a loud meow as the tree hit the ground
Riding it down my cute little kitty was found

I looked at the chaos and let out a sigh
I raised up my arms and screamed to the sky
Could anything more go wrong on this day
I realized that was the worst thing I could say

I opened my box all soaking and wet
Inside an order of wrapping paper my eyes met
I could finally start the hard work ahead
Of covering the gifts in paper or boxes instead

The bathroom medicine cabinet I did shut
After grabbing band-aids for my new papercut
Christmas gift giving should not be this hard
I swear next year everyone will get a gift card

Sleepless Night

Fiction Fragment Friday

No major updates this week. I have started the editing process on my NaNoWriMo Novel Ricochet and returned to working on the Skies of Glass roleplaying game beta rules. Of course I am preparing for Christmas as well.

For this week I have a brand new short work for you. This one strikes a bit closer to reality than I care to admit.


  My arms flail, desperately trying to find anything to break my fall.  There is nothing, so I hit the floor hard.  I am lying on the side of my bed, grateful that I have missed my nightstand on the way down to the floor.  There is no blood this time, only the bruises that I can feel forming.  This is the worst way to wake up, but it is far from the first time I have experienced it. 

  Looking up over the edge of the queen sized bed, I see my Labrador Jack stretched out across the entire bed.  The feet that pushed me hanging over the edge.  The loud crashing sound of my plummet to the floor seems to have woken him because his tail is smacking the bed with a rhythmic thud.  As much as I want to be mad, he is just too adorable to stay upset with.  I reach down, rub his tummy, and give him a kiss on the head. 

     I move to my living room and settle into my recliner.  It is actually fairly comfortable and I can fall asleep easily in it.  As soon as I get comfortable, I hear the telltale sound of paws hitting the floor.  I sigh as forty pounds of dog leap through the air and land on my lap.  He is too big to be a lap dog, especially on a small recliner, but no matter how many times I tell him he just does not believe it.  As he curls up into a ball on my lap, I accept that this will be one of those nights where very little sleep will happen.  I pet my dog and settle into a long night.     

A Choice

Fiction Fragment Friday

First as a quick update I successfully won NaNoWriMo. I wrote a 50,000 word novel in November with a day to spare. That leaves me a lot of editing work, but this novel will be self published in 2021. Future novels I will shop around and try for a publisher, but Richocet will always be self published.

This weeks Fiction Fragment Friday is a Flash Fiction I just wrote. I am trying to do more of these just to improve my writing. I also have purchased Pro Writing Aid Premium and am using it to improve on my editing. So far I am impressed with the tool, but I have only used it a few time including on this story.


 I pulled into the intersection, not knowing that this one act would change my life forever.  The sun was shining, and the temperature was just perfect.  It was the type of morning that makes you regret not having the day off to spend outside.  I didn’t have the day off though, so I was driving in to work like every other weekday.  The intersection was the last one before the work parking lot, and by this point I was on autopilot.  It was just a typical Monday until I glanced over and saw the large pickup truck running a red light taking up my entire driver’s side window.  It was then that time froze.  

 When I say that time froze, I don’t mean that as a metaphor or some sort of cliche about my life flashing before my eyes.  Time literally froze.  Neither the truck nor my car was moving.  I looked out the front windshield and saw that the birds in the sky were just hanging there instead of flying.  A man on the sidewalk was staring at the wreck that was about to happen with wide eyes open.  He had dropped the fountain soda he had been holding, and it was hanging in midair.  I opened my door to get out of the car and the silence was staggering.  I had never experienced a true lack of sound before.  

 A bright blue light coming from the sky blinded me.  As it lowered approaching me, I could make out a man with a flowing blue cape at the center.  He glided down and landed effortlessly on the ground in front of me.  With the glow fading, I could make out a mostly scarlet red costume with a blue belt, boots, and cape.  There was a symbol of some sort on his chest, but I couldn’t figure out what it was trying to represent.  The man was larger than life, and I could feel the energy coming off of him in waves that nearly drove me back.  I said the first thing that came to mind.  “Are you an Angel?”

 The man laughed, but it didn’t sound like a pleasant laugh.  “I am no angel.”  He pointed to the truck.  “I’m the drunk driver behind the wheel of that vehicle.”

 “I don’t understand.” 

 “Your death is something I have never forgiven myself for.  The guilt drove me to be a better person and when I gained powers, it was the action I dedicated my life to redeeming.  Now I’m left with a dilemma I don’t feel I can decide.  I can stop this and save you, but if I do, all the people I have saved since getting my powers will die.  I need you to understand.”

