I’m Jason Herrboldt. I’m a writer, a musician, and a software developer living in Minneapolis. There are links to my code and music blogs below, but this one is dedicated to creative writing.

I was compelled to start writing because of the many novels I inhaled between semesters as a computer science major at the University of Minnesota. Particularly influential were Foucault’s Pendulum, Infinite Jest, Ghost StoryHouse of Leaves, and Donna Tartt’s unforgettable The Secret History.

While none of these could be considered science fiction, my genre, there was something in these particular books that sucked the air out of my lungs and made my skull throb. For the first time in my life I had a visceral reaction to literature, and the only cure seemed to be trying my own hand.

I wrote my first short story in 2010, wrote a few more in 2011 and 2012, and finally said “Fuck it—I’m writing a novel!” sometime in early 2013. The end result, finished in 2016, is a sci-fi thriller with the working title Pareidolia. The next year I decided to self-publish one chapter at a time to my blog. I figured most writers don’t sell their first novel, and it would be a good way to build up a readership from scratch.

I believe the amount of hubris involved to declare “I’m a writer now” is enough to topple over a cement mixer. In the last few years I’ve learned more about the process of writing than I ever thought possible, and it’s been a terrifically humbling experience. Lessons learned include how to meet the reader halfway, how to keep backstory off the stage (except for when it’s absolutely necessary), how to not let good writing get in the way of a good story, and how to let go when the plot wants to run screaming into uncharted territory without my permission.

Pareidolia was a very long exercise in teaching myself how to write, one that continues to this day. (See the table of contents here.) I spent three and a half years perfecting it, and I hope to take those lessons into my next venture. Because of this, whatever comes next will be leaner, meaner, and (hopefully) weirder.

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