Episode 30: OSSE, The Artist by Alex Moisi

Ever seen a human soul?  I mean the actual ball of light in every person’s chest, the essence of their being?  Not that many people have reason to open up someone’s chest to find out if they can see it.  But if you can, it turns out that there’s a market out there for souls.

Also, Big and Rish talk about tips on writing, share what’s helped them with their stories, and offer suggestions to writers submitting to the podcast.  Also, the April Broken Mirror Story Event continues!

A special thank you to Josh Roseman for the editing on today’s story, and to Jeremiah Elkins for the episode art.

Right click to download the episode HERE.


Related Links:

Alex Moisi’s Site

Alex Moisi’s Flash Fiction Site

Moon Prototype’s music on Jamendo.com


18 Responses to “Episode 30: OSSE, The Artist by Alex Moisi”

  1. Great story. Like you said, very different from the other three, but well done.

    …and for whatever it’s worth Kings’ “On Writing,” is my favorite book on the subject.

    I for one would like to hear you guys talk more about writing on the show.

  2. Good work all round, guys.

  3. I really liked this story! It was so unusual, and yet not weird. I also liked the writing tips. Thanks guys!

  4. Fantastic story!

    You asked for resources that help with craft. I have a few favorites along with the orson scott card work, but the one that absolutely the best IMO is the Gotham Writers Workshop : Writing Fiction and you really cant go wrong. It is set up like a workshop and you read a smallish piece and then have an exercise. So it is like attending a workshop or a creative writing class. If you can get a friend and go through the book together so you have peer review it would be fantastic. Everytime I get slumpish I pick it up and start it again. The exercises really help get you thinking about the problems in your craft whatever they might be.

  5. For free help (Gotham charges around $350) here’s some sites where the people are fantastic and very helpful. Both sites expect you to also critique, or their help wanes appropriately.

    I am a regular contributor to http://www.toasted-cheese.com and http://www.sfwritersworkshop.org/

    Great people, wonderful help.

  6. I wanted to thank you for your incites into writing. Your Broken Mirror even has gotten me back into writing and I’m really excited about my story. Even if it isn’t picked I’m starting to feel more of an accomplishment whenever I take the time to sit down and throw my words at the monitor. It’s one of those talents that I’ve let slide in the face of too many random things in my life. My hope is to one day be published and actually work in video games in the writing department. Don’t worry, if I become famous I’ll give you a shoutout :) Thanks again.

  7. Thanks for the positive feedback. Big and I plan on doing an episode where we talk more about writing in the near future, so keep the suggestions coming and we’ll mention them on the show.

    Ric, I’m not familiar with this Gotham Writers Workshop. Is it a course, or a website, or a book? Can you go into more detail? That sounds like something we’d be interested in checking out.

  8. Um it is all three. They started as a paid workshop. Then I think they made the book for the lone not living in NY writer. And now they have web courses at http://www.writingclasses.com/ . I only have a book. A bud of mine and I are3 talking about taking a workshop online together this fall or so. He is one of your slush readers but you have to guess which one. :P The volunteers are nefarious and are organized so watch out.

  9. I agree Liz, free info is out there but everyone has different methods. Like I said I bought the book and work through the assignment/exercises and get a huge amount of good from it. My experience with free writing workshop sites is that I often dont get what I am looking for. But I know many people that thrive on the unstructured. I like structure as it is easier to fit in my schedule and by paying a course fee I am committing myself with more than my own good intentions and am more likely to finish. Same reason why I am looking at a MFA in creative writing. It isn’t a markettable degree outside of academia(mostly), but by taking it I will ensure that I actually put forth enough effort to go through all of the material. I would say that nearly all information on the craft or any subject is free if you have the drive and desire to get it. But me personally with working 40-70 hours a week, 3 kids in the house and limited time to pursue my artistic side, structure and deadlines are so critical.

  10. I loved this story! Great writing, great premise! It reminded me of the Pseudopod story about the guy who could see souls on x-ray. That was also a favorite. I used to be an ICU nurse (before beginning the slog through anesthesia school), and I keep toying with an idea about zombies in the ICU and a stubborn intensivist who’s convinced that if we just keep them on ventilators and provide the best medical care, they’ll come around.

