Lessons Learned — Wanna get published? Lift up your voice!

Seems like every other jerk with a computer wants to be J.D. freaking Salinger. I mean, a bad attitude isn’t a replacement for voice. You feel me?

Hold on! If I wrote a post like the above paragraph, I’d lose you, right? A writer must fit voice to the circumstances. Still—those sentences carry important meaning.

Voice is a big deal. When literary agents or editors provide wisdom, it’s pure gold, and I constantly read their appeals for voice. You want to get published?—Write with excellent voice.

Amping up attitude in a Salingeresque way can spoof a well-developed voice, but let’s face it, it’s often just attitude, which is easy, and can reduce the effects of a piece. It might read well for some, but it’s often little more than a caricature. Let Salinger be Salinger, and slip in attitude only when it’s natural to the character or story.

Voice is difficult. It’s one of the hardest and most rewarding things to develop as a writer, and I was painfully aware of it throughout my flash project.

So here’s part six of “things other than story ideas that drive my story writing.”

Part 6: Voice

Several years ago, a well-established professional critiqued one of my works, his comments audibly sputtering through the page: “Don’t these idiots know anything about narrative voice?”

Gulp.

Well. No. I mean, yes. Er… maybe.

I knew well enough that voice was extremely important, and I was already self-conscious about it. Now, though, the quest became paramount, and I galumphed off to find it like Don Quixote chasing Monty Python for the Holy Grail.

Most writing books, until recently, said very little about voice, other than mumbling something about word choice (yes, they mumbled) and exhorting the reader how important it was. To this day, the best advice came to me from one of Josip Novakovich’s fiction writing books, I don’t remember which.

Josip Novakovich suggested that aspiring writers learn voice by cutting their prose to the bone until their own voice came through. After polishing through to a personal voice, an author could build upon it to create others. I happened to read that around the time my brother Jake started an editing blog, which took excerpts from novice writers and applied an arsenal of tricks to cut as many words as possible.

Taking Novakovich’s advice to heart and picking up the methods at my brother’s website resulted in tighter and tighter writing, and before long the pieces I wrote… just… felt… right. The prose read easier, sounded clearer, and a certain character started to emerge from it. More than any other, this experience bolstered my confidence. I could write with the professionals.

I whole-heartedly recommend this approach to discovering your voice, but I would add a corollary: Polish it to the bone—then let it breathe just a little bit.

The voice in the rough drafts I posted will obviously improve with polish. However, there were times that it dominated the energy behind the story.

Slippy the Wibble is a bizarre-looking alien who came to earth with the diplomatic mission to figure out what the hell to do about the human race. You can find his stories by searching my “Flash Links in Order” page for “Wibble” and “Slippy.” Voice comes into play from two sides. Victor, whom Slippy chose to be his guide, is a simple man who narrates the stories in first-person with a folksy nonchalance. Slippy speaks intelligently with a terse, no-nonsense tone, and occasionally freaks out.

Something about that dynamic drove these stories. It allowed me to go any direction the voices carried me, ridiculous or serious. There’s something almost chaotic and exhilarating when voice propels a writer through a story, like you’re on a carnival ride and don’t quite know what to expect next.

I know—what a dork. But this brings up an aspect of voice. First-person singular combines the narrator’s voice with the main character’s and strikes the reader with amplified effect. It’s easier to write because the author doesn’t have to jockey between narrative and character voice, and it has greater impact. When a writing instructor brings up a great example of narrative voice, it’s very often in first-person singular. It seems like every breakout novel I read is first-person singular. Catcher in the Rye? First-person singular. Salinger! (Said in my best imitation of Seinfeld when he greets Newman.)

My take-away from that is not that it’s better to write in first-person singular. However, I believe it is a great way to practice your craft. Novakovich said you can build on the foundation of your own ultra-polished voice. Well, it’s my contention that you can build upon your well-developed first-person singular skills to produce more effective third-person voices.

First-person voice drove the flash “Day 335: Courier of the Apocalypse,” which starts with the line, “I am the shit.” How can you continue writing something like that without voice in charge? The rest of the flash is a sort of proof to his protege that he is, indeed, “the shit.” This flash exaggerates voice and doesn’t hold back.

Exaggeration can be effective in third person, as well. In “Day 259: Keeping it Real with the Cheswicks,” Chad is a west-coast ladies man—known in the rest of the world as a “flake.” I plopped him into a serious conversation about preternatural things with his girlfriend’s parents. I’m not sure I pulled it off, but I sure had fun writing it, and Chad’s reaction to these stiff know-it-alls amused me.

