What’s the next level for writing?

rock-shadow

photo courtesy http://writingexercises.co.uk/random-image-generator.php

 

Writers and readers, would you like your books to be written at the next level? That is, written not by a human, but by an artificial intelligence?

Yes?

Good, because it’s coming. It’s here.

No?

Too bad, because soon robots will take writer’s jobs (everybody’s jobs).

In the meantime, here’s a website that lets you ease into a world without human fiction writers:

WritingExercises.co.uk

This site has a list of links (on the left side) which lets you generate “random” story elements, such as story titles, character descriptions, and dialogue.

I played around a bit, and here’s what I got:

Title: Poisoned Forest

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Town Name: Tombminster

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Character Name #1: Elaine Barnes (mixed and matched first / last names with Janice Wilkinson)

Character Description: A selfish 60 year-old woman

Traits: shy, unkind, materialistic

Job Title: Lighthouse Keeper

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Character Name #2: Janice Wilkinson (mixed and matched first / last names with Elaine Barnes)

Character Description: A helpful 33 year-old woman

Traits:  idealistic, decisive, compassionate

Job Title: Surveyor

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Quickie Plot:

The story begins in a church crypt
Someone mistakenly believes s/he has killed someone
It’s a story about learning from mistakes
Your character offers to lend a helping hand

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Random Dialogue (hacked this a bit):

“You came back!”

“Please don’t argue. You have to leave right now, you aren’t safe here.”

“This isn’t just about you. It’s about what’s best for all of us.”

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List of 3 Random Words:

education ghost coffin

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List of 8 Random Words (more=merrier):

queen
dominate
rotten
hamburger
confound
mad
pancake
shun

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More intriguing random stuff (I forget which links I clicked):

The old house, with its wildly overgrown garden, was silent, secretive

An imaginative 66 year-old woman, who comes from a poor background, lives in a terraced house and tends to be a little clumsy.

A generous 33 year-old woman, who comes from a poor background, lives in a caravan and tends to drink too much.

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So if you’re looking for story prompts, check it out. I’m going to put the above in a back burner folder and use it as a springboard for a future story, robots be damned. But in the meantime, feel free to jump on any of the random elements I found for your own stories.

Writer and multi-leveled castle-dweller Tom Merriman provided the theme for this post; thanks, Tom!

For a comprehensive list of partial and full stories, click here.

That Book You’re Writing? It’s Already Been Written.

This seems to be impervious to fire, so I'll choose to ignore it

You read that right. The book / article / essay / blog post (including this one)/ email / love letter / hate mail / poem / note to self / grocery list / laundry list / gibberish you’re writing HAS ALREADY BEEN WRITTEN.*

Not only that, but every book / article / essay / blog post / email / love letter / hate mail / poem / note to self / grocery list / laundry list / gibberish you’ve written in the past, or will write in the future, HAS ALREADY BEEN WRITTEN (or written again, for past writings).*

Not only that, but EVERY POSSIBLE VERSION (typos, rearrangements, and such) of every book / article / essay / blog post / email / love letter / hate mail / poem / note to self / grocery list / laundry list / gibberish HAS ALREADY BEEN WRITTEN.*

And it’s all cataloged in an evil library.

https://libraryofbabel.info/

An explanation from the evil archive: “At present it contains all possible pages of 3200 characters, about 104677 books. …any text you find in any location of the library will be in the same place in perpetuity. We do not simply generate and store books as they are requested – in fact, the storage demands would make that impossible. Every possible permutation of letters is accessible at this very moment in one of the library’s books, only awaiting its discovery.”

Go ahead. Search any text you make up on the spot for yourself. IT WILL ALREADY BE IN THERE.

https://libraryofbabel.info/search.html

By the way, happy NaNo-ing to those participating (in writing something that’s already been written).

Here’s what inspired this soul-punting abomination: https://archive.org/stream/TheLibraryOfBabel/babel#page/n0/mode/2up

So your (and my) Great American Novel is already floating around in this infernal library in every possible version in 3200-character chunks. I’m gonna stop driving this home because it’s making me queasy.

*In English, in 3200-character chunks, using the 26 letters of the alphabet, the blank (space), the comma, and the period.

In other news, here’s the highlight of my container gardening this year:

…and every possible description of my pomato is in the damn thing.