    _On Writing_ is the only writing book I’ve ever recommended to anyone. “What oft was thought, but ne’er so well expressed.” Also, it’s funny.

    Also: Rish, should you be in Portland (or wherever I am, as I do dart about the country, though not usually to Utah) and I am still single and you ask me out to coffee or dinner, I would say yes. It would be a completely risk-free, non-scary, unintimidating event. You talk about your lack of dates at least as often as your lack of publication. Hey, I know! You could have some sort of one date and one submission per week goal! And report on them! That would be fun! …until you married the fourth one out, and then you’d lose your shtick. Oh, well. Still fun.

  11. Another great website for some daily inspirational stuff for the up and coming writer is http://writeanything.wordpress.com/. Hey same hosting so you probably know about them already, but their fiction friday event is pretty kewl just to keep someone writing a bit. It is like a broken mirror. The put out a one or two line premise and everyone is supposed to write for 15 minutes about it. Not a full story, just unedited first drafts. I havern’t done one in a while, but I still read the blog daily. Check em out.

  12. True story about Critters:

    The first fantasy I ever sold was a story I workshopped through Critters. It was well-received, but they felt it needed more exposition, explanation, clarification, etc. By the time I’d fixed it to their satisfaction, it was about a thousand words longer. I started submitting it. Reject, reject, reject. Finally, one editor was nice enough to say, “This has its moments, but it’s about a thousand words too long.” *bing!* I humbly asked whether he’d be willing to look at a shorter version. He said yes, but no promises. I stripped out everything I’d added for the writers’ group. I only kept one sentence of their material. I sent it back to him. He bought it. I did not return to Critters.

    The problem, of course, is not them; it’s me. I tend to assume all criticism is valid, and I seek to please the person who seems to like my work least – my shrillest critic. I’m not good at deciding which criticism to keep and which to ignore, realizing who is part of my target audience and who isn’t. I learned more from reading other people’s work than I did from submitting my own. Same goes for reading slush for magazines and zines. You quickly learn what works and what doesn’t, and you learn what your competition looks like in that editors’ inbox.

    For my own work, I now like to use a dozen or so beta readers who aren’t talking to each other. If more than one of them says something is a problem, I know that it is. I’m talking about major issues, not grammar and spelling. I’ve done huge rewrites just to please one reader – big mistake. If you have trouble finding good beta readers, writers’ groups can be a place to hook up. There are definitely some good ones out there, and some regularly publishing people thrive on them.

  13. Thank you for the nice comments everybody and thank you Rish and Big, your production was wonderful. Also, please do make an episode about writing I think everybody enjoins hearing more about writing.

  14. Abbie, I thank you for your words about writing (and the invitation, which I’d be up for). We’ll definitely have to talk about writers groups in an upcoming episode. I’ve been part of a couple of them, and actually headed one up (briefly) in Los Angeles, that still continues to this day. I agree completely with your point about sharing your work with others; sometimes somebody just doesn’t like something or doesn’t get something or has a bias against something, and there’s nothing wrong with it at all. However, if more than one person mentions the same flaw, independent of one another, then it’s best you take that into consideration.

    I’ve just about convinced myself to make that the topic of conversation in tomorrow’s episode. Too bad, since our Top Five Vomiting Stories had so much potential.


  15. > (and the invitation, which I’d be up for).

    See, wasn’t that easy?

    More thoughts on beta readers: They don’t need to be fiction writers. My favorite beta readers are publishing poets. Good command of the language, and when they send me something to critique, it doesn’t take me all year.

    > Too bad, since our Top Five Vomiting Stories had so much potential.

    Oh, too bad. I loves me a good vomiting story. :)

  16. I liked this story a lot for its originality. The only thing I wonder is how they know the glowing thing is a soul. What does that mean?

  17. I liked this story a lot for its originality. The only thing I wonder is how they know the glowing thing is a soul. What does that mean?

    Good question…and I don’t think there’s a good answer except….it’s the way it is so that the world can work. Do you buy it?

  18. I’m really sorry I didn’t listen to this episode sooner. I really liked it, and I loved the conversation after the story about writing. I love “On Writing”, but there are lots of other writing books I like too.

    Great job on this one everyone!

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