January 8, 2013

Flash fiction – Snowball’s Chance

Filed under: fictionchunk,wordsmithery — lexifab @ 12:34 am

Over the holiday break I had hoped to set aside a lot of time for writing but it turns out that that’s not as easy as I thought it would be when the kids needs all-day amusement. Instead of powering through a massive chunk of the novel draft, I frittered away at a few flabby, meandering, overwritten scenes. It’s not quite nothing, but it’s not where I’d hoped to be either.

Just as waistlines have softened and widened during the Season of Gorging, so too have the writing muscles lost some of their tension. So despite this being the middle of the worst Australian summer heatwave in years – not the worst I can remember by any stretch, but still far from negligible – it’s time to knuckle down and tone up. Exercise the body, exercise the…author-gland.

(Don’t ask me. Dammit, Jim – I’m a writer, not a physician)

In times of crisis like this, where else would I turn but to Chuck Wendig’s Friday Flash Fiction prompt? In this week’s instalment, Der Wendigster demands that his acolytes roll the bones to randomly generate three story elements from [/maths] a thousand possible combinations.

Mine are: Conspiracy fiction / On the surface of a comet / A blizzard. Enjoy this, whatever it is… (more…)

May 25, 2012

Short story – Team Evaluation (Happy 500th post!)

Filed under: administraviata,fictionchunk,wordsmithery — lexifab @ 12:50 am

For the hilariously meaningless milestone of the 500th Lexifabricographer entry since its rebirth as a WordPress site in 2006, I was going to post a short story told entirely in Twitter(-like) captions of up to 140 characters. Luckily for the sanity of anyone suffciently hard-up for entertainment that they would read such a thing, I’m still working on a second draft of that one.

Rather than renege on my promise, I wrote another story, which I just finished writing. I hope you like it.

(With apologies to Linbot, who inspired certain elements of the story)

Update: Some minor typos edited (thanks again to Linbot! And Clam, again!)


April 25, 2012

Flash Fiction – Moonlight Serenade

Filed under: fictionchunk — lexifab @ 10:10 pm

The site is playing funny buggers. I’ve already tried to post this entry once and it black-holed out on me. Wodin knows what it’ll do this time.

Since technical dysfunctionality has already eaten one post, I’m not going to risk writing anything lengthy. So instead here is a short piece I wrote last week when I was procrastinating on doing something – I can’t even remember what that was. Would that work avoidance was always so productive…

My damn cough is still hanging around. I thought I’d knocked it on the head but now I believe it may have been more tenacious than I gave it credit for.

Let’s see if some sleep will deal with that.


February 14, 2012

A terrible ingenious idea

Filed under: fictionchunk,Uncategorized,wordsmithery — lexifab @ 11:30 pm

Last night I was chatting on Twitter with Kaaron Warren – whom I might actually meet in person tomorrow night when I go to my first Canberra Spec Fic Guild meeting (writer’s group). We were discussion flash fiction and how the primary appeal of a short-short-short story of 100-150 words is that it’s pretty easy to finish. Unlike, say, a flabby, meandering, nonsensical novel.

“I can write 150 words,” boasts I with naive confidence.

“Do a thousand of them,” she jokes, “and join them all with ‘and then’.”

Bam. New literary subgenre invented. Or ghetto. Either’s a good description for a fat novel-length collection of loosely related or more likely unconnected micro-vignettes.

Yes, it was a joke (I actually laughed, as the young people would contract it, out loud). But I also haven’t stopped thinking about it. It’s a terrible idea. The possibilities are endless. It’s a terrible idea because the possibilities are endless. Reading it would be like listening to They Might Be Giants’ ‘Fingertips‘ stretched out to Wagnerian proportions. It would be aggravating, and inconsequential, and completely unsellable and…

I kind of want to do it.

Thankfully I have my dedication to my current novel – frustrating though it is – to shield me from impulses this deranged. I have so little time to do any of the stuff I want to do now that to even contemplate a project of stupendous dumbness is…only slightly less appealing than it might otherwise be.

