Friday, October 23, 2020

Grave Mistake #WEP #FlashFiction #2020 #TimeTravel

2020 Twice

Pink neon lights buzz nearby as I regain consciousness. The smell of sweat and french fries assures me that this is not the sterile lab we were in moments ago. 


I sit up and call to my partner again. Finally, I hear a grunt.

"That hurt more than expected," he says.

"But we made it, didn't we? This is the eighties?" 

Dan helps me to my feet. "Yeah. This decor is distinctive. We've escaped."

I look around the room, admiring the pictures. A door clicks behind me.


He's gone. I run out after him. 

There are people everywhere. No one in a mask. A few wearing leather jackets and only one glove. Hair defying gravity everywhere I turn. People are looking at each other, looking at me. No one is staring at a handheld screen. A man walks by me, music blasting from a large silver box he's hauling on his shoulder. No earbuds. A few people dance as he goes by, sharing in the joy of the song. Some roll their eyes at him. I'm so caught up in this music man that I almost don't spot Dan in a cafe.

"Amazon, Google, Netflix..."

"What are you doing?" I hiss as I grab his arm. The woman at the cafe table stares at me.

Dan smiles. "Fran, this is Ingrid. Ingrid, Fran. I'm telling Fran what stocks are going to exist in the next two decades so she can invest wisely."

Dan points to the newspaper Fran has laid out before her. She'd been looking at the stock exchange. 

"Is he making it up?" she asks me.

I fake a laugh as I pull Dan away from her. 

"What were you thinking? We can't tell people about the future! The timeline would change. We'd never be able to get back."

Dan grabs my shoulders. "I know. We aren't going back. When we don't show up, they'll think it failed. We can live out our days here, in this time. I've only got ten months left at most. And it's not like better cancer treatments exist now than in the time we came from, right?"

"That doesn't explain why you were giving out stock tips."

Dan smiles that devious smile of his, the one that talked me into this experiment. "I figured it out. Two-hundred thirty-seven changes need to be made for 2020 to not happen, to not go down as it did. Fran is one. She'll invest early in five major companies. Her daughter will inherit those. That will keep her from going through something that causes her to run for office. I have a whole chart, plotted it out. Just knock down the dominoes and what happened in 2020 will never come to pass."


Dan lived long enough to see the first one hundred eighty-seven changes. We made so many ripples in the pond of time. I watched in shock as President Dukakis lost to Bush. Operation Desert Shield became Desert Storm. Every day I found one more change to the world I remembered. I believed Dan was on to something, so I carried on with his work. 

We shouldn't have meddled. It was a grave mistake. The Amery Ice Shelf broke. That's when I knew the timeline was reverting. Covid still happened. The murder hornets were born, though did less damage this time, so far. The US Presidential debate disaster was different from the one I knew, but one candidate was a different person. In many ways, this new 2020 was worse than the one from which Dan and I escaped. 

"I have to go. I need to be somewhere by October 31."

My nurse shakes her head. "Yeah, yeah. Gots trick-or-treatin' to do, aye? Think you be a child, gonna get candy? What costume you gonna wear?"

"I don't have dementia. I'm a time traveler. I get things mixed up occasionally because I remember two different timelines. It's not easy!" I can't believe I've been remanded to this place by the state. "I have to get to my lab. If I could just make a phone call."

"Oh aye, fate of the world depends on you makin' calls, does it? Now look, you've soiled yer'self again. Great time-travelin' scientist, can't even master usin' a toilet on time."

Behind her mask, she coughs. I've watched her out the window. As soon as she leaves work, the mask comes off. Probably infected. I have only days to get to my lab to save the world. First, I need to break out. Actually, first, I need a clean pair of pants. 

764 words FCA

Want some real horror from a grave mistake? Stop by Operation Awesome for a true cautionary tale for writers. I took the chance so you don't have to.

Wednesday, October 7, 2020

#IWSG Working Writer


October 7 question - When you think of the term working writer, what does that look like to you? What do you think it is supposed to look like? Do you see yourself as a working writer or aspiring or hobbyist, and if latter two, what does that look like?

It looks like there's a book about this subject, but it seems to be out of print and not in ebook form. 

There's a website article about it.
"The best piece of advice I can give you is to train your brain to think about whatever your day job is as being in service to your writing career. ...
I will always be a writer.
Everything else is just part of the portfolio."

While researching what "working writer" means, I found one way some people define it is having landed an agent and getting advances for their books. So here's a brief "commercial break" :

That's going on right now, so if you know a YA writer looking for an agent, please send them over!

Back to the question.

I'm guessing that a working writer is a writer who no longer needs a second source of income to support their survival. And many people, especially Americans, have a standard living goal of over 50k a year.

50,000! That's the word-count goal in traditional NaNoWriMo. (← click if looking to buddy 👥)

Is $50,000 enough per year in America to live? It's considered the door to middle-class in many areas.
Universal Basic Income might come into play in figuring out how much a person should need a year.
(We don't have that in America. But who knows what 2021 will bring. 🤔)
One plan suggests $2000 a month (for households making under 100k/yr). That's 24k a year. So if that existed, and writing generated the other 26k a year, there you go.
Biden has been quoted saying, "Getting an annual wage, you sit home and do nothing. You strip people of their dignity."
Trump's plans use income tax cuts instead, which results in more savings for the rich than poor, and nothing for those without an income.
Richard Nixon almost introduced UBI in 1969.
In 1797, Thomas Paine suggested something very similar to UBI.
There's a debate as to if UBI is mentioned in the Bible, and if it is pro or con.

I've forgotten the question.

I only have four books for sale right now. The two reference books are less than a dollar and the short story allows people to set their own price. Which leaves my speculative fiction book. 

Lumber Of The Kuweakunks on Smashwords

You can conclude that I am not presently making 50k from this blip in the publishing world.
Or even $2000 a month from it.
So no, in answer to the question, I cannot call myself a working writer. 
Then again, my day job does not presently exist (thanks, Covid). 🍞 Snookums is the breadwinner, and even that income stream is more creek than mighty Mississippi. But we're doing okay. I've actually lived on less than this in my life.

Does that mean I'm calling myself a hobbyist?
One day I might make far more. 
I do believe I'm going to need to publish more than four books for that to happen. 
I'll also need to work harder at promoting. 

(The Operation Awesome Team and I are working on a story about a certain book promotion opportunity right now. Is it worth it? Is it a scam? Find out in the coming weeks! YOU DO NOT WANT TO MISS THAT!!!)

How much per month do you feel someone would need to earn to call themselves a "working writer"? 

Do you feel it's better to earn income to support one's writing, or to use writing income to support one's life?

Regular followers might know that I spent the weekend doing the last ever Young Adult Scavenger Hunt (#YASH). Guess what? I WON the purple round! Okay, good news shared. I hope you'll have some good news to share too.

I have half a dozen book reviews to write this month, so please drop by to check those out. Also, #WEP October Challenge for 2020 - GRAVE MISTAKE - on the 21st.