 He touched my head and my mind filled with a lifetime of memories.  I saw the wreck from his eyes and witnessed my death.  Two years in prison filled my mind with moments of horror and moments of education.  He jumped from a bridge trying to kill himself and an alien energy bonded with him, both saving his life and turning him into the man that stood before me. His daughter had drawn the symbol he wore on his chest.  I saw ten years of lives being saved from disasters and violence, with an alien mind providing every face in crystal clarity.  I could feel their gratitude and love.  Complete understanding of the role he would play in the world was more than I could comprehend, but just what I could grasp was enough.  I felt his thoughts and knew that it had all happened because of guilt over my death.

 “Now you understand.  If you step over to the sidewalk you will live, but I will cease to be.  If you get back in the car, you will die.  The choice is yours because it is your life that would be forfeit.”

 Without hesitation, I got in my car and closed the door, pulling on my seatbelt.  My hands came up and gripped the steering wheel tightly, trying to fight off the shaking.  In my mind, I heard his voice one final time.  “I knew I chose correctly.”  A bright blue glow surrounded me as time flowed again.  I felt the impact of the truck and watched as my car wrapped around the front of it.  My windshield shattered, and it filled the inside of my car with glass.  The whole time the blue light surrounded me.  As the car came to a rest, I found myself with a car twisted around me but not a single scratch.  I felt the alien presence in my mind.  “With your willingness to sacrifice yourself, you will be an even greater hero than he was.”  My perception of the world was now filled with more colors, sounds, and smells then I could have ever imagined and I knew that my life would never be the same.    

Updates, Updates, Updates

Fiction Fragment Friday

I’m so happy to report that I am currently at 31,592 words on my Ricochet NaNoWriMo project. It has been an interesting experience just pushing myself to get the story out there. There will be a lot of edits and rewrites to come, but I think this might be a new method of writing for me. Plan, Outline, and then sprint my way to a first very rough draft just to have something to work with. It is exciting times for me.

Another announcement is that a Kickstarter has just gone live for a flash fiction project that I am included in. It is called Worth 1,000 Words and my story in it is based on one of my Skies of Glass: Metropolis characters that I created when I did serial fiction for a while. It works as a purely stand alone story with no setting needed, but adds some depth if you have read that. You can find and support it at https://www.kickstarter.com/projects/brickcommajason/worth-1000-words-a-flash-fiction-anthology

With my announcements out of the way time for Fiction Fragment Friday. I struggled to pick something for this week. I didn’t want to just keep grabbing out of context parts of the Ricochet novel because I don’t want to share spoilers and it really will need some rewriting when it is done. So instead I’ve picked out a small section from the very first time I tried NaNoWriMo. I was in the middle of a datacenter move that year and failed miserably. The backstory here is that an event has occurred overnight that unleashed an EMP like effect killing all electronics in a small rural down.


There was only one grocery store in Silverton Missouri.  The town was far too small to attract a chain of any kind and most people didn’t mind driving the 20 miles to the next town over to shop.  Well, that isn’t entirely true, but there really wasn’t anything they could do about it so they at least accepted it.  The one store they did have was really nothing more than a convenience if you ran out of something at the last minute.  In fact, if it wasn’t for beer, cigarettes and lottery tickets it would have gone out of business years ago.  Even that couldn’t keep it open much longer.  In the entire store’s history, it had never had over five customers in it at any given time.  The middle-aged clerk certainly wasn’t ready for a line stretching down the street waiting for her to open.

“Sorry I’m late everyone, my car wouldn’t start this morning.  Just give me a few minutes to get set up and then I’ll unlock the doors.”  Jan tried to hide the fear in her voice.  She had never dealt with a crowd of this size and just kept wondering why they were all here.  The fact that the power was out in the store just made her even more nervous.  “Great, not only do I have a line from here to New York, but I have to check each one out by hand without the register.  I knew when my car didn’t start that I should have just stayed home this morning.”

Jan unlocked the door, and a flood of people came rushing in.  She was knocked back into a pyramid of soda cases and hit her shoulder on the way down.  “This morning just keeps getting better and better.”  The swarm of people continued to enter the store until there was barely enough room to turn around.  People were bumping into each other and the tensions just seemed to be growing.

“Everyone please just calm down!  I don’t know what is going on here, but this is still my store and I won’t have this kind of behavior in it.”  Jan rubbed her sore shoulder.  “We have seen our share of power outages around here before and you’ve never acted like this.”

