We’re in the third round of the Genre Writing Challenge. Each round, the three writers — Perry, Gary, and I — will write a story on a genre. The Twins decided the Third genre is Science Fiction.

We’re again staggering the publication of the stories, and this is my story. Perry’s story went live this past Saturday and can be found HERE. Gary’s went live on Tuesday and can be found HERE.

Here, I must apologize to a few regular readers. You see, it appears I’ve lost my ability to write. Rather, I’ve lost my ability to create. I can write up a storm, but when it comes to writing something creative, I’m hitting wall after wall.

I’ve been trying to get a particular story off the ground for the better part of two weeks, and it’s going nowhere. Worse, even when I say, ‘screw this!‘ and try to move on to a different story, nothing comes. I sit there for a bit, and then either I read a book, or watch something on YouTube or one of the streaming channels. Or, I go and do some chores.

This is the first time I’ve experienced this. Sure, sometimes I write crappy stuff (some say more than sometimes), but I write.

Now, let me be clear . . . I’m not asking for advice, encouragement, or sympathy.

I’m serious. Please don’t offer any.

The only reason I’m even mentioning it is because I’m about to post a previously written story. And, I’m only doing that because this story has been behind a password (I had intended to submit it for publication), so I know only a few people have read it.

Hence my apology to the three or four people who’ve already read it.

For all others, this is a story I wrote in 2015, which I liked well enough to think someone might buy it (no one did).

I like all my stories, but, beyond that, this is a story from when I could still write stories I liked, and I hope new readers will as well.

The usual disclaimer:

The writing challenge has no restrictions, and the stories span a wide gamut of subjects. The majority of the stories fall in the PG range, with a few perhaps pushing into the R range. Those ratings are guidelines, but they are subjective. If you find a story disturbing because of the topics, language, and/or plot points, stop reading and move on to the next one. The same goes if you are not interested in finishing a story. It may seem like obvious advice, but many people go out of their way to experience outrage (and then complain about it).

So, without further ado, here’s my contribution to the Science Fiction genre.

Wait . . . first, the blurb:
What would you do if you came face-to-face with a robot asking you for help? Would you put yourself at risk by helping, or would you choose the easy path and not get involved. For some, it’s an easy decision to make.

As mentioned, we’re starting a new challenge — the Genre Writing Challenge. Each round, the three writers — Perry, Gary, and I — will write a story on a genre. The Twins decided the Third genre is Science Fiction.

For the record, I think this is a difficult assignment if trying to think of something in the future. That’s because we’ve easily exceeded expectations — well, some expectations, the more reasonable ones from 20-30 years ago, let alone from 50 or 100 years ago — and completely missed amazing things that are now commonplace in much of the world. I mean, Captain Kirk and Spock would be very envious of my Galaxy S23 Ultra . . . probably as envious as I am of their Phasers.

Anyway, we’re again staggering the publication of the stories, and this is Gary’s story. Perry’s story went live this past Saturday and can be found HERE.

Our usual disclaimer:

The writing challenge has no restrictions, and the stories span a wide gamut of subjects. The majority of the stories fall in the PG range, with a few perhaps pushing into the R range. Those ratings are guidelines, but they are subjective. If you find a story disturbing because of the topics, language, and/or plot points, stop reading and move on to the next one. The same goes if you are not interested in finishing a story. It may seem like obvious advice, but many people go out of their way to experience outrage (and then complain about it).

So, without further ado, here’s Gary’s contribution to the Science Fiction genre.

Wait . . . first, the blurb:
I know, weird title, right? But if you can stick with it till the end, you’ll get it. There are a lot of moving parts in this epic tale. They all lead to a new beginning. So follow along as the Jones family in Hawaii try to survive the forces that would destroy their unique newborn. For better or worse, hold on for a wild ride.

As mentioned, we’re starting a new challenge — the Genre Writing Challenge. Each round, the three writers — Perry, Gary, and I — will write a story on a genre. The Twins decided the Third genre is Science Fiction.

For the record, I think this is a difficult assignment if trying to think of something in the future. That’s because we’ve easily exceeded expectations — well, some expectations, the more reasonable ones from 20-30 years ago, let alone from 50 or 100 years ago — and completely missed amazing things that are now commonplace in much of the world. I mean, Captain Kirk and Spock would be very envious of my Galaxy S23 Ultra . . . probably as envious as I am of their Phasers.

Anyway, we’re again staggering the publication of the stories, and this is Perry’s story.

