Wednesday, March 30, 2016

Nugget #77 -- Lizards and Guns from Nowhere

I tend to look for inspiration without realizing it -- while I listen 
to the radio, while I read, while I stare off into nowhere and 
happen to see a cloud shaped like a giant lizard holding a 
machine gun -- it just happens. It's not something I can plan. 

Tuesday, March 29, 2016

Chuck Dixon Doesn't Need Your Permission To Write

Sure, most of you may know Chuck Dixon as one of the greatest Batman and Punisher writers alive today, but what you may not know is that he is also a best-selling novelist and author of both the Levon Cade action/adventure series and the Bad Times series.

So, in an effort to help share the word about his latest prose work, I was lucky enough find that he had some time to devote to an interview for the ol' blog here.

Tell us a bit about your latest work.

Chuck Dixon: It's called Levon's Run. It's the third book in my series about Levon Cade. He's a military vet who inadvertently becomes a vigilante crime fighter. In this book he's on the run from an alphabet soup of federal law agencies and he has his eleven year old daughter along. The series kind of scratches my Punisher/Death Wish itch.

What are the themes and subjects you tend to revisit in your work?

Chuck Dixon: I never write to themes. Themes are for others to find in my work. I'm drawn to action stories set in almost any genre. My novels have included military action, apocalyptic survival, time travel, zombies, and I'm working on a western.

What would be your dream project?

Chuck Dixon: I'm living the dream right now. E-books offer me freedom from the gatekeepers. No pitches. No meetings. I don't need permission to write. I have a ready audience and I wake up every morning eager to entertain them.

If you have any former project to do over to make it better, which one would it be, and what would you do?

Chuck Dixon: If I were writing the Punisher again I'd provide him with a law enforcement antagonist, a Javert who's always hunting for him. It';s the one element I think was missing from my Frank Castle stories.

What inspires you to write?

Chuck Dixon: I can't help it. It's a compulsion. And comics taught me to write even when I don;t feel like it. I'm closing in the last chapters of a novel now and can't wait to work on them. I hope I instill that enthusiasm in the reader.

What writers have influenced your style and technique?

Chuck Dixon: Donald Westlake and Edgar Rice Burroughs are tops. Westlake for pacing and humor. ERB for action and sense of wonder. There's also Ben Haas who wrote westerns under the name John Benteen. That guy could write compelling action with a clarity that allowed you to see it happening. There are others. Lots of others. I've always been a compulsive reader.

Where would you rank writing on the "Is it an art or it is a science continuum?" Why?

Chuck Dixon: I'm not sure what writing is that continuum. It's certainly a craft. I never think of it as an art. I have a quote from Stave Martin hanging on my wall. It's my sic transit gloria. He said, "Entertainment can be art. But if you set out to make art you're an idiot."

Any other upcoming projects you would like to plug?

Chuck Dixon: My fifth Bad Times novel, Sons of Heaven, will be out in May.

For more information, visit:

Monday, March 28, 2016

The Writer Will Take Your Questions Now #348 -- Novels in the Bathroom

How often do you actually read? How often do you read a book, 
as opposed to smaller options like newspapers or magazines?

I read all the time, but it's mostly articles online and stuff like that. I try to read several short stories or chapters from novels each week (often in the bathroom, when I can get my official *Sean time* during the week). I do try to sit down either at home or during slow times at work at least once per week for about an hour or so of devoted reading time. And of course, as the manager of a comic book store, I read about 35-45 comic each week to keep up on the product knowledge I need to run the store.

Sunday, March 27, 2016

An Opportunity for New Pulp Writers

From Tommy Hancock:

I am extremely proud to announce that the well read and popular Venture Galleries website has asked me to do a column each week in addition to my reviews that will focus on authors writing pulp fiction today, what many call New Pulp. This new column, part commentary/part interview, will debut on Monday, April 4th at

Any authors who write pulp fiction, referred to by some as genre fiction, that would like to be a part of this column, email me at I will be reviewing each author who contacts me to make sure they fit the profile we're looking for and then will schedule writers in the order emails are received. A part of this will be my comments/thoughts on each author's works and/or style of writing, so providing me with a copy (digital or print) of at least one of your works would be suggested, especially if I'm not familiar with your writing.

Friday, March 25, 2016

Ideas Like Bullets -- The Depression of Creatives

by Tommy Hancock

A few weeks ago in a previous post, I used a phrase to classify writers, artists, sculptors, performers, pretty much anyone in the arts field that uses their talents to make or form something, be it a book, a performance, or a statue.  creatives.  Not a term I personally coined in this way, but one that I agree with and use often.   I open this way because what I want to talk about is a particular aspect of being a creative that I fully believe each who can wear that title deals with at some point or another, and many of us, myself most definitely included, on a regular basis.

Everyone in the world is special in some way, this I believe.  Some would argue that everyone in the world has a fire of creativity in them, the ability to imagine and bring things to a unique life.  I could argue this point with very salient examples to the contrary, but that’s a whole other mountain to die on.  When one is a creative, there is a passion, a volcano of emotions that percolates, rumbles, and finally erupts into expression, either on a page or a canvas or in a song or across a computer screen.  And what is crafted is not simply a piece of utilitarian necessity or padded luxury. No, it’s a vibrant, active part of both its maker and the experience its maker wishes others to have.  So, yes, all in the world are special, but creatives, for the aforementioned reason are set apart.

Emotions run high, at a near constant fever pitch with most creatives.  Where a pleasant event may make one person smile, it could potentially stir within a creative type a new idea, give birth to an entire world.  Anger irritates everyone, but in a creative, it also inspires an almost decadent form of invention from destruction, feeding the intense, raging skills of a creative, driving him or her to new heights, to the edge of their own private insanity, maybe.  Yes, creatives are emotional usually to an extreme, even those who have some skill at concealing it.