Exaggeration is even more common with characters, and there are times when their voices dominate the prose. I couldn’t possibly conclude a blog post on voice without mentioning my Peemeekadoos. Peemeekadoos are pixie-like creatures who love adventure, Nora Jones, and Hawaii 5-O. I made up their childlike voices on the fly in a burst of creative energy, and though I always had an objective in mind when writing these, their little voices carried me all the way through.

Much like the average instruction book on writing, I have meager advice on how to write stories with great voice. Sometimes it’s mimicry given shape by attitude and motivation, and other times it’s just instinct. I can only say that when you catch a great voice, more than anything else, it enhances the enjoyment of writing, and if it’s good—the publishers will love it.

Conclusion of the “things other than story ideas that drive story writing” series.

If character drives an author to write a story, there’s a good chance it will be a character-driven story, but it doesn’t have to be. Voice could energize a writer into an absurdity-driven story, or imagery could propel him into a character-driven one. My focus has been upon how style, esthetics, absurdity, emotion, character, or voice drives the writer to produce. Results may vary, especially after rewrites.

My hope is that writers can recognize and harness the energy from those drivers to create great stories. Did I miss anything? Probably. I thought about “theme” or “jokes,” but they seemed to belong to the “story idea” category, so I left them out. Style, Esthetics, Absurdity, Character, Emotion, and Voice seemed like a nice grouping to delimit the blog posts, but if you think of something compelling enough to add to the list, please feel free to mention it in the comments.

Sometimes a writer stumbles across a glorious combination of story and characters that drive him in all these ways. For such an example, I give you Nate, Jack, Tim, and Bradley—Four Dudes and a Universe. Every installment took the POV of one of the characters, and that particular character and his voice would drive the writing. The stories are packed full of imagery (esthetics) that invigorated my creativity. Need I mention absurdity? And the underlying friendships added emotion to the impetus of every story I wrote about them. Dare I hope that I’m getting close to my own style with these guys?

All of these elements drove me at different times through these stories. Is it any wonder they were my most prolific? Forty-six stories and 44,352 words. Links to all of them can be found here.

None of these things replace straight-forward story ideas, of course, but if the ideas aren’t driving you—don’t despair. There are other effective ways to create meaningful stories. Don’t resist them when they hit you. Accept them and see where they take you.

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Lessons Learned — Trouble writing? Well, boo-hoo! (Get emotional!)

Robert Frost famously said: “If the writer ain’t blubberin’, the reader ain’t neither.”

Er… okay, that’s a paraphrase. The point is, emotion is a powerful force for writing.

For part 5 of the “things other than story ideas that drive story writing” series, I look at how emotion propelled a great number of my flashes.

Part 5: Emotion

Don’t you just hate those stories that are full of monsters and madness and blood and guts and all kinds of action, action, action?

I know—me neither. But what drives that kind of story? I’d be willing to bet the average writer (including myself most of the time) would be driven mostly by ideas and character. We want to weave a crazy plot with a great twist experienced by sympathetic characters, right? That’s how it always worked for me.

Then came Mallocrest.

I had a few concepts in mind when I started writing about a massive and intelligent man named Mallocrest in an apocalyptic world of bleak despair, inhabited by the worst progeny of mankind and haunted by an unimaginable monster throughout.

Then came Enta.

As soon as the story became about a child Mallocrest had rescued, I became immersed in his emotion, which propelled story after story. No matter what else happened, love, fear, heartbreak and joy—all for his beloved Enta—permeated everything he did. The language is unapologetically emotional, using words that might make a reader uncomfortable, unless the reader accepts, with pure credulity, the innocence of Mallocrest’s feelings. You can read the results in the 34 stories on my “The Mallocrest Collection” page.

You might say in the case of Mallocrest that the character is driving the stories, and at some level you’d be right, but that doesn’t really capture my experience when writing them. Emotion dominated the process more than the characters themselves as the words poured out, and along the way we got to see one bad-assed human being take down some monsters.

It can be difficult to identify stories that were driven by emotion because every story should evoke something of the kind. But which came first—story/emotion, chickens/eggs, journalists/lies? How can you tell? Well… by searching your heart, silly. The heart knows.