Who knows when I will write another blog post which HAS ALREADY BEEN WRITTEN. ARGH.

Thanks for stopping by.

Snowpocalypse 2015… and Beyond!

Snowpocalypse2015backdeck Is it spring yet? Not here, but that doesn’t matter. Snowpocalypse 2015 has (hopefully) ended, and those of us who survived can celebrate by stocking up on iron (more about that further down). Or diving into reading and writing projects. I’m doing both. Care to join me? Here is a list of writing and reading activities I’ve either done in years past, or plan to do this year:

  1. Read or write poetry. Join a progressive poetry group.
  2. Reread a favorite book from your childhood.
  3. If you have children or are a caretaker of children, read to them.
  4. Buy a book for a child.
  5. Watch a movie based on a favorite book.
  6. Get a writing or reading buddy.
  7. Create a book cover for your book-in-progress.
  8. Map out a publication timeline for your WIP.
  9. Watch youtube videos of your favorite authors reading excerpts of their work and giving lectures or talks. I highly recommend Stephen King and Harlan Ellison.
  10. Read chapters of some of your favorite books out loud, and make notes of how you would improve the writing.
  11. Get involved with a local library event during National Library Week, April 12 – 18, 2015 (USA).
  12. Support your local bookstore by shopping on Independent Bookstore Day, May 2, 2015 (USA).
  13. Donate books to a book charity. If you don’t have any books you want to donate, buy some new or used and donate those.
  14. Attend a local author reading.
  15. Take a free online class. It can be a creative writing class, a literature class, or any class.
  16. Make a list of your strengths and weaknesses as a writer. Commit to strengthening the strengths, and improving the weaknesses.
  17. Start or join a writing or reading group.
  18. Commit to writing a set number of words per week, or per month.
  19. Submit a story to a call for submissions for an anthology.
  20. Apply for a residency retreat.
  21. Write a book review and post it on your blog. If you don’t have a blog, make one.
  22. Attend a writers’ conference.
  23. Read an edited and polished excerpt of your writing out loud at an open mic night.
  24. Enter your writing into a contest.
  25. Join an association, like the Independent Book Publishers Association.
  26. Write or read a novel outside your usual genres. If you do that already, then check out my genre list.
  27. Go on a solitary writer’s retreat of your own making.
  28. Read banned or challenged books during Banned Book Week, September 27 – October 3 2015. Tell people.
  29. Go on a literary pilgrimage to visit a place where a favorite author lived or wrote about.
  30. Write the draft of a novel during NaNoWriMo.
  31. Donate books to a juvenile detention center, homeless shelter, prison, half-way house, rehab center, or place of worship. Call to make arrangements first.
  32. Get a Fisher Space Pen and keep it next to some paper on your nightstand!

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And so I’m back! And at a less frenetic pace than last year. At the end of January I had to go to the ER for severe anemia… Then spent about a week at home just managing to crawl in and out of bed… After countless blood tests, and a month of recovery, my iron count is almost up to human level. Next month I have a hospital visit for even more tests. Maybe they’ll find another part of my internal parasitic twin (I’m assuming I have one. Where else is all my iron going? They already found my twin’s kidneys, so I assume I didn’t fully ingest her in the womb. Live and learn.)

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In the meantime, I (rather, my hubby) dug myself out of Snowpocalypse: Snowpocalypse2015frontyard

(This is my front yard. The snow is still over my head.)

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And I found (actually, I won) this: CMStewartBWP

Horror author J. Thorn gives away scary things at his Dark Realms website.

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And HDWP Books was hacked, but our fearless leader Charles Barouch saved the day! Check it out, I have a short story in every Theme-Thology anthology so far…

Theme-Thologies

Authors

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Speaking of my stories, my over-arching project this year is working on the novel I wrote during the last NaNoWriMo: MEATFUL THINGS. I feel like I have a solid draft, and I’ve been steadily improving it as my own health improves. I have some beta readers lined up, but could always use more. So if you’d like to provide feedback on a complete supernatural horror novel of approximately 52,000 words, shoot me an email (click on the “Who is CMStewart?” link), or leave a comment below. I’ll be sending the draft, along with a few book critique questions, to my beta readers at the end of March. Thanks!