One of the customers came over to help Jan up.  “You don’t understand.  All those times we were able to drive into Augustus and get supplies.  None of our cars are working this time.  Well, I have seen a few old, rusted trucks and Luke’s 69 Charger go by, but other than them nothing is on the road.  I don’t even know how that’s possible.” 

A young girl came over with her cell phone in her hand.  “Even weirder than that, everyone I’ve talked to has a dead cell phone.  Not like it isn’t picking up a signal, but like the batteries are dead.  It’s really weird and everyone is all freaked out.”  Suddenly a loud crash came from the bottled water isle.  “No way, Principal Anderson just decked Mr. Brown.”

Jan’s face had a look of fear as she watched what was unfolding in front of her.  “The police office is two blocks down; somebody get the sheriff now!”  She screamed as loudly as she could, but no one seemed to be listening.  Even if she would have been willing to leave her store the front door was blocked and the crowd was between her and the back door.  The screaming and shoving seemed to be intensifying by the second.  Jan turned to the man and the teen girl that had come over to help her.  “Look you two seem to be the only sane people around here right now.  If we don’t do something quickly to calm this crowd down that fight is going to turn into a riot and people are going to get hurt.”

The man who had helped Jan rushed behind the counter and grabbed the fire extinguisher from the wall.  Before Jan realized what was happening, he had unleashed a burst of it above the heads of the unruly crowd.  The deafening sound and falling white cloud shocked the crowd into attention.  “Look at yourselves.   We have been without power for less than a day and you are already going crazy.  Principal Anderson, how would you treat your students if they were behaving like this?  How would all of you treat your kids?  I know there are some strange things happening here, but this is unacceptable.  Look we don’t even know how widespread this is.  Now I don’t know about anyone else, but I’m going to head over to City Hall and try to come up with a plan to find out just what is going on and how far it reaches.” 

The crowd parted as he walked towards the doors.  He paused only long enough to hand Jan back her fire extinguisher and then he was on his way.   Jan watched in shock as half the crowd followed the stranger out the door and down the street.  She certainly didn’t envy the mayor, but at least he had the police force in the same building.  The remaining crowd rushed in to fill the vacuum created by those that left.  Jan realized that the crowd was far more than she could handle by herself.  She turned to the teenage girl still standing besides her.  “So what is your name?”

“Samantha”

“Hi Samantha, I’m Jan Williams.  How would you like a part time job?”

Fountain Drink

Fiction Fragment Friday

Hey everyone. Today will be day 13 of NaNoWriMo and I am currently at approximately 20,000 words. I have no doubt I will hit my word count today and continue to be on track to complete the challenge. I have been very happy with the story as it has developed and I can’t wait to get rewriting and editing. I’m sure some of these snippets I share for Fiction Fragment Friday will be shared again in an edited form months down the line. I wanted to share a scene today that is a bit more action oriented.


               I sat perched on the corner of a building looking down a convenience store.  I really wanted a fountain drink but this costume didn’t have pockets for money.  I was just about to give up on the idea when I saw a man step out of the alley and pull on a ski mask.  He was heading right for the front door of the store.  I smiled under my mask.  “Time to get to work.”

               The man stepped into the store and pulled his gun out of his pocket.  He aimed it right at the clerk.  “Empty the register now and if you reach for anything else I’ll blow your brains out.”

               Leaping from the roof my mind was racing trying to come up with something witty to say to announce myself.  I slipped in the door trying to be as quiet as possible.  I wanted to and make a memorable entrance.  It didn’t matter if there were only two people to witness it I needed the practice if I was going to be a big time hero.  What I didn’t know was that the door had one of those chimes on it so the moment it opened the robber spun around and leveled his gun on me.  I leapt on instinct and just barely missed being shot as the bullet shattered the glass front door.  I did a twisting somersault and landed behind the gunman facing his back.  As he turned I grabbed his gun arm with my left hand to keep it facing away and then punched him in the face with my right fist.  He flew through the air and smashed into a spinning rack of potato chips destroying it.  His gun clattered on the floor next to me.

               It was hard to make out his words when he spoke,  “You bastard.  I think you broke my nose.”  He went to get up, but I did a spinning kick and hit him in the stomach.  Grabbing the chip rack I bent it around him as a restraint. 

               I looked back at the clerk who was wide eyed.  “Uhm thanks, but did you have to break the door and rack?  Do you know how much that will cost?”

               “Oh come on insurance has to cover that and the door is totally his fault.”

               “Yeah but I bet they will raise the premiums.  Still he could have shot me so I guess I do owe you.  Any way I can say thanks?”