Our usual disclaimer:

The writing challenge has no restrictions, and the stories span a wide gamut of subjects. The majority of the stories fall in the PG range, with a few perhaps pushing into the R range. Those ratings are guidelines, but they are subjective. If you find a story disturbing because of the topics, language, and/or plot points, stop reading and move on to the next one. The same goes if you are not interested in finishing a story. It may seem like obvious advice, but many people go out of their way to experience outrage (and then complain about it).

So, without further ado, here’s Perry’s contribution to the Science Fiction genre.

Wait . . . first, the blurb:
Winifred and Darlene are a disgruntled lesbian couple searching for a more fulfilling relationship. Desperate, they turn to technology…introducing a Third member – a cyborg designed to meet specific needs. What could go wrong?

As mentioned, we’re starting a new challenge — the Genre Writing Challenge. Each round, the three writers — Perry, Gary, and me — will write a story on a given genre. The Twins decided the Second genre is Thriller.

For the record, thrillers can be almost any genre, so this was likely a poor choice on our part, especially since it’s difficult to define thriller as a completely different and standalone genre.

We’re again staggering the publication of the stories, which began with Gary’s story. It went live on Saturday. Perry’s went live on Tuesday, and today is my turn.

Our usual disclaimer:

The writing challenge has no restrictions, and the stories span a wide gamut of genres. The majority of the stories fall in the PG range, with a few perhaps pushing into the R range. Those ratings are guidelines, but they are subjective. If you find a story disturbing because of the topics, language, and/or plot points, stop reading and move on to the next one. The same goes if you are not interested in finishing a story. It may seem like obvious advice, but these days many people go out of their way to experience outrage (and then complain about it).

So, without further ado, here’s my contribution to the Thriller genre . . . although, it may not be a thriller. Suspenseful, maybe. Also, I decided to write it in second person (the reason will become apparent as you read it). And — and this is something many will appreciate — just a shade under 1,100 words. Literally, less than a five-minute read.

Here’s the blurb:
What can you do when your world is being destroyed?

As mentioned, we’re starting a new challenge — the Genre Writing Challenge. Each round, the three writers — Perry, Gary, and me — will write a story on a given genre. The Twins decided the Second genre is Thriller.

For the record, thrillers can be almost any genre, so this was likely a poor choice on our part, especially since it’s difficult to define thriller as a completely different and standalone genre.

We’re again staggering the publication of the stories, which began with Gary’s story. It went live on Saturday. Today is Perry’s turn, and — FSM-willing — I’ll get one finished for Thursday.

Our usual disclaimer:

The writing challenge has no restrictions, and the stories span a wide gamut of genres. The majority of the stories fall in the PG range, with a few perhaps pushing into the R range. Those ratings are guidelines, but they are subjective. If you find a story disturbing because of the topics, language, and/or plot points, stop reading and move on to the next one. The same goes if you are not interested in finishing a story. It may seem like obvious advice, but these days many people go out of their way to experience outrage (and then complain about it).

So, without further ado, here’s Perry’s contribution to the Thriller genre.

Wait . . . first, the blurb:
A boy born of misfortune plots to slaughter those that bully him. Just before he pulls the trigger, another shooter commences. The boy becomes a hero when he shoots the shooter. He parlays his popularity into politics . . . creating Laws that mandate gun ownership! This can only end one way.

As mentioned, we’re starting a new challenge — the Genre Writing Challenge. Each round, the three writers — Perry, Gary, and me — will write a story on a given genre. The Twins decided the Second genre is Thriller.

For the record, thrillers can be almost any genre, so this was likely a poor choice on our part, especially since it’s difficult to define thriller as a completely different and standalone genre.

We’re again staggering the publication of the stories, this time beginning with Gary’s story. Perry’s will go up on Tuesday, and — FSM-willing — I’ll have one for Thursday.

Our usual disclaimer:

The writing challenge has no restrictions, and the stories span a wide gamut of genres. The majority of the stories fall in the PG range, with a few perhaps pushing into the R range. Those ratings are guidelines, but they are subjective. If you find a story disturbing because of the topics, language, and/or plot points, stop reading and move on to the next one. The same goes if you are not interested in finishing a story. It may seem like obvious advice, but these days many people go out of their way to experience outrage (and then complain about it).

So, without further ado, here’s Gary’s contribution to the Thriller genre.

Wait . . . first, the blurb:
Prepare to be thrilled in more ways than one. This story starts with a crime and ends with…just read and find out for yourself.

As mentioned, we’re starting a new challenge — the Genre Writing Challenge. Each round, the three writers — Perry, Gary, and me — will write a story on a given genre. The Twins decided the first genre is Mystery/Crime.

For the record, I would have split those into separate genres, but that’s fine.