Although this passionate embrace of their emotional selves is largely what fuels creatives, it’s also a double edged sword that cuts so many of us.  Creatives also experience what can only be described as Depression, and although everyone can experience situational depression and there are those, creative or not who deal with clinical depression every day, there is something intense, not more, but differently when a creative is in the throes of depression because of the very essence of their being, because of what they were born to do.

Again, let me clarify this.  I am not belittling depression or saying in some way that creative people are special because they have a different sort of issue to overcome.  I have worked in or near the Mental Health field for over twenty years and have a clear and all too often up close understanding of how depression can ravage anyone and has touched everyone in some way.  I am offering a perspective on a particular group of people that suffer from Depression with their own aspects added to it, one of which I am. 

Some people really find it hard to believe that someone who writes books…or performs on stage… or can make a plain piece of paper suddenly into a fantasy land replete with penciled dragons actually experience depression related to the fantastic talent they have.  Not to the point of people believing creatives can’t be depressed, that would be silly, but more along the lines of “you can tell stories so well. How can writing or the act of it or being involved in it ever be depressing?”

It’s very hard to explain when I try to decide how to do so in my head.  So, it may come out rather oddly here, but we’ll give it a try.  The reasons that a creative can become depressed or get down about their work, about their talent are numerous, but many relate to how a creative ties him or herself directly into the work they produce.  Although there are a few out there who probably have the ability to just blindly turn out paintings or books or songs with little to no personal investment, most of us cannot. Most creatives quite literally put at least a little of themselves into every single work they make.  Be it a distinct memory that fuels it or simply a level of commitment that would boggle many minds, we pour some of who we are into the things that we create for others to hopefully enjoy.  And with that donation of self comes a lot of things.

Self-doubt is probably the most notable aspect of giving yourself to your art.  Does anyone want to see this? Is it good enough? Are they going to laugh at it?  What if it has no impact? What if I don’t make a dime off of this?  These questions are just a few of the slings and arrows we creatives throw at ourselves, many of us over everything we do.  Even those who don’t consciously focus on these querulous questions do at some point worry over how their work will be received or if it’s even worth it to do.  This path leads into a spiral for many creatives, that often unfortunately ends in them never going beyond one, if even finishing that, work.  They lose their way in the forest of their own insecurities and never ever get out, blending in with everyone else and allowing the thing that they wanted to give birth to, to add to the world to simply never ever be.
And yes, as you would imagine, that act of doing nothing, of not creating, adds a heavy, even dangerous edge to an already intense despair.

Another issue that can darken a creative’s perspective is one that I deal with regularly, that of completing, finishing work, and keeping up with all that that entails.  I am a self driven workhorse, someone who is so involved and eaten up with what he wants to create that I put myself into everything I can get my hands on.  And I get behind, even when I’m a hundred percent.  But, life gets in the way.  And projects slide and stack up and fall on me.  And then there’s the sudden inspiration to do one thing, working on it awhile, then seeing the next new shiny and moving to it, leaving the other cooling its heels as dust collects on it. Yeah, guilty of that too.  And whether it is being overwhelmed and behind or simply not being able to focus long enough to finish something, you end up with a lot of incomplete works and someone who is doubting their ability to follow through, who sometimes ends up resenting the choices they made to get as far into this as they did.  This feeling is not helpful in any way or fashion for anyone.

One other factor that often contributes to the depression of creatives is the passion versus payoff dilemma.  Yes, we’d all love to make our livings doing the creating we do best, but the reality of it is most of us never will be a full time whatever type of creative we are.  Many of us will have people buy our things and will likely be able to go have a few good meals off the proceeds or pay a light bill, but that’ll be it.  Some won’t ever get that much. And yes, some will hit it big and blow up to be the next King, Patterson, Cussler, Spielberg, etc.  But that population is small, extremely small, and yet it’s the goal most of us set our eyes on at some point.  The goal that ends up being a reason we hate ourselves because it’s one that we don’t reach when we think we should.  And obviously, you can’t eat passion, so if you’re relying on your art to feed you, then there has to be a payoff for you.  The struggle with this concept of creating for some reason beyond cash or simply to make a living and the battle to find a balance between the two has cost many a creative a sleepless night and worse, unfortunately.

All of that explanation was done to get to the point of what to do about it.  Obviously, there’s the standard process of talking to someone or getting professional help if you’re simply too depressed to deal with it on your own.  Again, background in the field for 20 something years. There are good therapists and resources available that don’t involve locking you in a rubber room or necessarily putting pills down your gullet.  But if you’re at the point where your depression is such that you are walling yourself away, then it’s really time to reach out, to get help.  And there are people out there waiting to help you, I promise.

If you’re not to that point, but are constantly dealing with the up and down swings of being a creative, then I have to tell you something.  There isn’t a magic pill. I don’t have a solution scrawled on ancient parchment or a crystal that I can plug into a keyhole that will fix all the things which waylay us.  The biggest reason I don’t have that is it doesn’t exist and what may work for you may not work for the creative beside you.   So, no, no instantaneous fix.  

Instead, I have advice, or if you want to really know, I have what I use as my mantra lately.  It’s a logic of sorts that many creatives apply to the process already, just in regular production of whatever they come up with.  And yet it has special significance when one is drowning in their own pool of hopelessness and disillusionment. 