La-De-Da-Na-No-Wri-Mo

o-PIC1-570

Jumpin’ on the NaNo Train again, but this time, I’m gettin’ all literary. Thumbin’ my nose at my usual genre plots. So what the heck is a “literary novel”?

Wiki says,

“To be considered literary, a work usually must be ‘critically acclaimed’ and ‘serious.’ In practice, works of literary fiction often are ‘complex, literate, multilayered novels that wrestle with universal dilemmas.’ “

Further burrowing into the wiki rabbit hole, I find it has something to do with art, beauty, and the way something tastes. Hmm…

Wanna hop on the NaNo Train? 50,000 words of literary, of genre, or of anything, in 30 days. Better hurry, though. This NaNo Train is ready to roll!

CHUGACHUGACHUGACHUGA

*****

UPDATE:

I won with 50187 words of literary novel!

2013-Winner-Vertical-Banner

HUZZAH!

Signs of the INVASION

_CMS0076Drat! This one got me. I was completely caught off-guard.

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_CMS0083Rampant animal-kissing. One of the prophesied signs of the INVASION. It’s in my cult’s holy book (visible only to me).

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_CMS0088Mass casualties. An obvious sign of the INVASION.

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_CMS0084What? Mough? What mough? Whatmough? An INVASION of WHATMOUGH!

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_CMS0094The word “vegan” at a state fair. Yea! A hippie INVASION!

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_CMS0095A solar power INVASION overthrows The Establishment! Gonna stick it to The Man!

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_CMS0079The horns. We’re doomed.

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_CMS0078Poor kid got a flesh-eating bacterial infection through a scape on his hand, probably.

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_CMS0087An INVASION of bovine butts.

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_CMS0096Sunflowers infected with sunspot slime.

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_CMS0099Tomatoes infected with Joe DeWitt disease. They still look yummy, though.

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_CMS0098ALIEN PODS!

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_CMS0101This semi-infected bunch of greens was selling for 20 bucks. I spared you the photo of the fully-infected greens.

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_CMS0104This is what GM pathogens do to a grape.

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_CMS0110So I opted for a fried pickle instead, and spotted 2 furries and a green-faced zombie.

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_CMS0086Charles Caleb Colton rose from the dead. He’s now a zombie. We had a nice chat about the anthology I’m in before I had to whack him with a shovel.

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_CMS0093The Gideons were raptured in a rare reverse-INVASION.

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_CMS0092An INVASION of PEZ!

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_CMS0109Implements of threshing.

*_CMS0107And impalement.

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_CMS0106Yes, we are experiencing an INVASION. But you may be able to save yourself…

In time for Halloween, Amazon has an anthology of 15 stories documenting the INVASION, including a story by yours truly!

Check it out: INVASION

INVASION-Graphic2

Bonus Points for the Virgins- a Flash Fiction Challenge

source - APF

Now there’s a campy writing prompt!

500 words packed into 1 story about “Bonus points for the virgins.”

Link it in the comments by July 4. I will post my own story by then.

Want more jet fuel? Check out the inspiration for this writing prompt – the baudy, bodacious blog of author Diane Henders!

Bonus-bonus points if you make it a creepy story including a “truly horrifying” expression and a description of “self-flagellation”  (credit again goes to Diane Henders, whom I should point out, is the polar opposite of “truly horrifying,” in case you were wondering. I’ll leave the “self-flagellation” speculation up to you).

Here’s mine, overflowing 500 words:

Bonus Points for the Virgins

The tricorder whirs, then beeps, and Richard giggles at the readout. “Patience pays,” he says. “Persistance pays.” He runs his glowing white fingers through his bleach-blonde hair. “But this sun is gonna turn me into an angry red… pomegranate.” He giggles again. “And that would be…” he lowers his voice and winks at Sonny, “bad for business.”

Sonny nods and enters his quotation into her smartphone.

Richard wipes his sleeve across his forehead. “Blazing blue balls. No wonder the Martians burrowed underground.”

Brandy sprays herself with a plant mister and shakes her head. “Are you sure Martians are ready for space travel? They haven’t even mastered surface locomotion.”

“I plant the seed, and the Martians will bloom. Remember – patience and persistence equals paycheck.”

