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Showing posts from January, 2018

Picking A Single Thread to Pull

There is something you need to know about a barrel roll. If you are a passenger in a plane that is doing a barrel roll you are convinced that the pilot has lost all sanity and has put your lives in the hands of fate in some misguided hope that physics will not pick this day to blink and that somehow, after what seems like forever, the plane and the contents of your stomach, will right themselves and continue on their merry way.
If you are the pilot performing the barrel roll, you know that exactly all of that is true.
For those of you that might be unclear about the whole barrel roll metaphor, go to and type in 'do a barrel roll' and hit enter. I'll wait.
OK, everyone back on the same page? Good. 
I bring that example up for two reasons. One, I think it's a pretty killer opening for a book I have yet to even think of using it in. And two, my life is in a barrel roll right now. From the outside I'm sure it looks tricky and neat and breathtaking. But there…

The Molasses Marathon and RBC Week 3: The Magic Virus (excerpt)

This is now the fourth week of 2018.  By all accounts I should be hard at work on my 4th short story in the Ray Bradbury Challenge (and technically, I am. More on that in a bit).
But Todd, if you're working on the 4th story, where is the story from Week 3??
That is a good and fair question. The short answer is, it's in the same place as the story for Week 4 and Week 5 and Week 6.  All four stories are in various stages from outline to draft to oh my god I will probably never let anyone see that!!
I had a bit of a moment last week where things just clicked in to place about this Ray Bradbury Challenge. He was convinced that its impossible to write 52 bad stories in a row.  I'm convinced to prove him wrong. But at the end of the day, even if I do churn out 52 bad stories in a row, I will have still written 52 stories. And there is a good chance one of them will be good.
Week 1 and 2 hummed along pretty well. The stories flowed and had a natural point where it made sense (to m…

Turn And Face The Strange

Disclaimer: This post is not really for you. It's for me. It will quite likely be disjointed and random and provide too much information in to the way my mind works through stuff. If you want the rainbow-farting unicorn/everything is awesome all the time Todd, you probably shouldn't read this. This might shatter any preconceived notions you have of me. That guy hangs out a lot on Facebook. This post deals with an epiphany that I suffered last week, and to be perfectly frank, sorting things out in this blog is cheaper than therapy. And the other side of it (the side that is for you) is this.  If you recognize yourself in anything I've put down here, then you know one thing--you're not alone. 
Still with me? Great.  Let's begin.
I still don't know what I was waiting for And my time was running wild A million dead-end streets And every time I thought I'd got it made It seemed the taste was not so sweet So I turned myself to face me But I've never caught a glimpse

RBC Week 2: The Party Crasher

We are in the second week of the year 2018, and I am (so far) sticking to this particular goal/resolution. I'm speaking of course of Ray Bradbury's challenge to new writers. Part of this challenge (and the one that many writers including myself seem to focus on) is to write a short story a week for 52 week, as it was "impossible to write 52 bad stories in a row."

I present to you week 2's entry, well on my way to proving or disproving Mr. Bradbury's assertion.



The Party Crasher
by Todd Skaggs

The red bulb of the joint’s cherry grew with a fiery intensity as I heard him inhale.

Moments later it was floating my way in the dark room. A strained, disembodied voice spoke to me out of the pitch dark, “you want a hit off of this? It’s the good stuff. It’s the stuff the government grows but doesn’t talk about. The Church gives it to me on account of what I do for them.”

I reached below the glowing amber dot and felt the joint. As I took it my hand bru…

Lost In The Forest All Alone

Sitting in a Starbucks off of the interstate. It doesn't really matter which state, or even which highway for that matter. Nor does the particular Starbucks matter. They are all the same. There is the corporate individuality that is not wholly unique to a franchise coffee shop. Some things are the same. Some touches of the individual manager's flair are evident. But for the most part they are the same. They are this way because it works.

As a writer, I personally take comfort in the fact that I can go in to just about any Starbucks in the country and get about the same experience. The menu will be the same. The seating will be approximately the same, and the vibe will be very similar. Some have a better feel than others.

Not 2 miles from this Starbucks is another Starbucks. It's darker on the inside. And it's smaller. The fuzzy phrase they are looking for is probably intimate. It doesn't feel intimate to me. It feels cramped. I can't stretch my brain there. My …

RBC Week 1: Last Chance

One of the 2018 goals I have set for myself as a writer is to follow the advice of one of my author-heroes, Ray Bradbury. He is said to have advised new writers to write a story a week for 52 weeks as it was impossible to write 52 bad stories in a row. We shall see.  With your indulgence, here is the first.  Enjoy.


Last Chance by Todd Skaggs

The first thing that hits you when you walk through the door of the Last Chance Diner is the smell of grease traps that are about twenty years past needing to be empty. The second is the thin film of desperation that covers everything. It hangs in the air like the wisp of a spider web you never mean to walk through yet somehow shake off for the next few minutes, wondering where in the world it came from.

The music coming out of the two tweed covered boxes hanging above the griddle and filling the nearly empty dining room was clearly from some station. The music seemed right at home amongst the table tops and booths that had been recovere…