Just Do. Go forth and Do.  Doesn’t matter if you’re a writer with a deadline tomorrow or a sculptor who hasn’t put chisel to stone in weeks or a dancer who agonizes over that one move you just can’t get exactly right. If you’re a creative, don’t rest, hide, argue, or resist.  Just Do.  Because what you have to offer may be just the thing, might be the magic elixir of some sort just one other person may be looking for.  And what if you’re the only wizard who can work that brand of prestidigitation?  Just Do.

Is just doing going to make you feel less crappy? No, probably not every time.  Is it going to cause all the depression to dry up. Nope, actually, sometimes it might make it worse for a while.  But when there is not blanket answer, and all there is is either Do or Don’t… Do is always the best choice.

Struggles. We all have them. And these trials are unique to each of us simply because they are ours. And sometimes we seek to overcome them, we set a plan, we make a date to begin getting over them. And we do for a while, but then again we stumble and the stumble leads back to the struggle. There comes a point, though, I believe, when all that is left to do is either overcome or simply not. A point when you have to make the struggle a nothing, take away its name, its identity, its power. And simply do, whether or not you succeed in the way you think you should. Doing is living, not struggling. Even when it's hard and you seem to fail, it's still better than drowning in what becomes an unending fight, a surrender to a struggle that we ourselves allow to live.

I'm fed up with struggling. Tired of it in so many ways. Time to start doing.

Thursday, March 24, 2016

[Link] How I Went From Writing 2,000 Words a Day to 10,000 Words a Day

by Rachel Aaron

When I started writing The Spirit War (Eli novel #4), I had a bit of a problem. I had a brand new baby and my life (like every new mother's life) was constantly on the verge of shambles. I paid for a sitter four times a week so I could get some writing time, and I guarded these hours like a mama bear guards her cubs - with ferocity and hiker-mauling violence. To keep my schedule and make my deadlines, I needed to write 4000 words during each of these carefully arranged sessions. I thought this would be simple. After all, before I quit my job to write full time I'd been writing 2k a day in the three hours before work. Surely with 6 hours of baby free writing time, 4k a day would be nothing....

But (of course), things didn't work out like that. Every day I'd sit down to add 4000 words to my new manuscript. I was determined, I was experienced, I knew my world. There was no reason I couldn't get 4k down. But every night when I hauled myself away, my word count had only increased by 2k, the same number of words I'd been getting before I quit my day job.

Read the full article:

Saturday, March 19, 2016

Want to win some money for your stories and/or poetry?

Del Garrett’s

Hello.  My name is Del Garrett.  I’m  a writer, editor and a former publisher, and for years I have been sponsoring writing contests  for the Arkansas Writers’ Conference and the White County Creative Writers Conference.  I’ve decided to offer this Triple Scoop contest to other writers  so I’m reaching out to all writing clubs and encouraging you to include me in your lists of contest sponsors.

I’m doing this for two reasons.  I like to read and I wouldn’t be where I am today if I hadn’t first submitted to contests — so this is sort of my way to give something back to other writers.  Cold, hard cash!

Here are the rules and this year’s deadline.  I hope to hear from you and award you with prize money.

Triple Scoop means three chances to win!
Welcome to the Triple Scoop Fiction and Poetry contests.  You have three chances to win.  Prizes are $50 for 1st place; $35 for 2nd place and $15 for 3rd place.  Certificates awarded with cash prizes and 1st, 2nd, and 3rd place Honorable Mention awards.

Contest Rules:
You may enter up to three submissions.  Each submission will be considered for all prizes. Entry fees are $5 for the first entry, $3 for each additional entry.  No more than three entries allowed.  Each submission must be no more than:  Fiction—three pages, double spaced, using any standard font of 12point size, on 8 ½ X 11-inch white bond paper.  Poetry—one page only, single or double spaced, using any standard font of 12-point size, on 8 ½ X 11-inch white bond paper. Do Not list your identification on the typed pages.  Staple all fiction submissions separately (do not staple poetry pages) and include a blank envelope sealed shut with the enclosed entry form provided below and your entry fee.

No erotica and no political or racial comments. 
Do not mix prose and poetry—keep each contest separate.  No e-mail, paper submissions only.  Violations may result in disqualification. 

No refunds.

Mail all submissions to:
Del Garrett, 806 Rhoden Rd, Judsonia, AR 72081. 

Make checks or money orders payable to:  B. Odell Garrett.

Do Not Send Cash. 

All submissions will be shredded 30 days after the deadline.  All rights are automatically returned to the author effective January 1st, 2017. 

We do not publish your work. Contest Deadline is December 31st, 2016.

Winners will be announced and prizes mailed on March 1st, 2017.

For more information about me, please visit my web site:


ENTRY FORM – Please Print Carefully
Fiction—Number of Entries:   1      2      3    (circle number) Total Entry Fee___________________
Poetry—Number of Entries:    1      2      3 (circle number)  Total Entry Fee___________________
Your Name ______________________________________________________________________
Pen Name for the Certificate? ________________________________________________________ Address__________________________________________________________________________ E-Mail___________________________________________________________________________

Thursday, March 17, 2016

Writers Read -- Or Do They?

It's said over and over again... Writers read. But, just how true is it? We went to a group of published authors and asked them to get real about just how often they pick up a book and read (and how and when they do that).

How often do you actually read? (Not wish you read, or would like to have readers think you read, but actually, truly read.) How often do you read a book, as opposed to smaller options like newspapers or magazines?

Bill Craig: I still read 5-7 books a week while writing and being a father and single parent with custody and taking care of house and cooking and cleaning...