“Speaking paychecks, how will we monetize this?” Brandy says.

“Yeah, Martians don’t speak our language.” Sonny bites her lip. “They don’t even use money, that I can see. No jobs, no incomes. They’re like… little burrowing animals.”

“Come on, this is Virgin 101 stuff!” Richard stands in front of Sonny and Brandy. “Step one – invade. Step two – introduce Earthling ways. Step three – enforce Earthling ways. Step four – let the natives figure out how to keep themselves out of trouble.”

Sonny nods and types into her smartphone.

“Mars is the twin of Earth, and so Martians are the twins of Earthlings. It’s just that Martians haven’t progressed their technology beyond what we would consider Paleolithic.” He runs his thumbs around the inside of his waistband. “Subsequently, their social conventions are still a bit stifling as well. But if we want to sell them on space travel, we’ve got to sell ourselves on their temporary abstinence.” He forces a smile and squares his shoulders. “Speak their language, so to speak.”

“Er, their language?” Sonny raises her finger. “But-”

“I’ve become a born-again virgin, and I expect my staff – er – my employees to follow the same rigid standard. It’s gonna be hard, but we must be patient and persistent. By the way, Brandy and Sonny, your names are now ‘Patience’ and ‘Persistence.’ ”

Persistence nods and enters the info into her smartphone.

“Anybody who does not become a born-again virgin will be shafted. Rather, get the shaft. From me. So to speak. Now, who wants to join me for a quickie? Lunch inside the spaceport. Let’s ditch this radiation.”

“No sex? But I’m a nymph- I, um, have a medical condition.” Patience blushes.

“The virginity compliance will be incorporated into the Virgin Employee Points Plan,” Richard continues. “Each full day of virginity will be awarded five-hundred bonus points. One hundred thousand points earns you one paid month of vacation back on Earth, after which your bonus points will be re-set to zero, of course.” He flashes a dazzling white smile. “Now, where on Mars did I put my self-flaggelator? Time to shizzle my shiznit.” He wanders back to the spaceport, and Patience and Persistence follow. “This virgin gig is alchemizing my pink sapphires into…”

“Blue sapphires?” Persistence offers.

“Yes, I think you’re right! But we’ll verify after the quickie.”

Tourist Stew- a Microfiction Tale

cannibals

“So sleepy,” Mickey said, sinking in the pot. “I thought the tea was supposed to perk me up. I drank two cups…”

“Your knees are pressing against my thigh, and now I’m stuck,” Hillary said. “And why are they removing the backdrop? I wanted the jungle hut in the background, to frame the photo… Mickey?”

*

Thanks to Jezri’s Nightmares for this this microfiction challenge!

Air Guitar Marathon- a Microfiction Tale

Must be at least a hundred of ‘em – all rotten and stinky and thrustin’ their hips, holdin’ their arms out at weird angles. Me, I’m just a musician tryin’ to survive the apocalypse. “Last one air guitaring wins a Stratocaster!” was divine inspiration.

I had no idea zombies loved Stratocasters more than they do brains.

*

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*

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Thanks to Jezri’s Nightmares for this microfiction challenge!

Nell’s Nannies- a Flash Fiction Tale

mirror.co.uk

Be My Baby (part 1 of 2)

“Timothy! Pull your pants up this minute!” Nell says, jumping up and wagging her finger in the air.

“Yes, Miss Nell,” Timmy says, clutching his waistband and pulling up his pants. “I’m sorry, Miss Nell.” His face reddens.

“So is this how you get your jollies? By embarrassing your dates with diapers?”

“Oh no, Miss Nell. I wasn’t trying to embarrass you. I thought you would understand. I thought we had… a connection.” Timmy hugs himself and rocks side-to-side.

Nell furrows her brow and sighs. “You’re serious about this. I can tell. Are you one of those diaper fetishists?”

Timmy sticks out his lip. “Icky. I don’t like icky fetish stuff. That’s for grown-ups.”

“But you are a grown-up. You’re thirty-seven.”

