• The Quality of Short Stories (is impressive)

    Men want a lady in the streets but a vixen in the sheets. Readers want a poet in the short stories but trash in the novels. Case in point: In my research and experience on short stories, it feels like you can get away with “bad writing” in novels. Case in point: E.L. James, Twilight, and this from Colleen Hoover. But for short stories, you need to curlicue and detail every sentence until it shines like an insane piece of art made by an autistic person. I guess people who write short stories (or maybe those who edit them) demand higher quality. This is what they mean when these agents…

  • typewriter and notebooks

    Two Short Stories Sold

    Well, I must be doing something right because in the past two weeks I’ve sold two short stories to themed anthologies. One was Fairyland, which will be going into an anthology of fairy stories. Fairyland is an old story I wrote way back before I wrote my first novel. (or maybe during?) It was part of my effort to follow Stephen King’s advice for getting published — get a few short stories under your belt, fill out your resume, then submit to agents so they can see you’ve got some publications to back you up. Personally, I really liked its concept but I was an amateur writer so it got…

  • bookshelf books

    The Books I Read: March – April 2024

    The Best American Short Stories 2022 edited by Andrew Sean Greer So when I first started this “year of short stories” I asked Reddit how to write one, because I don’t know how. I write novels. I do long form. What they said was “read short stories”. So this is my first foray into sampling what others are doing in the space. All I know is I was glad when it was done. Did I learn anything? Well, I learned that I am way out of my league when it comes to reaching the kind of quality and skill needed to express an idea in a fancy literary way. But…

  • book crystal ball foreshadowing

    Foreshadowing: Some Post-Midsommar Thoughts

    Foreshadowing is one of those things you learn about in English class that really smart authors put in so they can tell the world how smart and clever they are. But what does it mean? What does it do? What is the purpose of foreshadowing? I just saw Midsommar, a movie with a lot of foreshadowing. I will keep my opinions about the film to myself as they are not relevant to this discussion, but I want to talk about how the movie uses foreshadowing and how it demonstrates that there’s a good way and a bad way to do it. In the beginning, the main character sleeps under a…

  • holding up books

    Short Stories: How It’s Going So Far (Quarterly Check-In)

    Well, I’m still having some trouble making myself write. And when I start a story, it’s a slow ramp-up–like a heavy truck accelerating. Some sessions, all I get down is the first line. Next time, maybe the first paragraph or two. Next time, half a page. Then I can cruise and get five to six hundred words out, which is my standard half-hour session (I’m using the other half for walking to lose weight before a trip to England.) Last month, I drafted, revised, and submitted two fresh short stories to various contests. I found this website that posts opportunities for magazine or contest submissions, and I thought it would…

  • chants of sennar

    Things I Like: Chants of Sennar

    I haven’t talked about video games lately, but I’ll talk about this one. These days I find myself gravitating towards smaller indie games rather than Triple AAA big shots like Nier: Automata or Starfield or Dragon’s Dogma. Who the hell wants to play one video game forever? That’s like eating the same thing for dinner over and over and over. I want to be exposed to all kinds of experiences. Unique ones. Artistic ones. But with the glut of games on Steam these days (seriously, just look at their “New and Trending” list) how am I supposed to discern what’s good from bad? The Triple AAA games always get the…

  • analyzing the mcu villains banner

    Analyzing the Marvel Cinematic Universe Villains: Green Goblin (Spider-Man)

    Green Goblin Spider-Man (2002) There wouldn’t be an MCU without the one-two punch of X-Men and Spider-Man (2002). Green Goblin may not be the best villain. Heck, he may not be the best in the Spider-Man universe. But you remember him. Characteristics and Powers: Green Goblin makes a memorable villain because of an over-the-top performance by Willem Dafoe. But that’s what makes him so scary, because he can go from calm/rational to unhinged in a second. And you believe you are under threat because you don’t know what he’s going to do. Unfortunately, it’s not the greatest costume or powers. I don’t know about his comic book origins, but in…

  • bookshelf books

    The Books I Read: January – February 2024

    Golden Son (Red Rising #2) by Pierce Brown I don’t know what defines military science fiction, but this is it. And I’m sorry I didn’t recognize it in my review of the first book when I compared it to Hunger Games because I’m an idiot. Hunger Games was about survivalism. This is about strategy, tactics, politics, and war. I’m an idiot not to see it for what it is. But that doesn’t mean it’s bad. In fact, it’s a testament to how good the book is that it disguises it so well. In Red Rising, it was basically setting up pieces — the character creation and then “the war games”…

  • The Best Stephen King Covers

    I talk about Stephen King a fair amount on this blog, and that’s natural. A hundred years from now we’re only going to remember two authors — Stephen King and J.K. Rowling. But one’s had a ton more books, so I thought it would be fun to go through the various covers (at least the ones I read) and find my favorites. For factors, I thought about marketing and being true to the actual content and themes of the book. There are two important things to communicate about Carrie — that this is the story about a girl with telekinesis and its thematically about violent revenge. A lot of covers…

  • analyzing the mcu villains banner

    Analyzing the Marvel Cinematic Universe Villains: Magento (X-Men)

    MAGNETO X-Men (2000) I’m starting with this movie because this is the real inception point for the MCU. If not for this movie and its compatriot Spider-Man (coming up next!) there would be no Tony Stark or Avengers. So I think it’s important to examine the precursors and their staying power with audiences. I don’t think it was a great movie — the problem with the X-Men is that it’s character soup — but after the chintzy animated series, it was a gourmet meal. Characteristics and Powers: Can bend and shape metal to his will. This includes stopping bullets in midair and some electromagnetism. And since just about everything in…