Creation Myth for “Text Based”

Where do you get your ideas?

“Text Based” is actually a reprint, having previously appeared in the September 2010 issue of (the now defunct) Aoife’s Kiss, from Sam’s Dot Publishing. When I first sent out “Text Based,” it got some interest for being so weird, but kept getting rejected. Notes from editors like:

That’s an interesting mind puzzle. My assistant loved it but I was less enthusiastic, so we’ll pass this time. Keep ’em coming.

(Good advice. That one was from New Myths, which eventually published one of my stories.)


too short and too unorthodox to suit my needs at this time.

The story, which I call my “stupid joke flash fiction,” has obvious roots in text-based video games or interactive fiction games such as Zork and The Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy.

But the idea of writing a short story in the form of interactive fiction comes from my time at SFSU’s creative writing program. We had a guest writer speak to our class during senior project, and he shared several of his stories, including one (unpublished at the time) that had a lot to do with the text-based genre, though I can’t remember exactly how strictly it adhered to the format. That writer was Jim Nelson, and his story “A Concordance of One’s Life” is worth checking out.

The last five lines of “Text Based” come almost directly from my obsessive experience with NetHack.

Five years after originally publishing it, I realized that I could send out stories as reprints, and released it back into the wild. This time it only got rejected a couple of times before being accepted at Kasma Magazine. This is the first time I’ve ever had illustrations accompany a story, and Jose Baetas’s art for it is amazing.

Original story rejections: 13
Reprint story rejections: 2
Black and white inks.
The illustration process.
Full color illustration.
Animated gif.