Nostalgia, though a mild emotion, can be a powerful driver. It’s easy to take a character or two through activities from your fonder memories while they solve whatever issue they’re facing. “Day 52: Snakes and Tadpoles and Wasps and Things,” one of my Muck-About flashes, does just that. I wrote this story for the shear enjoyment of reliving the kinds of things I did as a small boy, and the story problem took care of itself. (Dare I say—the characters drove it?)

Day 25: Elder’s Barter” came from a dream I had about two boys and their wagons. The emotion from the dream stuck with me for a day or two, which compelled me to put it into a story. In that case, it was just a matter of finding context for it and letting it play out.

Some of my flashes came from real life, either experienced or observed. Real life gives you real emotion, and finding an analog to express it can result in deep, meaningful stories. “Day 216: The Life and Times of a Cyborganic Space Station” and “Day 285: The “L” Word” came from real-life emotion, though explaining the truth would diminish them, I think… and me, most likely.

It doesn’t much matter where the emotion comes from. The point is that you can use it, and it can help you produce. Of course, in all cases you have to engage the brain to give it coherence and direction, but the energy from the emotion pushes it into fruition.

Writing is work. Plain hard work, where you sit down and push yourself to put ideas into words, whether brainstorming, planning, writing, or editing. Ultimately the motivation to do so comes from inside, and it’s for that reason, I think, that emotion is such a strong story driver. Even if you’re just blowing shit up.

Lessons Learned — They’re alive! They’re alive!

At risk of being forever dubbed “Captain Obvious,” I’ll say that character is probably one of the biggest drivers for a story. Sorry, I just can’t help myself. I’m going to do what I’m going to do.

So here’s part 4 of “things other than ideas that drove my story writing.”

Part 4: Character

Many novice writers and some published ones struggle just to distinguish their characters from each other. I see this especially with action ensembles. They laugh at the same jokes, support the same politics, believe in the same metaphysics, and hate the same people. I admit to struggling with it myself, the underlying problem being that I really, really, really want my good guys to be essentially good and likable.

One of my favorite approaches to fight this tendency is to write characters that start off in complete opposition to me in one or more ways and to occasionally have them speak against my most sacred convictions. It’s a great way to learn to understand other people and even humanize them—even if they’re no-good, lily-livered, beady-eyed Libertarians from Yuma. (Just kidding, Libertarians. I had to pick on someone… What? Why is the guy in the cowboy hat snarling at me?)

I spent a lot of time over the years working on character development. I wanted them to be real people. But how in tarnation did you write a character-driven story like they’re always talking about?

After writing a few hundred stories with a hundred or so different characters, I think I finally get it. When a novice has a story in mind, it’s one of a small subset of precious creations, and bringing it to fruition the way he imagines supersedes any pesky issues with character—they must behave for the sake of the story! When you write a hundred stories in a hundred days, however, the ideas aren’t quite as sacrosanct and something sublime begins to happen—the characters begin to call the shots.

I felt grumblings of this early in the process, such as the single-minded character in “Day 37: Scabby the Grinder,” but I believe the first characters that truly took lives of their own were Ty and Will in “Day 109: Ty, Will, and the Big Mystery.” I didn’t know it at the time, but these guys turned into my own origin story of the Men in Black. Though the stories followed a logical progression, the action and dialog were driven almost exclusively by what I expected the characters to say and do according to how I’d drawn them. From the very start the characters revealed themselves more than story and did some surprising things.

If you’re interested in following that series, I don’t have a tag, but you can go to the first one above and click on the “western” tag. Most of the stories listed will be about these Men in Black and their friends.

The only way I know to deliberately write something character-driven is to simply ignore any story objectives you have and focus on what you think the character would do. Sometimes the results will be subtle, as it often was with my Men in Black. Other times stark personality traits will radically effect how the story progresses, as it did for the troll in “Day 337: Junder the Tree Puller.”

However, I think character-driven stories really shine when the story marches on and the characters have little “moments” that don’t determine story, but somehow keep it alive. In “Day 149: Off the Axis,” Eric’s mischievous streak creates little moments with everyone he meets—even though they are frozen in time. The reader doesn’t see it, but he can imagine how Eric effects all these lives through space and time just by being who he is.

