Author Archives: T.Z. Barry

Why I had to Completely Rewrite my First Novel

My first foray into creative writing was through screenplays. I always loved movies and thought in moving images, so screenwriting came naturally to me. After about four years of writing roughly ten screenplays, I decided to try shifting to prose. I decided to adapt my best screenplay into a novel. I already had all the plot and characters and world-building done. It should have been easy, right?

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Philip K. Dick on the Loneliness of Being a Writer

In The Shifting Realities of Philip K. Dick: Selected Literary and Philosophical Writing, PKD wrote about his struggles with loneliness during his career as an author. In the following quotes, he explains how writing and loneliness are and aren’t related.

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LOST Revisited

There have been many great television shows since, and the ending wasn’t perfect, but I’ve never had more fun watching a TV show than LOST. The finale was extremely divisive at the time, with many fans claiming it ruined the entire series for them. I won’t spoil any details of the ending other than to say that the dissatisfaction came from frustration that it didn’t provide enough answers to the many mysteries set up over the years. I thought the final episode was amazing in itself, but I was also frustrated that I didn’t get answers to certain mysteries—though ultimately that didn’t take away from my enjoyment of the show.

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Writing with the Pomodoro Technique (For Productivity and Health)

Writing is not the hardest thing in the world to do, but the easiest thing to do is not write. A nice thing about being a writer is the freedom to set your own hours, but that freedom can also be a curse. It’s difficult to stay focused and avoid procrastination and distractions, especially today with the internet, when the tool you write with (a computer) is connected to all the information in the world, including email, Twitter, Facebook, YouTube, Reddit, and other applications designed to waste time.

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Born Vegetarian? The Evolutionary Psychology Behind Not Eating Meat

I’ve been a vegetarian my entire life. No one in my family or anyone I knew was vegetarian; it was something I came to on my own. When I was a child, people would often ask me why I didn’t eat meat, as if there was some moment or reason that precipitated it, but I never had an answer. Today I can name a whole host of reasons to be a vegetarian—ethical, health-related, and environmental—but I wasn’t aware of those benefits of vegetarianism when I was four years old. Yet as far back as I can remember, I’ve had an instinctual disgust toward meat. It was as though I was born a vegetarian. But is that possible? Are certain people natural vegetarians?

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Good Art and the Posthumous Success of H.P. Lovecraft

When writing fiction, you can either write for now or forever. To become a successful bestseller you need to appeal to the masses, and the masses are, by definition, average. That is average intelligence, average creativity, average originality, average in taste and interests, etcetera. The masses don’t like the most creative, innovative, transgressive, and artistic works of art—and they never will. There’s only ever a small subset of the population with refined enough taste to find and appreciate the diamonds in the rough and discover a truly creative artist—someone like H.P. Lovecraft—during their lifetime.

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Why Are so Many Creative People Anxious and/or Depressed?

Introducing Kafka by R. Crumb

Consciousness, or what makes humans human, is inherently tied to imagination. Imagination allows you to predict possible futures before they happen—be it what a predator such as a tiger will do (harm you), what a rock could turn into (a tool), or what a seed could become if you plant it (food). That type of future-thinking birthed agriculture and civilization, and it all stemmed from imagination—imagining what not yet is but could be. No other species can do that (that we know of).

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Kafka and the Starving Artist

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The Hunger Artist” is one of Franz Kafka’s most well-known short stories. It’s about a man who is a hunger artist—that is, he sits in a cage and fasts for upwards of forty days as crowds walk by to watch and admire his feat. The story is often viewed as an allegory, though interpretations vary. In my opinion, Kafka’s story of the hunger artist is a metaphor for Kafka’s own life as a “starving artist.”

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The New Star Wars Trilogy That Could Have Been

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With the conclusion of the latest Star Wars trilogy, and supposedly the end of the Skywalker saga, I’ve been thinking about the series as a whole and its legacy. I liked each movie in the new trilogy upon first watching them. They were all enjoyable and exciting in-theater experiences with seemingly had everything you’d want in a Star Wars story: the Force, the Dark Side, lightsabers, space battles, aliens, planets, robots, Jedi, Sith, old masters, young apprentices, new characters, old characters, science fiction concepts, and more. I truly had a great time watching each movie the first time around, but it was only upon later reflection that I realized the parts didn’t quite add up to the whole. The acting, writing, and direction were all top-notch, especially compared to episodes 1-3, but the problem with this new trilogy, and the one area where the prequels were superior, is perhaps the most important part of all: story. Continue reading