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Showing posts from November, 2017

Write Michigan Short Story Contest - Part 2 of 2

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A short story will come to life in this post, and a warlord will be born from blood. At least that is my hope.


I was debating between writing about Mithra or Hannibal. I've decided to go with Hannibal because the idea of him being baptized in blood as an initiation ceremony intrigues me. I'm not sure exactly how I want this to go, but it has to be done in a few hours. I think I am going to do something like a thesis statement followed by the concrete representation of it. I know that doesn't sound exciting, but I think it will be. There are so many options, so many choices to make. I could do a build up or start in the scene itself. I could focus on internal thoughts or external actions. I am not going to focus on making so many of these choices explicitly conscious. I am going to go with what feels intriguing. My only real limitation is that it has to be short, which is fine. I may make it very short if that seems to work. Let's see how some of it comes out.
Hanniba…

Write Michigan Short Story Contest - Part 1 of ?

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It would probably be best to look back at previous winners of the contest to inform my decision about what to write, but I'm not going to do that. Today I'm going to pick out my subject, just based on what seems like it will be interesting to explore.


Last month I wrote about the myth of the great idea and came up with a few interesting ideas. Let's take a quick look at those and see if one will work for a story that can only be up to 3,000 words long.
A dragon tamer in Ancient Greece, museum thief that gets the powers of Achilles, genetically mutated humans that have to drink human blood to survive, recovering lost hopes and dreams by journeying to the River Styx in the Underworld, a tree that must be fed blood, the death, or attempted death, of the 1.75 billion most aggressive males on the planet, forming diamonds from the blood of Leprechauns, a pureblood Renassaince craze, feral kids, cults, Mithras, the baptism of Hannibal in blood, and an alternating colliding narrat…

Imitating the Greatest Novel of All Time - Part 3 of ?

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Here we go, paragraph number 6. Puzzling this out, developing this skill, is harder than one might think, and maybe harder than I can do. But, let's give it a go anyway.


Here are the first six paragraphs of "Replay" by Ken Grimwood.
Jeff Winston was on the phone with his wife when he died.
"We need--" she'd said, and he never heard her say just what it was they needed, because something heavy seemed to slam against his chest, crushing the breath out of him. The phone fell from his hand and cracked the glass paperweight on his desk.

Just the week before, she'd said something similar, had said, "Do you know what we need, Jeff?" and there'd been a pause - not infinite, not final, like this mortal pause, but a palpable interim nonetheless. He'd been sitting at the kitchen table, in what Linda liked to call the "breakfast nook," although it wasn't really a separate space at all, just a little formica table with two chairs placed …

The Most Important Question in Philosophy - Part 4 of 4

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Loss is a special kind of pain. The loss of a loved one, and the loss of cognitive functioning. Those are the two most intense kinds of loss that I have experienced, and we all will, or have, experienced them. What is this feeling of loss? What can we do about it?


A loss is revelatory. It reveals something that we valued. Sometimes we were not even aware of what we valued, or at least not aware that we valued it so much, until it was gone. This alone can help point us towards values in the future. Let's take five examples and see what we can learn from them.

When I was 20 my girlfriend ended up pregnant, it was a partial surprise. I hadn't really thought much about having kids up to that point, and I reacted primarily by getting nervous and being conservative. Then, the miscarriage. The miscarriage revealed that I had actually wanted to have a baby, I valued it, and two years later she was pregnant again. The second miscarriage was even harder than the first because I had allo…