Don’t forget about relationships. Character traits don’t just determine how they act individually, but how they interact with each other. “Day 344: Sparrow” shows two characters who barely know each other trying to solve a problem from radically different perspectives. The problem gives them compelling reasons to be all business, but their immediate like for each other overrides and interweaves the way they solve it. I knew this Groundhog-Day story had an inevitable ending, but I actively pushed character before resolution, even letting character get in the way of a resolution. The result was far better for it.

I believe writing character-driven stories is best learned through experience. Just write—write as many different stories with as many different characters as you can. Eventually you will let them go and discover how much they can bring your writing alive.

Lessons Learned — She swallowed a bird?

For part 3 of “things other than ideas that drove my story writing,” I present to you a summer squash wearing a party hat looking for his long lost squeegee.

Er… what?

Part 3: Absurdity

One of my favorite stories published at Flash Fiction Online was “On the Road with Rutger,” by Michael Kelly. Kelly’s character has an absurd obsession with encountering Rutger Hauer on the highway, and Kelly relentlessly rides this absurdity until the very end with a delightfully comedic effect. It’s a great example where treating the absurd as coherent leads to good entertainment.

The secret to these stories is to stay committed to the absurdity from the beginning to the very end, treating it as if it were absolutely realistic. Perhaps even grave.

First you need an absurd premise. In “Day 38: Replacement Car,” the character is bound by the customer contract to replace a broken-down rental car—even to the extent of bringing it to him in the middle of a zombie outbreak.

In “Day 232: An Accounting of Mars,” a bean counter visits a Mars colony for the purpose of cutting costs and justifying every molecule of oxygen. It’s a satirical jab at bean counters—few are more deserving—and I treat every unreasonable demand as if it were real all the way to the inevitable end.

I wrote a similar account with “Day 233: Commercializing Mars.” Although less biting, this has a satirical edge, as well. With the absurd notion that the scientists and engineers must accept and accommodate an incursion of commercial ventures within the space colony, I followed the absurdity to where only our true human nature could take it.

The common denominator among all of these is that there is an abrupt reversal. I don’t know if this is necessary for absurdity to work, but in every case, including “On the Road,” it’s what brought the story to a satisfactory conclusion. (I didn’t pull off the reversal very well in “Replacement Car,” but it’s there.)

You might start writing the story with a reversal in mind or discover it as you write, but the method for getting there is to stay true to the absurdity with unmitigated resolve until it is ripe for the twist.

Sometimes the reversal can be part of the action as in the above stories, but it can also be a change in the subject matter or the way it is handled.

Day 330: The Interrogation” shows what happens when a clearance investigator is convinced you are hiding something crucial and won’t stop digging until you divulge your deepest sins. Just what is absurd about this story? In this case, the absurdity is slowly revealed, so you’ll have to read to find out.

What is a city transit employee to do when a wizard arrives in the midst of an onslaught of fire lizards threatening to burn, kill, and eat everyone at a train station? Focus on stopping the lizards? Of course not—that’s the wizard’s job. No, the absurd little man will continuously pester the mage to quote Tolkien as he works. Not especially advisable behavior, especially when the wizard is Garbol.

But if you know Garbol, you know that he is in constant battle with the absurdities of the world, and ultimately the best he can hope for are absurdities that entertain. By following this absurdity to its end, I wrote the story that got more reactions from readers than any other during the entire year: “Day 362: Middle Earth in Weinberg Station.”

In conclusion, when meerkats with potato guns storm Trump Tower looking for gold-threaded, monographed towels—start writing and look for the reversal.

Lessons Learned — What he lacks in brains, he makes up for with beauty.

Okay, that title is a bit of a stretch, but “what he lacks in ideas, he makes up for with esthetics” didn’t have the same ring to it. Here’s part 2 of things that drove my story writing that weren’t story ideas, per se.

Part 2: Esthetics

The first story I remember writing with no story idea in mind was “Day 23: The Timekeepers.” I was very keen to convey the awesome majesty of an ultra-synchronized tradition with color, noise, and movement. The story was practically an afterthought.

You might wonder why I don’t just call it imagery. The reason is probably more random than this, but esthetics implies a pursuit of beauty or wonder, while imagery can be dark and disgusting. Ever since writing “The Timekeepers,” I’ve always thought of them as “esthetic” pieces.

Although there are several flashes in my collection that were driven by esthetics, “Day 312: Pterodactyl Ride” was the only other besides “The Timekeepers” that was almost purely an exercise of esthetics. A recent rereading of it was less than satisfactory, but a rewrite could accentuate the imagery I had originally intended. (Remember—these are all first drafts.)