Selah Janel: All the time. Literally, all the time. I tend to read as a comfort thing, and there are times I have to pry myself away to make sure I'm working on everything I need to be. I don't know if I have a Faust complex or what, but the thought that there's just so much out there to learn and experience is endlessly fascinating to me. Plus, as an author, I think it's really arrogant to want people to read my work without knowing what has contributed to the genres I write in, and at least try to keep up with what's around me. Depending on the time of year, I probably read at least a book a week, probably on average of three to five if I'm not doing a ton else. I read seven this past weekend. Granted, I fly through graphic novels and things like that really fast, but I'm a dedicated reader.

Danielle Procter Piper: Whenever I have free time. I read far more than I watch TV. I keep several books in my vehicle to read and a small stack beside the bed. I've had up to 15 books laying around partially read at any given time and could pick one up and remember what page I left off on without using a placeholder of any kind. Lately I usually have only three or four waiting for me to finish reading, and that's not including comic books.

Tamara Lowery: Not counting news stories and social media posts, I don't read nearly as much as I used to. I take a writing break a couple of times each year, usually when the story just isn't flowing anyway, and dive into my TBR pile.

Elizabeth Donald: I read vast amounts every day, since my job as a reporter requires it. Mostly news articles, government reports, news analysis, etc. Once upon a time I read an analysis that showed humans are reading more than ever before, thanks to the internet. (How much of that means greater understanding of the world or just noise is open to interpretation.) I read much fewer books, unfortunately, due to the hours of the day. Fiction novels are my reading of choice, but it takes me a lot longer than it once did to get through a book, because I get sleepy pretty fast.

Amanda Niehaus-Hard: Fiction? I read some bit of fiction very day. I had a teacher tell me to read a short story a day, every day, and this has been my practice. At minimum, I read one short story. When I’m exhausted, I’ll pick a random story from the New Yorker archive and read that without trying to analyze it. I also try to listen to the weekly New Yorker fiction podcasts so I get a better sense of how language sounds read aloud. I read in and out of my genre, but I tend to read mostly literary fiction and horror.

I very rarely read novels anymore since I’m focused on short fiction, but when I do, I read more novels in the summer when the kids can play outside. Sometimes I’ll listen to popular fiction audio books while I’m working out. I’ll read story collections on weekends. I don’t really read newspapers or magazines other than the fiction in the major magazines, but I do enjoy reading creative nonfiction. I usually just get the Best American Essays and read one of those collections through over a few months.

Kevin Noel Olson: I'm fairly regular about reading. I usually have five books going at once, though I won't necessarily finish them all. Currently, two non-fiction books and one sizable anthology. I have read five Radium Age novellas this month off the internet.

Andrew Salmon: I read every day! Without fail! As I'm preparing a lot of historical series and novels, the bulk of my reading is research related. As anyone who knows me can attest, I LOVE to do research. Absolutely LOVE IT! But I still squeeze in novels, shorts s tories and comics for my "leisure" reading. I put that in quotes because no writer can read for pure leisure. Great fiction, or non-fiction, can spark an idea, remind you of something you wanted to revise in your own work, etc.

Kristi Morgan: I read every day. I take a book with me everywhere I go. When I have free time I read. I have tried ebooks but I dont like them. Not only do they tire my eyes out, I just like the smell of a real book. I used to go to bookstores and spend way too much money, and also buy used whenever I could but lately my books have all been sent to me free since I do reviews. It has been a while since I actually paid for a book.

Van Allen Plexico: I read all the time. Novels, nonfiction, articles, papers. All kinds-- SF, crime and detective, spy, history, politics, etc. Because I want to, not because I feel I'm "supposed" to. But I can't imagine any writer not reading a lot. It would be like being a chef without ever eating food. It's critical to having a solid grasp of how to string together words, phrases and sentences in attractive ways, as well as gaining and developing an intuitive sense of how a narrative is structured.

I keep a nonfiction book open on my desk at work (currently THE YEARS OF LYNDON JOHNSON: PASSAGE OF POWER by Robert Caro) and read it whenever I have a spare moment.

Ralph Angelo, Jr.: I read a half hour a day , 3 days a week as well as a few minutes each night. I use dto read a lot more a year or so back, but things have gotten complicated.

Bobby Nash:
I read something every day. I don't get to read as much as I used to because if the responsibilities of being an adult and all that, but I read novels, comic books, and short stories on a fairly regular basis. I also read for work, but that uses a different part of the brain. I still enjoy getting lost in a good book.

M. B. Weston: I read a lot each day, but intermittently. Most of what I read is news articles.

Gordon Dymowski: I read every day - I've been trying in get into the habit of taking some quiet time to read. Usually, it's an hour to an hour and a half, and focused mainly on books. Newspapers and magazines are usually a once-a-week indulgence. (It also helps that my apartment is a ten minute walk from the local library, so even when I'm concentrating on work or research....I can grab time to scan the shelves and/or catch up on periodicals).

Ruth de Jauregui: Take a book to bed with me every night. Have one in my purse, so wherever I am, I can take in a few pages. I read a minimum of a book a week, and usually more. Plus reading articles and stuff online.

Jen Mulvihill: I probably get some reading done maybe 2 to 3 times a week about 20 minutes at least each time maybe more sometimes.

Terri Smiles: I average 2-3 articles on some topic per day, but also read fiction almost everyday. Sometimes the fiction is only 10 minutes or so, but I'm pretty consistent about reading some of a novel everyday.

Mark Bousquet: Ironically or conveniently, I talked about this a bit the other day on my blog. The idea that reading makes you a better writer is a good one, but at some level this idea relies on osmosis. That is, that just by reading more and more we'll gain knowledge about genre or story or characters. For me, it's not enough to just read. I have to go the next step and pull apart the thing I'm reading, and break it down scene by scene to see the nuts and bolts of how writers put their stories together. Then I gave an example of what I meant:

I write more than I read. I might read three books one week and then not finish the next one for a few weeks. I've usually got a fiction read and a non-fiction book going, but most of my reading time is taken up by research.