“I’ve had thirty-seven birthdays.” He pulls on the hem of his shirt. “But I still feel like a baby. That’s why I joined BeMyBaby.com. I was hoping to find a nice lady to take care of me. A lady to feed me, clothe me… to treat me like the baby I am. Of course I had planned to make it worthwhile for the lady – I’m not a baby all the time. From nine to five I’m an investment banker at North Valley Bank, and I do very well for myself, financially.” He glances at Nell. “I was hoping to share my wealth with the right… nanny.” Timmy clasps his hands to his chest. “When you answered my ad, I thought my dreams had finally come true.” He slowly lowers himself to his seat.

“You’re an investment banker?”

“For the past fourteen years. Before that I was a financial consultant. I got my degree in accounting at Shasta College here in Redding.”

“Why are you telling me all this?” Nell smiles.

“I’m trying to show you I’m an open book. Of course, there’s no reason my banking colleagues should know about my specials needs, but with you – I want to show you I have nothing to hide. No ulterior motives. I just want to be babied… that’s all.” Timmy blinks up at Nell.

* * *

“It’s time for baby’s bottle! Who wants some ju-ju? Do you-you?” Nell pours apple juice into a baby bottle and holds it above Timmy’s playpen.

Timmy squeals in delight, clapping his hands.

“Can you say ju-ju, Timmy? Ju-ju? Can you say ju-ju?”

Timmy giggles and reaches for the bottle.

“Say ju-ju, and you can have your bottle.”

Timmy screws up his face and blows spit bubbles.

“Ju-ju, Timmy. Say it.”

“Na-ma mphf. Do-do.”

Nell frowns and shakes her head.

“Ma-mamoo-moo. Do-do.”

“Aw, c’mon!” Nells slams the bottle on the dining room table. “This is getting ridiculous. It started with you asking me to call North Bank telling them you’re sick. You haven’t been to the office in a month. Then you asked me to not only feed you and give you your bottles, but bathe you and dress you. You even convinced me to go out and get an over-sized playpen and crib. And I still don’t know how you talked me into changing your di-dees, but this has got to stop! Now say something intelligible!”

“Na-na.” Timmy drools.

Nells gasps, and covering her mouth with her hand. “Did you say na-na?”

“Na-namphfah.”

“Oh, Timmy, you called me nana.” She smiles and stoops to hug him. “Yes, I’m your nanny. I’m sorry I was cross.”

Timmy coos.

“That’s a good baby. Don’t you worry about a thing, little- er, big baby. Nana Nell will take care of everything.”

* * *

“How does this sound – Wanted: ladies who are motherly and gentle, yet firm, and strict, if necessary. If you are a discreet lady who enjoys taking care of the big boys, apply at Nell’s Nannies.”

“I dunno, Nell,” Charlene says. “Do you think people will know what ‘big boys’ means? They might think it’s a legitimate nanny agency.”

“But it is a legitimate agency. I mean it will be, once I get my license.”

Tonya rolls her eyes. “An agency to match mother figures with pervs? Ha! I always knew there was something a little freaky about you, Nell. Do you really think there’s a market for this?”

“I already have a waiting list of adult babies who are looking for specially-trained nannies.” Nell smirks. “These men have all been screened and background-checked. And they all make six figures.”

“Sign me up,” Charlene and Tonya say simultaneously.

Nell pours three glasses of Riesling. “Cheers to the big boys.” The ladies clink glasses.

“By the way,” Charlene says, “where is Timmy? I haven’t heard a peep out of him all evening.”

“He’s in a nursing home.” Nell sighs. “He regressed to the point where he couldn’t do anything for himself. Lucky for me, he gave me power of attorney before he lost the ability to speak and write.”

“So you’re in control of all of Timmy’s finances?” Tonya says.

“How else do you think I was able to start Nell’s Nannies?” She winks and downs the rest of her wine.

* * *

Thanks to Ron Earl of Flash Fiction Friday for this flash fiction prompt!

Hokey in the Pokey- a Microfiction Tale

Maricopa County female inmates are padlocked by the ankle for chain gang duty in Phoenix, Arizona October 21, 2003.

“I’m sorry, Jimmy.”

“Don’t be sorry, dad. All I wanted was to be like you.”

“I didn’t have time for you. I wasn’t a good father.”

“Aw, forget it, dad. We get to spend time together now. We can do the hokey in the pokey. We can turn ourselves around. That’s what it’s all about.”

Thanks to Jezri’s Nightmares for this microfiction challenge!