To create these stories, I simply needed an observer or two through whose eyes the reader could see. Purpose and relationships would provide the story. In “The Timekeepers,” I made the protagonist integrally responsible for but separate from the ritual’s conclusion and wrote about his reactions and thoughts. For “Pterodactyl Ride,” the relationship between two brothers and how they dealt with sudden and magical transportation to a pterodactyl’s aerie provided the story.

Both stories are slight and subtle, but they aren’t the major point of it. It was the subjects of the imagery that carried them to their conclusion, and words flowed easily onto the keyboard to flesh them out. Dare I say—I “discovery wrote” these pieces? —shudder—

Although not dominated by the esthetics, other stories were certainly driven by it. The childlike illustration of a robot’s face propelled “Day 20: Alexis and the Bebot.” The mystical qualities of a magic jar provided the focus for two wizards in “Day 61: A Jar of Ancient Secrets.” Imagery also drove much of the writing of those little impy characters I call Peemeekadoos. Picture a pixie-like creature frolicking in a running dishwasher, stealing licks of popsicles in a freezer, riding a water fountain high into the sky, napping on a sea anemone in an aquarium, or darting across power lines. These images were as much objectives of the stories as were the adventures.

Once the esthetics propelled me into these stories, they then took lives of their own, but the imagery is what got me there.

The lesson I learned from this is that you can discover story through imagery that inspires you. This is anathema to an “idea” man like me who wants to know what story I’m writing, but, even for me, it occasionally worked.

So if you have a compelling and inspiring vision that makes you want to write, but you don’t know what to do with it—create an observer and just start writing.

Lessons Learned — I Have No Idea. (But I have style!)

My flash project was largely a test to see if I had what it took to be a writer. Did I even have 365 brain cells, each with a story idea, that could produce? By the end I was scraping the back of my skull’s interior for ideas, but along the way I found things other than ideas that could generate a story. Things like style, esthetics, absurdity, emotion, character, or voice.

That may seem obvious to most writers. After all, “character-driven stories” is a very common term. But for a novice—which I still consider myself—you don’t really understand it fully until you’ve done it. One of the payoffs of writing 365 stories in a year is that desperation to produce pushes you in directions you might not otherwise go. I was an “idea man,” but I fell into these other approaches, and they were very rewarding.

Part 1: Style

If I were to be honest, I’d have to admit that at this point I really mean “mimicry” when I say style.

My first example of this was the Muck-About Gang stories. These stories were inspired by the “The Mad Scientist Club” books, but “inspired” I think doesn’t give fair enough credit. Although my characters and situations are very distinct from the MSC books, I must confess I was trying to capture the style of those stories. Of all the flashes I wrote during this project, these are probably closest to fan-fiction. These books engaged a diverse group of friends with creative pursuits and formidable challenges dealing with the troublemakers that tried to thwart them. That’s pretty much what I tried to do with the Muck-Abouts.

In spite of that, and in spite of the lackluster responses from my readers (all four of them!), I loved writing them. If I was in that zone, all I had to do to make a story was choose a few characters, give them a project, and create complications. Sounds easy, right? Well it’s not, but occasionally something would pop from this approach. Style propelled them, and they energized the project as a whole. You can check out the first one, “Day 40: Zip Line,” and click on the “Muck-About Gang” tag to list out the rest of them.

I’m also a big fan of P.G. Wodehouse. I’d written whimsical stories before, but never to the lengths of absurdity, exaggeration, and mischief you would find in the average Wodehouse. I wanted to see if I could achieve such a thing. This required eloquent, well-to-do characters with insouciant wit and farcical morality. My determination to create an American variety of this style eventually produced “Day 185: Mauri and Tish Get It Done.” Considering it was my first attempt, I was quite happy with the results. I tried again with a little caper/mystery in “Day 231: Liberty Head Nickel,” and I revisited Mauri and Tish in “Day 240: The Racing Solution.”

The method I used for writing these were two-fold. First I needed to plot out a caper of some sort. Something silly like getting two people together, correcting the behavior of an over-adventurous spouse, or winning the neighborhood costume contest—whatever. The caper didn’t have to be complex, it just had to be silly. Next, I would create a few characters, figure out their attitudes and biases, put on my whimsy hat, and let the banter roll. A caper with nonchalant banter—doesn’t that about sum up our old friend Pelham Grenville?