Nancy Hansen: I read for pleasure just about every day. I am primarily a novel or how-to book reader, though I will glance at a newspaper or magazine article that catches my eye.

Melissa Gilbert: I read at least a few pages of a book every day.

James Ray Tuck, Jr: I always have at least one book going at a time. Usually one print and one ebook. I also read 3-10 comic books a week (on Wednesday!) and usually about every 3rd or 4th book is a graphic novel. I read approx 60+ books a year. I buy approx 247 books a year. Not including comics, magazines, and graphic novels.

Darin Kennedy: I once read voraciously, but between writing, editing, appearances, eating, sleeping, seeing girlfriend/family/friends, and the 8-6 day job, reading has unfortunately been edged out. Trying to recalibrate to reincorporate reading back in, but for now, writing the new book has priority.

Alexandra Christian: I have had to force myself to find the time to read.

Where and how do you do most of your reading? Do you set aside time for a long read before bed, for example? Or do you snag the time available with an e-book while taking a kid to the dentist or on a break from a day job?

Ralph Angelo, Jr.: When I’m walking the treadmill at the gym. Most nights I read for a few minutes before bed as well.

Mark Bousquet: I don't set aside time for reading. If I'm reading a story I like, I find time to read it. When I was taking the train in to work, that was 1.5 hours, each way, that was largely devoted to reading, since the train was too bouncy to write.

Nancy Hansen: I have a Kindle Paperwhite and a Fire, so for recreational reading, I read in bed most of the time. I try and get to bed early enough so that I have time to finish a couple of chapters or a short story in an anthology. Most of the appointments I go to these days are my own, so the E-reader stays home. I might grab a magazine that interests me and page through it until I get called in. My day job is writing and editing, so other than research online or poring through the occasional reference book, my reading is limited to what's on the screen waiting to be worked on. I tend to use the Paperwhite Kindle as my main E-reader, and the Fire is my backup (they can be synced). I like the color capability of the Fire for anything with graphics. It's especially handy for things like cookbooks or the occasional craft & crochet book, where having a picture to look at explains a lot of what is going on.

Terri Smiles: I read articles at my desk. If its nonfiction that I'm reading as background or ideas for a novel, I tend to read it in bed at night. For novels, I have a great big recliner in my office and set aside one afternoon per week for reading fiction, and otherwise, just pick up a book and read some wherever I am.

Andrew Salmon: I read at home. I'm a night owl and read until I can't keep my eyes open. This applies to research reading as well as that "leisure" reading mentioned above.

Elizabeth Donald: I read each night when I go to bed. The night job keeps me awake a lot later, so I'm pretty tired by the time I go to sleep and it's hard to get far before I doze off. I also keep ebooks on my iPad for doctor's offices, closed sessions and other devoutly dull moments. The hardest part is finding books that have the "hole in the paper," as Stephen King calls it. I find as I get older, my tastes are pickier. It's not so easy for me to just disappear into a book and forget the world as it was when I was a kid. I used to read every book I started, but as I get older, I find time is too precious to waste on a book that isn't grabbing me.

Tamara Lowery: When I read, I usually do it during work breaks, just as I do most of my writing during those times. It is easier to tune out coworkers than the myriad distractions at home. The majority of my reading for pleasure is of authors I follow and books I've picked up at conventions.

Amanda Niehaus-Hard: The daily short story I read after my son is in bed. It’s my evening wind-down. Sometimes I can read during the day, but I tend to “binge” read on weekends or holidays, when I can get the family to leave me alone for an hour or two. I’ve tried reading while running or working out on cardio machines, but it’s usually easier to listen to audio books. I will use my tablet to read in bed sometimes, but I try not to do that because I end up staying up all night.

Jen Mulvihill: If I am reading it's at night in bed before I go to sleep. However, If I am smart enough to remember to get an audio book then I "read/listen" twice a day 5 days a week for 20 minutes. Basically between home and work. If I am on a roadtrip to a convention I will get 3 to to 30 hours reading time in depending on how far I have to drive.

Gordon Dymowski: Most of my reading takes place in transit - if I'm freelancing from an office downtown, or I'm heading out to appointments, I'm carrying around my e-reader. I also try to set aside an hour either early in the morning or (more likely) in the evening - reading is a great way to wind down and relax. And if I can grab some time in between work tasks....I'm reading.

Alexandra Christian: Now, I make it a point to read every night in the bathtub for about an hour (yes, I take long baths. DON'T JUDGE ME!!).

Kevin Noel Olson: I read most of my reading at home. In the early morning and right before bedtime.

Bobby Nash: I read on my lunch break, in the bathroom, or whenever I can snag some free time. I work it in where I can.

Van Allen Plexico: Any and all opportunities. I've read before going to bed every single night for as long as I can remember, since at least kindergarten. I cannot remember the last day I didn't read part of a fiction book at some point during the day, and I can probably count the total number of days in my life that I haven't read something at all during the day on one hand, since learning how to read. Unfortunately I usually fall asleep pretty quickly when reading before bed. But if a book really has my attention, I can stay awake longer with it, and I can find times to read it during the day.

Selah Janel: It depends on the genre. Some books are definite before bed books, and others I prefer to be more focused. Cozy mysteries and chick lit tend to be before bed, and things like nonfiction or action-heavy stuff is during the weekend or on a free evening. Granted, all bets are off if I've just come home from a library run. I try to keep smaller books at hand if I've got appointments, and I keep up with news articles and the like when I've got breaks throughout the day.