Clam – there’s got to be something to this, right? This is a stupid plan whose day is about to dawn, is it not?

Right? Right? Don’t leave me hanging.

January 10, 2012

Flash Fiction – Sunset Strip

Filed under: fictionchunk — lexifab @ 10:09 pm

While I’m still trying to figure out my next move on the novel – which I think will have to be something along the lines of “mock up a new outline that gets me to the end of Draft Zero and start again from there” – I am trying to keep up momentum by making sure I write something every day. So I’ve dipped once more into the writing-prompt well of the weekly Wendig flash fiction challenge.

This week’s really was a challenge – 500 words with a title based on the first song that came up on random shuffle on my iPod. I played it straight, no cheating. The song was “Sunset Strip” by Pink Floyd’s Roger Waters (from the 1987 solo concept album Radio Kaos). It is not a favourite – I have no idea what it’s about – but the name duly sparked an idea. It was a prick trying to cut the first draft back to 500 words though.


January 5, 2012

Flash Fiction – The Rutherford Expedition

Filed under: fictionchunk,wordsmithery — lexifab @ 9:55 pm

In the spirit of cheerfully avoiding working on my novel, I have committed another act of delirious short fiction. Once again I’m taking a prompt from Chuck Wendig, whose flash fiction this week is the Sub-Genre Mashup. Participants select two from the list of six sub-genres (Dystopian Sci-Fi; Cozy Mysteries; Slasher/Serial Killer; Lost World; Spy Fiction; Bodice Ripper) and blend them in a 1000-word story.

It should be pretty easy to spot which ones I went with. It’s such a fun list I’m almost tempted to do another one (there is something seriously enticing about the dystopian bodice ripper, an impulse I don’t care to examine too closely).

No, I’ve procrastinated enough. Time to get some other work done. Please enjoy ‘The Rutherford Expedition’.


November 22, 2011

Flash Fiction – Russet Powder

Filed under: fictionchunk,wordsmithery — lexifab @ 3:35 pm

I’m going through the agonising mid-novel crisis phase of writing at the moment. I have all the classic symptoms – shiftlessness, frustration, disenchantment. Uncle Doubt has rolled in on scratchy barbed-wire wheels, carrying a bootload of awkward questions: Where is this going? Who are these people? Why would anyone care what happened to that guy? What the hell is going on? Why don’t you care that your plot makes no goddamn sense? WHY DO YOU HATE ART!?

(Uncle Doubt is a creepy bastard. But he’s family. What can you do?)

Anyway, while I get through that, one nonsensical scene-to-be-removed-in-editing at a time, I decided to distract myself for a couple of minutes with something else. Happily, Chuck “Him again?” Wendig has come up with another one of his 100-word flash fiction challenges: Frog Powder Seagull Tower Scissors. As usual, the idea is to write a short-short (I think hereabouts we call the 100-word-exactly form a ‘drabble’, do we not?) using one of those words for inspiration.

So here we go.

Russet Powder

The fine rusty powder coated every surface inside the abandoned Beamer. Detective Inspector Graumann couldn’t make head nor tail of it, nor of the sharpened oak shaft protruding loose from the centre of the black velvet driver’s side seat cover.

A Forensics trainee passed a twine sightline from the splintered wooden head of the arrow through the windscreen entry hole. When the clumsy labrat cut a finger on the glass, Graumann sighed at his contaminated crime scene.

The powder sizzled and coalesced around the spilling droplets. Graumann clutched for his mother’s crucifix as the powder regathered into hissing human shape.

September 4, 2011

Flash Fiction Challenge – Revenge

Filed under: fictionchunk,wordsmithery — lexifab @ 1:55 am

Over at the bubbling, writhing word-pit known as terribleminds.com, Chuck Wendig does weekly fiction writing challenges, for anyone who feels like playing. This week, the subject is revenge, with a 100-word limit. Even I can remain focused and committed for a span of 100 words…and here they are (I cheated a bit and didn’t count the title).

