Author Archives: T.Z. Barry

Talking vs. Writing

What is a better form of communication: talking or writing? For me, talking is inferior and inefficient compared to writing. Writing gives you time to pause, reflect, consider, and then express exactly what you feel. Some may say that talking to someone face to face is the only way to really know another person fully—to get a sense of their true self. While that may be true for some people, that is not the case for me. 

Continue reading

My Rabbit Holes

Throughout my life, I get super-interested in certain topics and go all-in, becoming completely absorbed in the subject for weeks, months, or sometimes years. Eventually, when I’ve learned everything worth knowing, I become bored of the subject and move on to something else, becoming super-interested in that new topic… until I’m not. Then the cycle repeats again.

Continue reading

The Rhythm of Writing

When you’ve written and read enough, you begin to develop an inherent feel for the rhythm of prose. Amateur writers often write sentences without much thought to the rhythm and flow, resulting in a series of short sentences which begin to sound stiff and boring—or a series of exceptionally long complex sentences that also become too stiff and boring to follow. 

Continue reading

Should Writers Read Classic or Modern Books?

I often feel anxiety about the overwhelming amount of books I want to read, knowing I won’t live long enough to read them all. This has been a problem for all humans throughout history—the race against time—but the problem grows exponentially over time as the amount of content continually increases. 

Continue reading

Use Visualization to Write Fiction Like Tesla

Most of my toughest problems writing fiction come from hitting a wall midway through the first draft when I realize I must alter the narrative in some dramatic way, requiring massive rewrites of what I’d written so far. This doesn’t always happen, but when it does, it is demoralizing—especially for longer projects like novels. I dread going back to do that rewriting work because it is difficult, tedious, and time-consuming. Fixing what I wrote before often takes longer than it took to write in the first place.

Continue reading

Best of 2020: Video Games, Comics, Music, and More

A new form of storytelling medium I got into this year was fictionalized audio drama podcasts. I prefer them to fiction audiobooks because they have a full cast of actors to voice each character in the story. Plus the scripts are written specifically for audio (as opposed to most novels), so the stories are more dialogue-driven and therefore more dynamic and easier to follow while listening. Though, as with television, I prefer self-contained miniseries audio dramas with an ending, rather than series that go on for years.

Continue reading

Best Nonfiction Books I Read in 2020

According to my Goodreads stats (which I use to track every book I read), I read 95 books in 2020, which is down slightly from last year (114). Though that includes comic books, which are shorter and quicker to read, plus audiobooks, and I read less comics, so more full-books in all. My increased reading was not due to being stuck at home during quarantine as that didn’t affect my lifestyle much—it’s primarily because I severely cut down on reading Twitter and other online news. I previously wrote about the futility of following the daily news closely, but I still clung to Twitter—a little too much—sometimes a lot too much. I will expand upon how I broke my Twitter addiction in a future post, but suffice it to say, these days I check Twitter just once a day (at night after getting my work done) for only a couple minutes—if at all. This immediately reduced my stress levels and gave me much more time to read more valuable things that will stand the test of time, such as the following books.

Continue reading

Best Fiction Books I Read in 2020

1. Snow Crash by Neal Stephenson (1992)

I first read this book about ten years ago when I started reading science fiction novels. I repeatedly saw Snow Crash on many “greatest sci-fi books” lists and it was considered the best in the cyberpunk genre (along with William Gibson’s Neuromancer). When I first read Snow Crash, (and Neuromancer for that matter) I liked parts of it, but most of the book went over my head. I was looking for cyberpunk action (such as the computer hacking and futuristic skateboarding) and became bored by the ancient religious and evolution of language aspects, which I did not fully understand. I didn’t recognize it as being a portrayal of an anarcho-capitalist society the first time around, as I did not know what that was. Ten years older and wiser, I now find the philosophical aspects of the book the most fascinating, and the hacking, action, and skateboarding parts are like gravy on top. Snow Crash is like all my varied interests (technology, futurism, virtual reality, hacking, skateboarding, pizza delivery, punk rock, samurai swords, economics, history, philosophy, libertarianism, ancient religion, language, and the evolution of consciousness) all rolled into one book. It doesn’t seem like there can be that many different ideas in one novel but there are and it all somehow fits together.

Continue reading

Schrödinger’s Santa: A Quantum Christmas Poem

Quantum mechanics has proven that, contrary to human intuition,
matter exists in multiple states at one time, known as superposition.

Santa can simultaneously be in your chimney and at the North Pole.
Until it’s looked in, your stocking contains both merry presents and humbug coal.

The same sleigh of reindeer fly through the sky while sleeping on ice.
This past year, you’ve been equal parts naughty and equal parts nice.

On Christmas morning, when you check under your green tree,
the wave function collapses—an observer you’ll be.

The elves’ algorithm determines on which list you fall,
then you’ll find the gifts you have wished for…or nothing at all.