All in all, I think I acquitted myself quite well, by Jove!

By the way, you might notice a Wodehousian influence on three stories about a Bichon Frise (“Day 193: Darwin’s Huckleberry,” “Day 196: Emergency Grooming,” and “Day 197: The Rise and Fall of a Bichon Frise”), and your perception would have merit. However, far more than style, those stories were motivated by—an actual dog.

What does this all mean? I think it means that mimicry is a very positive aspect of the art. You may not want to publish something that skirts the edge of copying, but it’s a good feeling to know you can write stories a lot like the ones you are very fond of. Furthermore, it can give you the proof that once you have developed your particular style, you will be able to crank those stories out.

So, what are you waiting for?


By the way–you no longer have to scroll like mad to see my flashes in order. In the menu I’ve included a page of links listed in order for easy access.

Idea Generation Strategies — Ticking off Monsters

Should authors just give up on originality?

I’ve heard a lot said about there being nothing new in fiction. In script writing I frequently run across the saying “the same only different.” Let’s face it, though—a writer wants to convey unique ideas, and such a hope drove most of my efforts this last year.

Classic monsters provided fertile foraging ground. I wrote three such stories in the first fifteen days. Looking for the “different” in the “same only different” among monsters became a routine part of my brainstorming. And why not? Monsters are cool.

By the way, if these “Idea Generation Strategies” amount to mere navel-gazing, it’s all good. It sometimes feels that way to me. Keep writing and more power to you. My intention is to give examples of strategies that got me through three hundred sixty-five stories in three hundred sixty-five days. If you get something out of it, all the better.

Back to business.

(If you want to prevent any spoiler effect, read Day 3: All for Amila before reading the next paragraph.)

I wrote about a zombie in Day 3: All for Amila. I have lots of opinions about zombies, and getting me to talk about them is a lot like asking a few teenagers who the best Avenger is. You’re going to get an earful, and it may or may not be entertaining. So I figured I could find my own angle. I asked myself what kind of person would be most resistant to a zombie infection or curse, and what I came up with provided me immeasurable satisfaction.

Before starting the Flash-a-Day project, I already had a couple ideas regarding vampires that I put into Day 6: Unrelenting Baptism. It’s possible the ideas in this story are the most original in the entire run, and I’m quite proud of it. I’d have to dig a lot deeper into my navel to explain. The story didn’t come from ticking down the list of monsters like the others did, but it highlighted them as a potential fount of new angles.

I struggled to write Day 15: The Mummy’s Last Redress. That day began my third week, and ideas grew thin. I had already floundered late into the night, so fatigue dogged my mind. The decision to write about a mummy pushed me even later because it created the need for research into Egyptian stuff to find realistic names, determine religious references, and assure the geography made at least a little sense.

In spite of the difficulty, it was an important turning point. I’d already burned through some reserves, and completing the story, for the first time, made me feel like I might actually be able to follow this project through. To find that original angle, I asked myself who a mummy might be and how anything in the modern world might be relevant to him at all.

This poor creature from one of the longest lasting civilizations known by man woke up in a completely unrecognizable world, only stone remnants of ancient Egypt still remaining. What could he possibly care about? What could possibly persist? By answering those questions, I found a gratifying new angle for a mummy story.

There’s no specific method to this other than keeping a list of classic monsters and going through it again and again until some original angle occurs to you. Are there any questions you have about their natures that are unanswered? Answer those questions and discover some cool stories.

Here are some questions that I asked and answered:

—How does a little girl deal with a bullyish ghost? (Day 43: Isabel and the Ghost)
—How is Frankenstein’s monster adjusting to the modern world? (Day 278: Interview with Frankenstein’s Monster — 1-2-3-D!)
—What is so horrifying about a werewolf’s transformation that his friends won’t talk about it and refuse to take a video? (Day 295: The Burdens of a Werewolf)
—Who among acquaintances at a dinner party is the werewolf? (Day 32/33: Dinner at Horton’s – Part 1 & 2)

Occasionally I would find a second story for a particular kind of monster, like Day 311: Don’t Blaspheme the Mummy, but most only gave me one. Attempts at sequels didn’t work well for me, either. Although monsters were a finite source, they provided happy moments when I discovered them.

I don’t know if these stories were truly unique, but they were new and original to me. They benefitted the development of my craft, and made this project well worthwhile. And, wow. Look at that. My navel is fuzz free.