Like most young writers, I started out by doing short stories. I figured I was going to become a professional fiction writer, but the better I got at writing stories, the more I realized that I really wasn't very good at it. I was fairly strong at creating plots and themes, but my character development was horrible. My characters were basically cardboard manifestations of my plot ideas, and not living, breathing people. You can't write great fiction that way.

Eventually I realized my skills were better suited to nonfiction and humor writing. I wasn't interested in putting on the puppet show anymore, to borrow a phrase from Kurt Vonnegut. Purely for historical value, here are some of the most notable stories from my younger days, unedited, embarrassing warts and all. There actually are some clever and original plot concepts to be found here, despite vast passages of clumsy dialogue and prose. And who knows, I might just have a hilarious comedy novel or two in me yet. Consider yourself warned.

He's Gonna Find Out Who's Naughty and Nice
What if Santa Claus was the Devil? A horror story worthy of becoming a beloved Christmas classic.
And Lo, There Shall Come a Salad Bar
The supreme being in the universe is the salad bar lady at Bob's Country Steakhouse. And that's just the beginning of this rambling steamroller of a farce.
Ten Letters, Stars with a "C," Stupid Waste of Time
There's this cruciverbalist, which is a guy who creates crossword puzzles, you see. And he's a vampire.
Jailbreak Over the Fourth Wall
An existential pop-culture nightmare in which the characters in a crappy TV sitcom revolt and plot to escape their fictional prison.
Filter Kings, or, Between Swelling and Syphilis
A naturalistic story about coffee filters and the importance of basic human sympathy.

Fancy Renerings