               “Oh yeah, a 32oz Dr. Pepper would be the perfect thank you.”

               “Oh, uhm sure go ahead.  You do know that’s just something people say to be polite.  They don’t actually expect you to take them up on it.”

        I grabbed a cup and started filling it with the crushed ice.  I moved it to the Dr. Pepper spout.  “Hey you offered.  Don’t go offering if you don’t mean it.”  I stuck the straw in and pulled the cup up to take a drink.  The straw poked into my mask instead of going in my mouth.  “Aw damn.  Ok, I think you got this from here,  I gotta bounce.”

               “You are just going to leave me here with him until the police get here?”

               “What can I say,  I’m thirsty.”  I stepped through the broken front door without opening it and leapt up to the roof.  I found my perch on the corner, lifted my mask so I could drink, and kept a watch over the store until the police got there.  As they were loading him into the car my straw started making the annoying slurping sound of an empty cup.  “Ahhh.  A drink well earned.”  I tossed the cup off the roof at a trashcan and was kind of surprised when it actually went in on the first try.  “Oh yeah three point shot.”  I jumped around making cheering sounds.   

               As I started home I found myself singing.  The theme song from the Gummi Bears, or at least it’s chorus, had somehow gotten into my head so I made a theme song for myself out of it.   

“Ricochet
Bouncing here and there and everywhere
Super hero beyond compare
He is the Ricochet”

Ricochet Beginnings

Fiction Fragment Friday

I am hard at work at NaNoWriMo and doing well so far. I am over 8,000 words in and have hit the goals needed so far. I hope to get some extra writing in over the weekend so I have some slack in wordcount. I tell you all this to setup this weeks Fiction Fragment Friday. I’m going to share with you the first thousand or so words of my project.


I can usually tell by the second joke if an audience is going to respond to my set or not.  There is just an energy in the room that you can feel.  Sure it is always possible that I can turn the night around but when I feel that lack of energy it starts to get into my head.  The voice that sounds like a cross between my own and my parents’ tells me that I’m not really a comedian.  That I should have gone to college and learned something more practical.  This mental spiral is like an anchor dragging me under while I fight to get my head above water and build some sort of momentum.  It is a sinking feeling knowing that the next forty-five minutes of standing in the bright spotlight are going to be painful, but I have no choice.  I have to keep going because I am a professional and these people have paid to see my act.  Some nights they enjoy the act and other nights they wonder why they paid to see me.  This was one of those second kind of nights. 

Most people think that bombing means silence, but that is not the case.  There are multiple ways a bad night can go.  First if the audience just isn’t feeling the show you will still get some sympathy laughs.  That sympathy is more for them than for you.  It is awkward to sit in silence so letting out a forced laugh or chuckle helps to break it up.  The second kind of failure is when you have a heckler who is loud and just will not shut up.  The worst part is sometimes they are actually funny and that is just like salt being poured in the wound.  That night was a third kind of failure.  When you step on a land-mine you didn’t realize was there and the audience turns on you.  A single heckler is bad but a crowd of boos and groans is worse. 

Really people are just too judgmental.  So I told a joke about Mayor Allen being an idiot.  It wasn’t my fault I didn’t know that he had been killed by a super-villain earlier that day shielding a little girl.  Did they expect me to watch the news or something?  No I slept until around one and played video games until my girlfriend called me to make sure I wasn’t late for this gig like last time.  That joke would have killed on any other night.  In hindsight telling the audience that after they told me about the murder was probably not the best reaction I could have had.  It’s a good thing I get paid per set and not by the laugh because once they hate you as a person you are not going to get a laugh.  It is a good thing I know I’m funny or a night like this could really hurt a guys ego. 

At the back of the room I saw the emcee lift her phone up and wave the lit screen at me.  This was my cue to start wrapping things up so the main act could take the stage.  I glanced down at my watch and noticed that she was signaling me ten minutes early and made a mental note to buy her a thank you shot.  Jessie had been a good friend since high-school and she was the reason I had gotten my foot in the door at the Reignsborough Laugh Shack.  She even introduced me to my girlfriend Courtney who if I was honest was way out of my league.  Of course in high school Jessie was Ethan so a lot had changed in the time we had known each other.  Still buds have your back and she was trying to cut my pain short and I was very grateful. 

I got off stage and headed to the bar where she was waiting with a beer.  “Ouch that was painful to watch.”

“You are a life saver as always.”  I chugged back the beer.

“Seriously though man you had to start off with the mayor is distracted by shiny objects bit?  Today?  What the hell did you think would happen?”

