Tag Archives: writers

anyone interested in a short fiction collection?

I have a question for everyone who reads my blog: if I put some short stories I'd written together into a little collection and sold it at Lulu, would you be interested?

I ask this because I collected a few short stories into a limited edition chapbook for last year's PAX Prime, and it's been sitting here, in my computer, just sort of staring at me accusingly and asking why I didn't release it to anyone in the world who wanted it.

It's just four short stories – well, two short stories and two stories that are slightly-longer than flash – that haven't been collected in any other place.

It will be available worldwide (anywhere Lulu ships). I'll keep the price down, and offer it in print and digital editions (probably around $7 and $5 each, if I've calculated the economics on Lulu correctly) … but here's the catch: it will only be available for one week. (I don't have a good reason for that, I just think it's cool to make something that's a limited edition. Wait, that's a perfectly good reason; a cromulent reason, even.)

Here's the introduction to the PAX edition:

The Day After and Other Stories

Every year, before the summer convention season gets underway, I pull a few excerpts from whatever I plan to release in the fall, take them to my local print shop, and make a deliberately lo-fi, limited edition chapbook to take with me on the obligatory summer convention circuit.

I’ve done previews of Dancing BarefootThe Happiest Days of Our LivesMemories of the Future, and in 2008, I pulled together a sampler that eventually became Sunken Treasure

While Memories of the Future is 2009’s “big” fall release, it didn’t make sense to me to release a Memories-based chapbook this summer, because one already exists. 

It looked like there wasn’t going to be a 2009 entry in the traditional Wil Wheaton Zine-like Chapbook Extravaganza, until I realized that I have several pieces of unpublished fiction sitting in my office, just waiting to be published. 

“Hey,” I said to myself, “people keep asking me to write and release fiction, and I’ve been waiting until I have an actual novel to give them. But these things totally don’t suck, and I bet readers would enjoy them.”

“That is an excellent idea, me,” I said. “And have I mentioned how smart and pretty you are?”

“Oh, stop it. You’re embarrassing me,” I said.

Together, myself and I collected some of my (mostly unpublished) fiction and put it into this chapbook, for safe keeping.

Even though this is limited to just 200 copies, it represents a significant step for me in my life as a writer, because it’s the first time I’ve collected and published stories that I made up. (You know, like a writer does.) I hope you enjoy it, and thanks for your support!

Wil Wheaton



So, knowing all of this, are you interested?

time to write

Working on Leverage inspired and stirred up all those weird things in my brain that make me an artist. In an effort to maintain the creative momentum I experienced while working on the show, I went directly from wrapping my episode to working on this series of short stories I’ve wanted to write for a long time, but for one reason or another never developed past the beat sheet.

I have a routine that goes something like this: I get up between 8 and 9, grab some coffee, and read some news. About 40 minutes later, I eat breakfast, and then I start writing for anywhere between 4 and 5 hours, usually until hunger drives me away from my desk.

The thing is, it’s not non-stop writing for all that time. There’s a lot of thinking, a lot of wandering around (mentally and physically) and more than a little bit of goofing off online while I try to stay out of my brain’s way long enough for it to cough up the ideas. It’s easy to feel like I’m not really working, and I’m sure it would appear that way to the average observer.

In today’s Los Angeles Times, writer J. Robert Lennon wrote an amusing and very truthful column about exactly what it is we do when we’re writing.

Ask a writer what she values most in her creative life, and she is likely to respond, “Time to write.” Not many of us have the luxury of writing full- time; we have spouses, families, day jobs. To the people closest to the writer, “writing time” may seem like so much self-indulgence: Why should we get to sit around thinking all day? Normal people don’t require hour after continuous hour of solitude and silence. Normal people can be flexible.

And yet, we writers tell our friends and children, there is nothing more sacrosanct, more vital to our intellectual and emotional well-being, than writing time. But we writers have a secret.

We don’t spend much time writing.

There. It’s out. Writers, by and large, do not do a great deal of writing. We may devote a large number of hours per day to writing, yes, but very little of that time is spent typing the words of a poem, essay or story into a computer or scribbling them onto a piece of paper.