James Ray Tuck, Jr: I'm a dude. Books are flagged. And I read in bed at night when its ridiculous to still be awake so I am winding down.

M. B. Weston: I use my iPhone and check out articles throughout the day.

Melissa Gilbert: I read for 30-60 minutes in bed and 15-20 minutes in the school pickup line and whenever I have a spare few minutes.

Danielle Procter Piper: I do most of my reading before work in my vehicle, before the morning meeting begins, between lunch and our afternoon meeting, then again at the end of the day before I clock out if I have a spare minute or two. If I'm partnered with someone during work, I'll read while they use the bathroom or enter a store to get a drink or snack, or while they've gone to drop off paperwork and pick up more. I also try to read at least one chapter of a book before bed every night.

What percentage of your reading is printed books? What percentage is using digital formats? Do find having options like digital give you more opportunities to indulge in reading?

Mark Bousquet: Almost all my reading is digital these days. I love the convenience of the Kindle and as much as I miss that old paper smell, the clean white screen and readable type more than makes up for it.

Gordon Dymowski: Since I live near a library (and can get books via interlibrary loan), I would say that half of my reading is printed, half is ebook. (Research finds that many people who are heavy readers tend to split between the two media). I like e-books - they're available, easy to use, and take up much less space than traditional printed books (For those who claim that it's "just not like" traditional paper books, the right tablet - mine is an Android Nextbook - plus the right cover can come *really* darn close). I also find that I can get free ebooks (thanks,!) and cheaper out-of-print options that allow me to expand my reading options without breaking the bank. It's also nice to be able to have a ton of books in one place, and that if one e-book is boring, I can switch to another with a swipe of the finger.

Melissa Gilbert: I generally read on my kindle because it's easier reading at night with the lights off. And it's portable the next day on my phone. I read paper books for a lot of my work stuff. Fun reading is almost entirely digital.

(And for those who prefer "real, printed books"....yes, I read those, too. I'm not so snobbish as to deny the power of technology, but I am snobbish about the fact that I enjoy reading. In the evenings, I prefer to be totally unplugged, so I'll be reading from a traditional book).

Nancy Hansen: I'd read a lot more print books if I could actually make out the pale, thin, & small fonts. My eyesight is very poor and not correctable at this point, so I struggle with print books, magazines, and newspapers. I do better with an electronic device where I can adjust things to suit me. Plus, five years ago we downsized to a smaller home, so I don't have much storage room for books anymore. I love print books and always have, but they're heavy and take up a lot of space, so the lion's share of my recent purchases have been E-copies. I'm reading a lot more often these days than I was 10 years ago because of the E-readers. My Paperwhite is lightweight and backlit. I can adjust the brightness and the font size on it, and read without my glasses on, and it's very easy on my tired eyes. It's also limited for what you can do online, so there's little temptation to surf. Depending on what you buy, E-books can be a lot less expensive (or even free), which allows me to expand my library to things I might not consider buying in a paper format because of the price or the storage size. Generally speaking, nobody can yank out my bookmark, so that I lose my place and have to hunt for what page I left off on. Yeah, I'm a happy E-reader.

James Ray Tuck, Jr: I read about 2 print to 1 ebook, not including comics, magazines, and graphic novels as they are almost exclusively print and would skew the numbers. My ebook reading at night is short, hitting the sack reading.

Alexandra Christian: I rarely read magazines unless there's one lying around and I'm bored. I do a lot of digital reading for work, so probably about 40 percent is digital format.

Bobby Nash: Most of my reading for pleasure is printed books. This is mainly because the bulk of my reading/writing for work purposes is digital so even when I read an ebook for fun, my brain slips into editor mode out of habit. I don't have a problem with ebooks, but I prefer paper.

M. B. Weston: Probably 99 percent digital, but if I read fiction, it is a flesh and blood book.

Jennifer Nahrstadt: I read all the time, and I read printed books that I get on loan from my local library. I have one with me in the car and look forward to evening so that I can settle in with a good book. We have no television, and I don't miss it one bit.

Ralph Angelo, Jr.: Mostly kindle books, by far. Occasionally I’ll read a paperback. But for the most par, and I mean by a vast difference, I’m reading on the Kindle.

Darin Kennedy: When I do read, I prefer paper books, though I've done ebook and audiobook and enjoy those as well.

Terri Smiles: I read about two-thirds digital and 1/3 print. I prefer print, but I have been so disappointed with the last few traditional press novels I've read that I can't justify buying them unless they are free or deeply discounted - which typically means digital. I'm more inclined to buy books by indie authors in print. And, of course, it's easy to have digital books at my fingertips.Elizabeth Donald: I am reading fewer and fewer printed books, simply because the iPad is usually with me and, to be honest, it gives off its own light at night. It's funny how little things influence it; my bedside lamp is on the fritz, so I read more on the iPad because I won't have to get up to turn off the overhead light when I get sleepy. smile emoticon The iPad is wonderfully convenient, allowing me to have dozens of books at any particular time, so it definitely makes it easier to read whenever I want.

Van Allen Plexico: I've been able to read maybe three full novels on Kindle ever. Virtually everything I read is in print. I also listen to a lot of audiobooks. Particularly nonfiction audiobooks.

I think it is absolutely critical and vital for a writer who wants to be truly professional and who wants to create writing that in any way touches on "artistic" to absorb as much and as many kinds of writing as possible.

Danielle Procter Piper: Probably 95 percent of what I read is hand-held books. Most of them come from thrift shops, rarely do I pay for anything new. The only time I'm reading anything digital is when I peruse fanfiction maybe once every few months and read maybe half a dozen short stories. I do not own an ereader, although I have a Kindle app on my home computer. Once the average prices of eBooks went up, I stopped buying them.