“Welllll, first of all I didn’t know.  Secondly..  I guess there is no secondly.  I just didn’t know.  I have got the worst luck ever.”

She stood there shaking her head at me.  I knew the look she was giving me.  It was disappointment mixed with pity.  “It’s not luck it is you living oblivious to the world around you.  Most comedians watch the news and try to be relevant you know.  Also most comedians don’t show up with a big salsa stain on their shirt.”

I looked down and sure enough she was right.  There by my collar line was a big red stain.  I groaned and slumped onto the stool. 

“Carl when are you going to get your life together?  You have such potential if you just…”

I cut her off and could not keep the frustration out of my voice.  “Great now you sound just like Courtney.”

“Well she is my best friend,” she said ignoring my frustration.

“Wait I thought I was your best friend.”

“Are you kidding me?  After that set if anyone asks I don’t even know you.”  She chuckled and I realized she was giving me an out again.

I put my hand over my heart, gasped, and fell to the floor.  “Ouch a mortal wound.”

Between the laughter she choked out, “Now that was the funniest thing you have done all night.”

Laughter filled the club hitting me like a hammer to my self esteem.  “Well I think that is my cue to get out of here while the crowd is distracted so they don’t wait for me in the parking lot.”  I pulled myself up and gave Jessie a goodbye hug.  “Thanks again Jess, I really do appreciate everything you do for me.”

“Get out of here funny man before I hit you.  You know I don’t do well with flattery.”

NaNoWriMo Day 2

I got a late start to writing today and when I actually sat down to do it I found myself staring at the blank screen and not being able to think of anything. I wrote and deleted the first two sentences for the day at least four times. I kept thinking about doing something else and coming back to it, but I knew that if I did I would not come back to it. Writing needs to be something I do regularly and if I’m working on a project with a deadline I need to do so whether I am feeling it or not.

So I sat there staring at the screen and made a decision. I was going to just start and that is what I did. I wrote two horrible sentences and then I kept going and started to get in the groove. I went back and deleted those sentences once I was and replaced them with something I am happier with. I just had to get over that hurdle and start writing something.

I am happy to say that I surpassed the word goal now for the second day in a row. I am currently at 3853 words which puts me 500 words above the goal for day 2. I have in my scrivener for the project been creating character profile sections for each character as they are introduced, but I do need to fill those profiles out still.

NaNoWriMo Day 1

I started my National Novel Writing Month project today and I am happy to report that as of writing this I am over 2,000 words in which exceeds the daily goal they set. I know that I won’t reach the goal every day so the more days I can go over the goal the better.

For a project this year I am writing a novel about my Knights of Reignsborough character Ricochet. Specifically I am doing his origin story and I outlined the novel using the “Save the Cat” method. I wanted to talk a bit about that because I am not usually an outliner. I had three projects I was debating on doing. Each of them are novels that I want to write, but I couldn’t make up my mind. I found by working through the outline it made me think about the story as a whole and not just my concepts for the stories.

For one of them I realized that my science was bad and a lot had changed since I first thought up the concept. The world I created just didn’t work and I needed to spend a lot more time working out how the technology should function, how the political dynamics should work, and basically world build before I could truly tell the story. I had started that novel once before and got 10,000 words into it before I realized I had lost my way. Outlining it helped flesh out the story and while it gave me a path I am not completely happy with that path yet and the flaws are now glaring.

I found that my outline for the Richocet novel was very detailed and realized that I had put more thought into it than the other two concepts. I knew this character already and I had no problem outlining the book. I’m not completely happy with the outline, but I don’t need to be. I can change things as I go. It is just a framework to keep me from getting stuck like I so frequently do.

My third concept is the first book in a series. I have a real desire to write this series but as I look at my work I don’t think I am ready to take that on yet. I want to improve my writing more, research more, and generally take more time. It is not a good project to write in a month if I want it to be hard Sci-Fi. I also have doubts if the series will be sellable. It is about a generation ship and each book would focus on a different generation. I don’t know that new characters for each book is something that would sell or not.

With my project decided I started writing today. I was struck with the desire to go back and edit or to pad things to fit some artificial idea of what a chapter size should be. I had to keep reminding myself that editing and formating comes later. The goal of NaNoWriMo is to just write it and to achieve the goal I need to turn off my inner editor for now. That doesn’t mean I can’t make minor fixes or maybe add a new paragraph later in the month, but if I want to complete it I can’t get into the editing loop.

I really feel like this is my year to complete NaNoWriMo. Please wish me luck.

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