Owen Schaefer is a Canadian writer, editor and playwright living in the U.K. He writes fiction, speculative fiction, and breezy articles on writing, AI, and other nonsense. Attacks of poetry may occur.
More at owenschaefer.com
Things I've Learned While Writing My First Novel, Lesson 1
A few years ago, I made the dubious decision to pursue my master’s degree in creative writing. I got into a respected program, completed my classes and produced a number of short stories, poems and stage-plays. All that was left was to write a novel, which would serve as my thesis.
- Runner-Up in Return of the Night Owl Challenge
The FollyRunner-Up in Return of the Night Owl Challenge
In the morning, he calls a cab for Ivy. It’s a day of low, racing clouds that run dark shadows across the fields. The two of them watch the car as it turns into the drive and scrapes against the hedgerows. The cab driver curses behind the windscreen, then lowers the window, scowling.
Bee & Iris
Sometimes, at night, Bee dreams of Iris. They are not human dreams, but she imagines they are something similar. When she performs diagnostics in her nest, after her daily recordings are wiped, she finds segments of memory that are still accessible. They appear in bits and pieces, usually images from the day. But sometimes she gets flickers of past years, partial and corrupted. She will let these play, sift through them: Iris at work in her office tower. Iris at the beach. Iris on the train, her arms full of groceries.
The Top Five Reasons Your Date Was A Disaster
1. You That’s right. You. Because you went ahead and joined a dating site for the first time, knowing full well that you’ve spent years telling your friends how much better it is to meet people in person — through work, clubs, classes, bars. But you did it. You did it because you needed to face the fact that this theory has been failing you. Everyone you meet at work or in bars seems to be uninterested or taken. And clubs and classes are just no longer something that is in your life. Maybe you needed a more direct approach.
A series of taps at his wrist alerts Nathan that a delivery has arrived. His vitaband lights up with the checkmark that indicates it is government approved and sterile, so he swipes the alert away and gets up from his desk. He can hear Edgar, already aware of the rover’s arrival, racing back and forth in front of the door with that manic energy that all mini-pins seem to have. Tiny doberman pinschers with the tension of a coiled spring.
The Point of Purchasing: How Spring Cleaning Really Begins at the Shop
The big clean I no longer do spring cleaning. No, I have not decided to become a hoarder. But for many years now, my spring cleaning has become a December o-souji, which is basically the Japanese term for a big or important cleaning. The new year o-souji is a deep house-cleaning, one-part practical clean-up and one-part ritual cleansing — symbolically ridding the house of bad luck from the past year, and sprucing it up for the spirits that will bring good luck in the next.
How NOT to Title a Short Story
A story by any other name So, you have finished your short story, and now you need to give it a name. If you’re anything like me, this is the part you hate. If only we could pull up one of those baby-naming sites and just pick something — call this story Nathan or that one Kathleen. But no. Sadly, we actually need to think about it.
The first week of chemo, Peter sits by you and rambles about everything and nothing for the sake of distraction. You’ve just learned about the money dumped into your bank account — twenty-thousand pounds that isn’t yours. It’s been there for two weeks, which shows how often you bother to check. The bank app labels it a deposit, but it’s a mistake.
All Tomorrow's Lives
I am in Colorado, flying above the forest. My body-extension drone hovers above the beginnings of the wildfire that will burn an area the size of Manhattan. There is a plume of black smoke, and the air has become turbulent. Twenty people will die in this fire, most of them firefighters. I can only assume this is the best possible outcome. I have no access to the information in my past, but if I were to judge by the mobilisation of crews here to fight it, and its proximity to the town of Kittredge, I believe it could have been a high-casualty event.