Hello, friends, and welcome to day three of the A to Z Challenge.  For this year’s challenge, I’m telling you a little more about the universe of Tomorrow News Network, my upcoming Sci-Fi adventure series.  In today’s post, C is for:


Dear readers, I know some of you are fellow writers, so today I’m going to offer you some writing advice.  You know those abandoned manuscripts and story ideas you have collecting dust?  You know all those writing projects that just didn’t work out the way you wanted?  They don’t have to go to waste.  Think of them, instead, as a resource to be used for future writing projects.

Way back when I was an angsty teenager, I wrote a short story about a cyborg named E.K. Cognis.  Being a cyborg, Mr. Cognis had no emotions, but he was curious about what emotions might be like.  So Cognis and a fellow cyborg named K.T. Macnera downloaded a bunch of emotions into their brains. It was a profoundly mind-altering, mind-expanding experience.

As I said, I was an angsty teenager.  Downloadable emotions were supposed to be a metaphor for drug use.  Initially, Mr. Cognis and Ms. Macnera only wanted to “experiment” with emotions, but it’s not long before they become addicted.  After that, their status as upstanding members of cyborg society deteriorates rapidly.

This may be the single worst story I’ve ever written, a case of a young writer trying way too hard to be edgy.  The original story may or may not be saved on a floppy disk somewhere.  I will likely never find it, and I’m okay with that.

But when I started work on my Tomorrow News Network series, I soon realized that my main character—time traveling journalist Talie Tappler—would need a cameraman.  And when I thought of Mr. Cognis, I realized I had a character already made and ready to slip right into that role.

Cognis’s ongoing addiction to emotions creates plenty of opportunities for both humor and conflict in the Tomorrow News Network stories.  So does his complicated relationship with Ms. Macnera, who now works for T.N.N. as an assignment editor.

Tomorrow News Network has salvaged a great many concepts and characters from my old, abandoned stories.  Mr. Cognis was only the first. Story scavenging (as I like to call it) has made the process of creating a whole new Sci-Fi universe so much easier.  So don’t feel bad if you have some old, abandoned story ideas that never worked out.  Treat them as resources that can be used for building your next story world.

Next time on Tomorrow News Network: A to Z, turning the World Wide Web into the Galaxy Wide Web is far easier said than done.

13 responses »

  1. Frédérique says:

    Great way to unbury old stories! I love this character, he will be the perfect cameraman ;))
    C is for Colour

    Liked by 1 person

    • J.S. Pailly says:

      Yup. Having a camera for an eye is a real advantage in Mr. Cognis’s line of work! Thanks for visiting, and I love the quilts you’ve been showing off on your blog. So beautiful!


  2. I am loving the series so far! Think it is gonna be a great book. Waiting for more tidbits about the universe

    Liked by 1 person

  3. rolandclarke says:

    Great reminder to us writers not to let those old scribblings go to waste. Writing exercises with possible nuggets to be recrafted.

    Liked by 1 person

  4. I already have enough of written junk that I probably should throw away but now I’m inclined not too.. also laziness xD

    Liked by 1 person

  5. If you ever find that I old story I will be first in line to read it

    Liked by 1 person

    • J.S. Pailly says:

      Initial reaction: Oh, if I ever find that old story, I will make sure it never sees the light of day.

      On second thought: Well, maybe it’s not as bad as I remember. I don’t know. Maybe it would be worth keeping after all.

      Liked by 2 people

  6. Very sound advice J.S. Never throw out things you write down, re-read them regularly, it’s amazing the insights we rediscover. How on earth did I think so clearly back when I was sixteen, or 25, or 40, I often say to myself. I had the solution and idea all along, but now I see it !
    Have an inspiring month of May, and delve into those old notebooks .. or floppy disks. Take care.

    Liked by 2 people

    • J.S. Pailly says:

      I like to think we have the right ideas at the wrong times. Mr. Cognis was a good idea, but I put him in the wrong story. Fortunately I held on to that idea, and eventually I found the right story for that character.

      Liked by 2 people

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