The Moon Festival has come to the riverfront slums: a time when ghosts and shadows walk the streets, returning to visit their loved ones. Some visitors are more welcome than others.

This is the third installment of a three-part series. New to the story? Start here!

Continue reading “Ghosts and Shadows”

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The Moon Festival has come to the riverfront slums. Spirits –Moon Children– walk the streets, returning to visit their loved ones. Little do the residents know, more than just spirits are drawn to the bowls of food left out for the Children.

This is the second installment of a three-part series. Haven’t read part one yet? Check it out here.

Continue reading “The Moon Children”

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Conflict ahead sign

Let’s talk believable antagonists and realistic sources of conflict.

I’m not going to get into the four types of conflict, or six, or however many it is now. I am going to talk about creating a believable antagonistic force, rather than one of those cardboard caricature, source-of-all-evil bad guys.

The concept of a having one person be the source of all of a story’s conflict has always seemed overly simple to me. Either the antagonist has help, or the protagonist’s problems are going to be disappointingly simple to solve. A lone enemy, unaided, is easy to overcome.

Continue reading “Antagonistic Forces”

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Go be poor somewhere else

Yesterday evening I went out to get a few things done, and it was… interesting. I’m not a people person. Thus I do as much of my errand-running as I can either very late or very early, in order to avoid the worst of the crowds.

My avoidance of peak traffic times has become more difficult in the last few years due to a disquieting trend. It has to do with the lengths to which a certain segment of the population will go–and the number of people they’re comfortable inconveniencing in the process–to make life even harder for the poor.

Continue reading “A Sign of Our Times”

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I’ve been informed that we’ve entered the holiday season.

Man in bear costume arrested for attacking Black Friday campers.

Oh, I know that the Christmas decorations went up in stores about a month ago, but I’ve gotten pretty good at ignoring those.

As a functioning adult, I’ve earned the right to forego participating in these social traditions. I have my own place, so I’m not obliged to sit through any more festive gatherings. I rarely get invites to other people’s parties and holiday dinners. Being the guy who fills up his mug with gin and retreats to a dim corner, my presence doesn’t add much to the festivities.

Some people might assume that my aversion to cherished cultural traditions stems from loneliness or some kind of personality disorder, but that couldn’t be further from the truth. I prefer my own company, and I wouldn’t be any more inclined to celebrate if I had others to celebrate with.

You see, this season makes me wonder more and more each year what the actual fuck it is that we’re supposed to be celebrating.

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