His Chance will Come Again

“He’s breaking his conditioning!” Sister Cheryl’s beatific monotone cracked with panic. “Jesus fuck, does anyone remember his trigger word?”

Brother Zachariah – well, Constable Zach Barnes again, I guess – shook his head clear for the first time in months and snarled with comprehension. “You’re going to pay for this, Padre.”

I drew the .38 from the doubled fold in my sash. In their musclebound haste for the door, Brothers Fergus and Weasel knocked the piece from my hand. Cheryl screamed.

As meaty cop hands closed around my throat, I uttered my benediction. “This is the worst fucking cult ever.”

July 29, 2011

Wendig flash fiction challenge – “The Ctesian Ass”

Filed under: fictionchunk,wordsmithery — lexifab @ 4:45 pm

While I continue my relentless and ill-thought-out campaign promoting the works of Chuck Wendig, I figured I would join in his weekly flash fiction writing challenge this week. The subject: unicorns. I wrote three-quarters of this short story last Friday night, and then had a hell-week of colds, sleepless nights and kids with colds and sleepless nights. It’s taken all week to finish the damn thing. That’s my feeble justification for the clumsy ending…  Still, it amused me so I will probably go back and tighten it up in the next week or so. Enjoy!

Edit: Story has been renamed after Emma sensibly came up with a better suggestion than my uninspired placeholder…


November 4, 2010

Say it with Menace – Crappy first draft

Filed under: fictionchunk,wordsmithery — lexifab @ 12:06 am

A couple of weeks ago I stayed up way too late on a Friday night and watched the recent BBC remake of John Wyndham’s classic apocalypse novel the Day of the Triffids. If you don’t know it, basically everyone in the world goes blind and there are these mobile plants with a venomous sting going around eating people but the real horror is all the crappy things that the people do to one another. (It probably seemed more original in the 50’s).

It’s one of my favourite science fiction stories, so I was keen to see this latest version. It was, bluntly, a bit of a disappointment, promising much and wimping out, cleaving faithfully to some parts of the original work but veering away from others, and featuring killer plants too deeply rooted in misapplied CGI to convince. As I was watching, I was tweeting derisive commentary with a couple of mates and one said something that inspired a story.

Below the cut you will not find that story. I started writing that story but it wasn’t working. I really wanted to write something with triffids in it, so I started another story instead. What follows is the second story.

No, not really. What follows is what I typed over the past couple of weeks in search of the actual story. It’s a first draft. I think there’s a good story in it somewhere, but there are problems with calling this a story. The narrator lacks motivation, the structure is all wrong,the tense is all over the place, the tone is inconsistent and probably not suited to the story, the dialogue is weak and most of it is exposition and etc. It trails off at the end because I realised as I wrote it that I had started in the wrong place.

It kind of goes against the habit of a lifetime (it takes a long time to build habits this bad) to rewrite and edit – if there is one thing in life that drives me utterly batshit, it’s redoing work – but this story clearly needs it. Moreover I clearly need the practice. So I tender it here, in rough form, because I promised Emma and Craig that I would, but my plan is to rewrite from the ground up and present the story in what I think is its “real” shape. When that draft is done, I’ll post it here as well. Quite likely that won’t be the last version either, but we’ll see how close I get on draft two.

Feel free to comment or criticise (I know about the typo on page one though). I’m doing this as an exercise in building up editing muscles that were never all that strong and are now atrophied to the point of uselessness. I’m kind of interested to see how different the second draft will be (early betting is on “completely, except for the odd line here or there”). Oh, and the reason that I am putting it up here at all is that I have no intention of attempting to sell this story, even the final version. Even if there were a buyer out there, I wouldn’t feel right selling something with someone else’s creations in it without their (now unobtainable) consent. So this is just for me and – if you like – you.

So anyway, this should give some insight into why I never finish anything, and hopefully will be of some use to me later on as a reminder that when I lose momentum and start thinking about the next shiny thing, I should really persevere and work through the pain of rework.

Oh, and it’s not at all scary or NSFW. Which is probably another thing that’s wrong with it.


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