Zak Hartzell on a road in the Blue Ridge Mountains.

Currently at work on a full-length compilation of stories & poems.
Release: Mid-2024

Stories, Scripts, & Poems


I developed an overarching narrative for Otherworld in collaboration with artists, engineers, and an operations director. In communication with these teams, I wove story elements and puzzles into the interactive experience of the 32,000 sq. ft. interactive installation. | Time Magazine’s World’s Coolest Places 2019

People walking around inside the immersive Otherworld Ohio experience.

Dustbowl Children

This essay follows a cross-country Greyhound trip in the middle of a record-setting snowstorm. It was anthologized in a collection called The Year through Texas literary publication Crack the Spine.

The Year A Crack the Spine Anthology

Out of Love

This (decidedly love-free) poem was accepted in Carnegie Mellon University’s Oakland Review | Fall 2023 Edition

Carnegie Mellon University emblem.

Cheyenne Smith

This glimpse of an interpersonal moment at a bus station in Georgia is mostly true. It’s in some inspiring company in the summer ’21 journal from Corpus Callosum Press.

A dirt road winding through hilly plains with the text, "Plainsongs Summer 2021" in white.


This short exploration of the ephemeral made its way into a publication from Rubbertop Review out of the University of Akron in Ohio.

Rubbertop Review Volume 11


This collaboration with Trapped Columbus was my first project in the interactive narrative space. I wrote, sold, and acted in this script about a hungover band manager.