Amanda Niehaus-Hard: Almost 95% of my reading is books. I have an old Kindle so I can read outside in bright light and a tablet with about a bazillion ebooks on it but I very rarely actually read a whole book on the tablet. If I don’t see the book sitting there on my desk I forget it exists. Having the kindle was wonderful when I first had the baby because I only needed one hand to read it, but I’m less interested in e-readers now.

Sometimes I’m really surprised by how many young writers tell me they don’t really read. To me, reading is the first step to learning how to write. I subscribe to the osmosis theory, which states that by reading, over and over again, excellent literature, at least some of that excellence will rub off. I know that if I’m struggling with some technical aspect, I can always find an answer to my problem in the Norton anthologies or any of Ellen Datlow’s Best Horror anthologies. To me, a writer who doesn’t read is like a musician who never practices scales. It’s just mind-boggling to me.

Kevin Noel Olson: Ninety-five percent or more of the material I read is in physical books and magazines, if I were to guess conservatively. I do read a lot off the internet, yet mostly short articles. I still haven't found a comfort zone with reading from a computer screen, and have no reading device. For the greater part, I only read from the internet if the material isn't available in a reasonably-priced, physical format.

Jen Mulvihill: So I have printed, Kindle and audio. Usually if I have purchased an autographed book I buy it on Kindle so I don't mess the book up.

Tamara Lowery: I haven't touched my poor Kindle in over a year, other than today to make sure the software upgrade is done so I can use it when I'm ready to. I've got about half as many books on it as I do dead tree versions on the floor surrounding my full bookcase.

Selah Janel: Probably 95 percent printed, I'd guess. I prefer it,it's what I grew up with, I find it more relaxing to look at a page than a screen. I do use my laptop and I have an ereader for comics I review, mainly because I only get those as files, and I've sprung for some e-book only titles I've really wanted. I think while digital may give more opportunities, I also still am really attached to the physical process of finding a book at a library, going to the new stacks and getting something because I like the look of it, then giving it a try, having the heft in my hand and physically flicking through the pages. I find myself more engage with print, and while I think e-readers are awesome for travel, for the experience alone I'm pro-print.

Andrew Salmon: Although I'm a big fan and reader of ebooks, the bulk of my reading is still the good ol' fashioned printed book. This is partly due to getting so much research material out of the library but also because the printed book is still my preferred method of reading. That said, I've read dozens of ebooks and have hundreds more on my tablet. It comes down to time in the end with all the research I have to do. I love both formats even if the scale is heavily weighted to one side.

Wednesday, March 16, 2016

Nugget #76 -- Death to Mary Sue

It's never a good idea to intentionally put yourself in your stories, but
it's only natural to let elements of you bleed into them as you write.


Tuesday, March 15, 2016

Darin Kennedy -- Mixing Magical Realism and Classical Music

I met quite a few interesting and fascinating new (to me anyway) writers while at Connooga this year. For a few weeks, I'm going to introduce them to you. Let's continue what we started last week with an author influenced by several of my favorite classical music compositions—Darin Kennedy.

Tell us a bit about your latest work.

My debut novel, The Mussorgsky Riddle, is a paranormal thriller about at thirteen-year-old boy lost inside his own mind and the psychic that’s got to go in there and find him. Based two classical music pieces, "Pictures at an Exhibition" and "Scheherazade"—by Modest Mussorgsky and Nikolai-Rimsky Korsakoff respectively—this story lies at the intersection of music, mystery, magic, and murder. The second book is at the publisher now and continues the story of Mira and Anthony into the works of Stravinsky. My current work in progress is the third and likely final book of this trilogy/series, and is a lot of the big Tchaikovsky pieces. Without giving too much detail, just know I’ve watched "Swan Lake" and "The Nutcracker" more times in the last two months than is healthy...

What are the themes and subjects you tend to revisit in your work?

As you can see from above, music tends to show up in my work quite a bit. Even in my YA novel that my agent is still shopping around, music tends to be a major element. Otherwise, most of my stuff tends to be set in a real world setting, but with an fantastic element. A bit more fantastic that magical realism, but also not quite all the way into full urban fantasy. Except my first book - that one is all magic all the time!

What would be your dream project?

I’m writing it right now, both figuratively and literally. The stories about Mira and Anthony have really opened up a whole new world to me. My other two novels were my dream project at the time as well. I suppose it’s fair to say that once I commit to a project, I’m in it till the bitter end.

If you have any former project to do over to make it better, which one would it be, and what would you do?

It’s funny you ask. I just put my very first novel length project through an extensive re-edit and am starting the process of getting it out there again. It’s currently in a very interesting place and I wait with bated breath to hear what the fine individuals on the other end of that email have to say.

Truth be told, that particular project is in third person past tense, and the four novels I’ve worked on since are all in first person present tense, where I think my voice is quite a bit stronger. I briefly considered rewriting the whole thing in first present, but with all the varied viewpoints, I’m not sure it would work, not to mention that the amount of work and time it would take to retrofit that project could likely produce a new novel, and I’d rather move forward. One of my favorite quotes from my time in the army comes to mind: Better is the enemy of good. So, it stays like it is… unless/until I change my mind.
What inspires you to write?

I write about things that I love. Music, art, reworkings of favorite tales. The Mussorgsky and Stravinsky projects were both born from reading the back of a CD case. My first novel came about when you mix (A) a story stuck in your head for about fifteen years and (B) being stuck in Iraq for a year. My YA project was literally what I was dreaming about when I woke up that morning. Inspiration comes from lots of different places. The perspiration? All me...