Maybe it’s a little too “inside baseball,” to be as funny to normal people as it is to me, but I totally relate to everything he says. In fact, I need extra time to write, so I’m taking June and July off from my columns to write fiction, and get Memories of the Future and the Subterranean Press edition of Happiest Days out the door (Happiest has been held up by me; I had a technology problem that seriously cockblocked me on my edit, and then I couldn’t find some important stuff to go in the book, but finally found it about two weeks ago. Those of you who pre-ordered and are tired of waiting shouldn’t direct your hate-lasers at Subterranean, and should instead focus them on me.)

Lennon eventually says:

The truth, of course, is that writers are always working. When you ask a writer a direct question, and he smiles and nods and then says “Well!” and turns and walks away without saying goodbye, he is actually working.

If a writer is giving you a ride to the bus station and pulls up in front of the supermarket and turns to you and says, “Enjoy your trip!,” she is actually working.

I have to apologize to Anne all the time, because while we may be in the same location, physically, my mind is frequently off in some other place, its hands filled with soft mental clay that it hopes to shape into something recognizable. There’s a line in Stand By Me where Gordie’s son tells his friend that his dad gets weird when he’s writing. I’ve heard my own kids say that, and if I can confess something real quick … it always makes me happy to hear that.

While I worked on Leverage, I had a beer with John Rogers almost every night after wrap. We talked about all kinds of stuff, from D&D to comics to our wives to working in the entertainment industry. At least once a night, John would point out how lucky we are to have jobs where we get paid to make stuff up and entertain people. I couldn’t agree with him more.

LA Daily: A Gamer’s Arcade Memories

This Week's LA Daily was knocked out of my brain by 8 bits of sound this weekend:

My son is home from college, visiting briefly before he goes back
for his summer session, so I've been making a concerted effort to cram
as much writing as I can into limited working hours each day, so my
evenings are free to spend with him and the rest of our family. This
weekend, my wife and I took him out to dinner, where I found myself in
front of a Centipede arcade machine, drawn there by the unmistakable
sound of the player earning an extra guy.

Something caught in the mental driftnet, and I began to reel it in.
"I have to play this," I said, doing my best not to be as manic as
Richard Dreyfuss behind a pile of mashed potatoes.

They looked at each other, warily. "Okay…" my wife said.

I dropped a quarter into the slot, felt the trackball fit
comfortably beneath my right hand, and began to play. By the time the
first flea dropped, I'd retrieved a childhood memory from the early

You can read the whole thing at the LA Weekly.

serve the servants

My friend Otis wrote, "I’m in one of those stupid cycles where nothing is quite interesting
enough for a blog post. I’m not getting out much for obvious reasons
and home life is fairly rote (except for the parts that aren’t)."

I sure am glad he wrote that, because I've been feeling this weird, uninspired malaise for weeks, and I haven't quite been able to identify exactly why until just now: I've been so busy finishing Memories of the Future, I haven't been getting out and doing anything that's interesting enough to warrant more than a passing mention on Twitter. Boy, am I relieved to know that it's not me, it's just my life that's boring at the moment. (Or, um, something like that. That sounded funnier in my head. Anyway, moving on…)

Otis and I are alike in a lot of ways, and often say that I'm the West Coast version of him, and he's the East Coast version of me. The obvious reasons he referred to are all related to the recent birth of his second child, and while my reasons are similar, they are also profoundly different: the child I've been caring for is a bunch of words in a manuscript, not an actual human being in a crib. It's a comparison that probably seems presumptuous and wildly inappropriate to normal people, but if you've ever done work that's creatively demanding, I think you'll be able to understand the parallel.

Speaking of creatively demanding work: Around the middle of the day on Friday, I finally finished all the major rewriting and editing on Memories of the Future, and sent it off to Andrew for judicious application of his Red Pen of Doom. I still need to write the introduction and the acknowledgments, but I think I'm going to put that off for a day or two, because I seriously need to recharge if I want that stuff to be written from a point of view that's enthusiastic and celebratory, not worn down and exhausted.

Before I save this, I wanted to share something I came across this morning that's incredibly valuable for writers. From Ken Levine's blog: What do you do when you get stuck?

This happens often as you write your script or novel. You come to a
point where you think you’ve written yourself into a corner. A plot
point requires something and you just can’t get there. Wait
a minute, he can’t swim to safety; he’s in a wheelchair. Exactly how is
she going to get to the Pope to sell him Girl Scout cookies?

This is one of the benefits of a being in a partnership – sometimes he can solve it.

But when working alone, here are four handy tips…

And now, I'm off to write this week's column for the LA Daily. I'm looking forward to that, because there's an arcade machine involved.