About that VPN…

My flash fiction story, “VPN Dosen’t Work” is up today at Every Day Fiction.

I find that I am just a little nervous about this story. It uses computer technology as its base to drive the plot. I am a computer professional. If I got something substantially wrong about the computers, it will be embarrassing. Luckily, the editors had me remove some computer jargon to make the story more accessible to non-computer readers, and that should help smooth over any problems. I can always claim poetic license as it were… but still… if I missed some detail…

I am exited about this story because I am hoping that its protagonist will be a publishable recurring character. He has been bouncing around in my mind since 1981 or so, thanks to Frederik Pohl and his Heechee Series of novels. Thank-you, Frederik (and thank-you Robinette Broadhead) for stories that have stayed with me all these years.

I love science fiction, and I hope you like this latest attempt of mine within the genre. Let me know what you think!


Personal Writing Challenges (part 1)

I have been giving myself personal writing challenges to force myself to not slip into procrastination. I have a small list of exercises, topics and stuff that I can fall back on when the creative juices dry up.

One of the exercises is to take something I have written for work (where passive voice is encouraged) and revise it into the active voice. (i.e. “The design was implemented by the lead programmer. The coding was finished early.” became “Our lead programmer coded the patch in record time.”) However, one item on my list demanded that I look into situations where the passive voice is appropriate.

In a blog entry on “voice”, author and high school teacher James Van Pelt described his favorite passive voice sentence used by one of his students. “My eyes were opened by me.” (BTW his blog is a treasure trove of good stuff for those of us who had our self esteem smashed flat by our own high school creative writing teachers. But that is a different blog topic.) I laughed out loud and I decided then and there that I would take that sentence and use it as the center piece for my passive voice story exercise. It took a month and a half for a story idea to form around that single passive sentence. Once the idea was in mind, it took less than twenty minutes to hammer out the first draft in long hand. I have been refining it for the past two weeks. The majority of the story is purposely in the passive voice because of the situation of the main character. The story deals with physically opening ones eyes, not with a metaphorical or spiritual “eye opening” experience. The character opening his own eyes, instead of having someone open them for him, is key to the plot.

As is typical for me, it is a science fiction story. I have decided that I am going to send it into one of the big three SF magazines; which is something I haven’t done with a full blown story for nearly 25 years; mainly because of that creative writing class in high school, but also because I am a procrastinator. Back in the late 1990’s I did send out “The Journey” my flash story that EDF published in November, but that was just a whimsy, I haven’t sent anything else out to a fiction publisher.

I am expecting a rejection. The story is in the passive voice after all, and just because I think it works does not mean that a professional editor will. But there is a chance they will agree with me.

(Thing #94)