Category Archives: Writing

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.

Continue reading

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).

Continue reading

Kafka and the Starving Artist

kafka-starving-artist-crumb


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.”

Continue reading

On Abandoned Drafts

ship-wreck-1882087_1920

As a fiction writer I’ve developed the habit of starting first drafts of projects, particularly with short stories, then hitting a wall at some point in the middle, either from boredom or difficulty, then decide to pause and pursue another project. In most cases, I would not start a “new” project, but would go back to work on editing another story, as I have dozens of works in progress that need editing and rewriting. I’ve said in the past that I don’t enjoy rewriting because I find it boring and drudgery, but it’s also much easier and less cognitively intensive than writing a first draft, so it’s a nice respite after facing difficulty in the first draft on another project. Continue reading

Is a Work of Art Ever Finished?

mcescher-hands

Whenever I re-read something I wrote, I always find things to edit and change, whether it’s actual mistakes or just rewording sentences to make them more clear and readable. Yet when I last left the work, I thought it was perfect—not actually perfect, as there’s no such thing as “perfect” in art, but as close to perfect as I could make it. However, every time I re-read anything I previously thought was perfect, I always find things to change. Why is that? Did I miss those things before? Or Is my idea of perfection changing? Continue reading

Solitude Inspires Creativity

solitude

Solitude makes people more creative. When isolated from other humans, you become extremely bored. (This includes both in-person interaction and indirect forms of human communication, such as via the internet, watching television, or reading books.) When completely deprived of interaction with other people, you become so craved for some kind of stimulation that you’re forced to fill that need yourself—in your imagination. You create fictional characters and stories in your head to fulfill your innate need for stimulation and social interaction. Continue reading

Science Fiction Books vs. Movies

bladerunner-book-movie

It’s ironic that I write science fiction books as an adult considering I didn’t even read science fiction books as a child. Actually, I didn’t read any books at all, other than those assigned in school—which, aside from Fahrenheit 451 and 1984, were never science fiction. I loved sci-fi movies as a child and was captivated by space exploration and future technology, but I struggled with books about those same topics. It wasn’t until later in life, post-college, that I really started to enjoy reading (books in general and science fiction in particular). Continue reading

Is Your Idea a Short Story or Novel?

short-story-novel
One common question among writers (or would-be writers) in the initial phase of a project is: How do you know if an idea is a short story or a novel? I think the answer is that you should plan for every idea to be a short story. Try to make everything you write as short as it can possibly be without losing anything essential. Continue reading

The Purpose of Stories

stories-purpose7

One night when I was in college, a group of friends were thinking about going to a movie, and someone said, “No, I don’t want to go to a movie where you have to think.” It bothered me that someone could ever feel that way. I thought those were the best types of movies. What’s the point of watching a movie if it doesn’t make you think?

I was reminiscing about that night from college recently while contemplating the purpose of stories. They’ve been around for the entirety of human history. Storytelling is what makes humans human; it’s what separates us from other species. No other animal can tell stories to each other and pass on wisdom and knowledge through language. Continue reading

Story Addict: A Collection of 27 Short Stories

ebook-new-042820

Hi, my name is TZ Barry, and I’m a story addict…

Story Addict is a collection of 27 short stories written between 2010 and 2018, spanning a variety of genres including science fiction, fantasy, horror, crime, thriller, literary, magical realism, dark humor, and satire. There’s time travel, telepathy, parallel universes, aliens, robots, artificial intelligence, hackers, spies, invisibility, dinosaurs, wizards, talking jellyfish, and more. The lengths of the stories vary from 300 words to over 6,000 (60,000 words in total). Eight of the stories have been previously published while nineteen are new to this collection. The stories are not connected and can be read in any order. Continue reading