We’re also doing something different as far as posting the stories. Dropping three stories that can total anywhere from 12,000 to 20,000 words is an imposition on readers, so we’re going to stagger the posts. First up was Perry’s story. This is Gary’s story, and finally, my story in two days.

Our usual disclaimer:

The writing challenge has no restrictions, and the stories span a wide gamut of genres. The majority of the stories fall in the PG range, with a few perhaps pushing into the R range. Those ratings are guidelines, but they are subjective. If you find a story disturbing because of the topics, language, and/or plot points, stop reading and move on to the next one. The same goes if you are not interested in finishing a story. It may seem like obvious advice, but these days many people go out of their way to experience outrage (and then complain about it).

So, without further ado, here’s my contribution to the Mystery/Crime genre. About 5,000 of these words were written today, trying to meet my self-imposed deadline. I’ll do some proofing in the next few days, but meanwhile, if you find errors, be kind and ignore them.

Wait . . . first, the blurb:
Have you ever wondered about Michelle Maul’s early days? Well, wonder no more. Don’t know who Michelle Maul is? I’ll put some links in the comments for them who want to read about her. She’s a tough lady, she is.

As mentioned, we’re starting a new challenge — the Genre Writing Challenge. Each round, the three writers — Perry, Gary, and me — will write a story on a given genre. The Twins decided the first genre is Mystery/Crime.

For the record, I would have split those into separate genres, but that’s fine.

We’re also doing something different as far as posting the stories. Dropping three stories that can total anywhere from 12,000 to 20,000 words is an imposition on readers, so we’re going to stagger the posts. First up was Perry’s story. This is Gary’s story, and finally, my story in two days.

Our usual disclaimer:

The writing challenge has no restrictions, and the stories span a wide gamut of genres. The majority of the stories fall in the PG range, with a few perhaps pushing into the R range. Those ratings are guidelines, but they are subjective. If you find a story disturbing because of the topics, language, and/or plot points, stop reading and move on to the next one. The same goes if you are not interested in finishing a story. It may seem like obvious advice, but these days many people go out of their way to experience outrage (and then complain about it).

So, without further ado, here’s Gary’s contribution to the Mystery/Crime genre.

Wait . . . first, the blurb:
Beep beep! That can be really annoying, whether it’s a tailgater or a very large, very fast desert fowl. Admit it, you secretly wanted the coyote to catch the road runner. Well, the chase continues. Follow your Saturday morning cartoon characters as they work out their complicated lives in the real world.

As mentioned, we’re starting a new challenge — the Genre Writing Challenge. Each round, the three writers — Perry, Gary, and me — will write a story on a given genre. The Twins decided the first genre is Mystery/Crime.

For the record, I would have split those into separate genres, but that’s fine.

We’re also doing something different as far as posting the stories. Dropping three stories that can total anywhere from 12,000 to 20,000 words is an imposition on readers, so we’re going to stagger the posts. First up is Perry’s story. It will be followed by Gary’s story in two days, and finally, my story two days after that.

Our usual disclaimer:

The writing challenge has no restrictions, and the stories span a wide gamut of genres. The majority of the stories fall in the PG range, with a few perhaps pushing into the R range. Those ratings are guidelines, but they are subjective. If you find a story disturbing because of the topics, language, and/or plot points, stop reading and move on to the next one. The same goes if you are not interested in finishing a story. It may seem like obvious advice, but these days many people go out of their way to experience outrage (and then complain about it).

So, without further ado, here’s Perry’s contribution to the Mystery/Crime genre.

Wait . . . first, the blurb:
Who killed the Black Dahlia? Who would know better than the lady herself? All is revealed in this perfect storm of murder, mystery, and magic.

I’m sure everyone is curious about Steampunk Toilets, but this post is all about writing, and I begin with a reminder to vote on our newly-minted Round 11 of the Random Title Writing Challenge. For them not familiar with the challenge, THIS POST has a brief explanation, links to the stories currently being voted on, and a poll for you to vote on, should you be so inclined.

Right! On with writing stuff . . . and be aware that while I sprinkle a few toilet in the post, there’s mostly writing.

I recently had a few conversations about editing. I’ve written about it before, and not much has changed. What did I write before? Well, for them bored and/or curious, HERE I wrote a little about editing as part of my application for the Viable Paradise workshop. There’s also a bit on editing in THIS post about self-publishing. And there’s stuff about the same tools I’ll be mentioning below in THIS post.

The tools I’m referencing are Grammarly and ProWritingAid. The pricing plans for those apps are HERE and HERE, respectively. Before I proceed, let me categorically state I have no monetary interest or relationship with either of those companies. I’m just a user of their products.