When the Epiphany Machine works right, “Cockleburs”- present

I admit it, I’ve been writing fanfiction.   Bad me, but there’s a point to it, honestly.   Still going with the hope that I can convince a game company to let me write for them, and this seems like the best way to get my stuff out there.



People ask me the same question all of the time, “Where do you come up with these ideas, anyway?”   And my answer is always to just stare at them, and say, “They come out of nowhere.”

I see it as kind of like I have an “Epiphany Machine” in my head, a cantankerous,  temperamental fax machine that occasionally spits out ideas of an unknown source.   It worked perfectly last night, so I thought I’d share.

I’ve had the germ of a vague idea running around for a week or so, where it came from, I don’t know.   It sidled into my head and has been hiding in a corner for a bit, just a ‘huh, well…maybe…’ level of a thought about a sentient parasite.

Last night, the Epiphany Machine got  a hold of it, and started to throw out ideas.   These come as a mishmash of “Oh!  How about this!  And this!   And this!”   The first  was…to tell it from the parasite’s point of view.   Ooooooo kay.   Then to make the parasite extremely vulnerable, nearly sessile, and on the verge of death.   Oh….really, what?   I knew I was in trouble when it threw out the first line.   If I have the first line and the last, I can start writing a short story.   Sure enough, after a scramble, it threw out the last.  And then a title.  Which I didn’t like so I threw it back.   It threw out another.  I rejected that one as well.  It tried a third time, and that one I agreed with.     (How many science fiction short stories would work under a title like “Cockleburs”?)  So I had a first line.  A last line.  A basic idea.  And a title.   Then it started to throw out whole paragraphs, letting me know that my nameless little parasite isn’t truly a parasite, more of a symbiote.   And he’s a he.   (Important, yes.)  And that he’s an alien.   Wait…what?

Trust me.  I think this is going to work…


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