As noted in a recent set of comments (from Vlad Gonzales, no less), I've been asked if I could submit something to Psicom Publishing's next speculative fiction collection. I find myself only too glad to toss something into their mix, as long as they feel that whatever I write will be up to the level of their other writers' works.
The only concern I have at this point, however, lies in the deadline. If I'm going to hand anything in, it's going to have to be by the end of next week. That'll give me only five days to come up with something that'll knock Psicom's socks off, or at least impress them enough to print it.
If I had run into this sort of situation ten years ago, it would immediately have given me a good excuse to pull something from an archived pool of ideas (as a lot of writers seem to do nowadays). I can't do that right now, however, because of two particularly good reasons: One, I lost a lot of data in my hard drive crash a couple of years back; and Two, I usually don't like using a bunch of old, stale, rehashed ideas. Besides, I've grown far too used to cooking with fresh ideas right now to literally start heating up a batch of TV dinners.
So now I have five days to come up with about four thousand words' worth of story, with little in the way of inspiration to guide me. That's a fair challenge, although I've been historically inconsistent with challenges like these. The last time I encountered a one-week-or-less deadline, I came up utterly empty. The time before that, though, I put together a nice five-thousand word epic on cybernetic zombies. To say that this is a will-he-or-won't-he situation is certainly an understatement.
If Psicom's willing to be a little patient with me, however, then I'll see what I can come up with. They do only want a relatively simple plotline that takes into account a bit of pop culture, after all...