Imagine if you will, a hoarde of termites emerging from the woodwork to form a large elephant—wiggling ears and all.
Now imagine you had the power to summon these insects. Far-fetched? Absolutely. But that's no obstacle to success in the world of science fiction.
And that world has a new inhabitant in Scott T. Barnes of Lake Forest, whose mindbending science fiction story "Insect Sculptor" was chosen in the latest anthology of L. Ron Hubbard Presents Writers of the Future.
Barnes will be at the Saturday at noon.
"Insect Sculptor" was picked out of 10,000 entries, and winning wasn't a fluke, Barnes said. He's sent nine original short stories to the anthology over the last three years. One got an "honorable mention," which encouraged him that he was on the right track.
He credits his success to discipline. He said after spending his younger days teaching English in Paris and Mexico City, it took awhile to adjust to the rigor of writing every day.
Now the father of two small girls, ages 1 and 3, Barnes does part time work for his family in property management and spends some time each day writing.
"If you're really driven, have some talent and discipline, you can make it," he said.
Besides being published in a 40,000-circulation book, Barnes was thrilled with the reception he received from publisher Galaxy Press. The most memorable moment? Being on stage and watching a troope of dancers interpreting his story.
Barnes said he doesn't need inspiration to write.
"Stories are always coming to my head," he said.
That's been true at least since he was 11, when he wrote a 60-page story that relied heavily on the Dungeons and Dragons universe, he said.
Now Barnes's life has taken a new twist. His wife, a chemical engineer, has decided to quit her job to spend more time with the children.
How their lives will change is still up in the air, he said.
"I don't know if I can do everything," he said. "I may have to give up something, but it won't be writing."
One bit of advice he offers new writers? "You can dream about being rich, and some people make it, but every writer tells you the satisfaction comes from writing for yourself."