What writers have influenced your style and technique?

I like to think that and astute reader can find a bit of Stephen King in my characters, Neil Gaiman in my stories, and Piers Anthony—especially the Incarnations of Immortality series--in the weird connections my brain makes. I name my characters like Nathaniel Hawthorne, try to end my chapters like Thomas Hardy,  and hope to have even an iota of lyricality of Neil Peart. When it’s all said and done and the book is done, I then try to sell books like John Hartness.

Where would you rank writing on the "Is it an art or it is a science continuum?" Why?

For me, it’s more art than science. I don’t outline much, and instead just let the story flow and sit back amazed at the connections the three pounds of tofu between my ears comes up with.

Any other upcoming projects you would like to plug?

Just a few things.

Feel free to check out my website at where you can sign up for my newsletter if you’d like notification when I have developments on any of the above.

Come find me on Facebook and Twitter and Goodreads. I’m pretty easy to locate.

Lastly, The Mussorgsky Riddle was actually made into an audiobook and is available on Audible. If you’d like a sample of that book with a pretty kick-ass narrator who does ALL the accents, check this link:

Monday, March 14, 2016

The Writer Will Take Your Questions Now #348 -- What Books Influenced You?

What books have had the greatest impact in making you the writer you are today?

 I get asked this from time to time, and I always love to talk about the books that have influenced me enough to make me, well... me.


The Adventures of Monkey by Arthur Waley taught me the thrill of reading when I was young and longed for adventures guided by words.


The Childcraft Encyclopedia: Stories and Fables introduced me to the stories of the world beyond just the legends of the Greeks and Romans.


Fox in Socks by Dr. Seuss showed me how much fun words could be, both alone and in a group.


Welcome to the Monkey House by Kurt Vonnegut, Jr., and in particular "Harrison Bergeron," inspired me to never let myself get shackled creatively, damn the consequences, and to try to inspire others to lose their shackles too.


A Farewell to Arms by Ernest Hemingway taught me how to write and taught me that bittersweet, not completely happy endings are the best endings for stories because we human beings learn best through them instead of happy endings that don't challenge us.


What We Talk About When We Talk About Love by Raymond Carver taught me how to be inspired by Hemingway without trying to be a clone of him when I write.


The Big Sleep by Raymond Chandler taught me how to bring the literary inspiration I got from Hemingway and marry it up to pulp-based, adventure storytelling.

Sunday, March 13, 2016

[Link] The Spy Who Came in From the Comics

by Paul Bishop

IT’S BEEN A LONG TIME since the first installment in 2001 of my favorite espionage themed graphic novels, Greg Rucka’s Queen & Country. Inspired by The Sandbaggers—A British TV series from the late ‘70s—Queen & Country detailed the missions of minder Tara Chace, an operative of the Special Operations Section of SIS, along with those of her fellow agents.

Like The Sandbaggers (if you are an espionage fan and haven’t seen this seminal series, waste no more time), Queen & Country focused not just on the action in the field, but to also realistically believable dangers to the agents from the bureaucracy and politics of their organization.

A couple of years ago, I reread the entire Queen & Country series when it became available in digital form via Comixology. I still enjoy holding physical comics in my hands, but unlike many, I have no issues reading them on an electronic screen. Having refreshed my enjoyment of Queen & Country, I began to cast around for other espionage related tales in the current crop of comics, and found several noteworthy entries.

Read the full article:

Saturday, March 12, 2016

[Link] Fantasy Publishers 2016 (No Agent Required!)

by Bryn Donovan

Last week I shared a list of agents accepting submissions of fantasy novels, but here are a bunch of publishers who accept unagented submissions. This list is mostly the same as my list of science fiction publishers, but there are some differences, and I figured it’s more convenient to have a list just for your genre.

Clicking on the name of the publisher will take you straight to the submission guidelines. These are mostly novel publishers, but I’ve included a couple of publishers of short fiction.

I’m not endorsing any of the publishers on this list, because I don’t know enough about most of them. The SFWA has a great overview of small presses and how to distinguish them from vanity publishers, and it’s worth checking out.

Read the full article:

Friday, March 11, 2016

Ideas Like Bullets -- How Well Do You Know Your Coppers?

It should come as no surprise to anyone who knows me or has read this column more than once that I like mysteries and PI stories, Pulp fiction type things that revolve around gumshoes looking for clues and getting knocked out or somesuch while doing it.  It also is no secret that I like books.  And like is probably much too light a word.  Books complete me on many levels, and the reasons for that are probably the subjects of three or four more posts down the road. 

In a different and unique way, those two things merge together right here, right now.  That’s right, kiddoes…. Time for a contest.

Below You will find a list of characters, most of them Private Eye types, some of them more Pulp Hero, maybe even a couple of straight up comic super types. But, here’s the deal.  Every name listed below has a person in the law enforcement realm that is associated with them.  Most of them are at odds with their counterpart who carries a badge, but some are actually friends, even work hand in hand with the officers they know. 

So, what are the rules here? Simple.  List for each character below the police officer/Law Enforcement character that is associated with them.   You must put an answer for each one in order to be considered for the contest, no skipping or leaving blanks.  And yes, obviously if You want or need to, You can use Google or some other form of research, but just in case some of You have the knowledge base  to handle this sans help, please note that when you send your answers in. I’d like to know the genre geniuses out there, as this will involve everything from TV to old time radio to pulp magazines to comic books and so on and so forth.

Now, I know what you want to know. Is this just an exercise to stretch our minds in futility or is it a true contest?  Well, yes, there are prizes.  Three to be exact.  The first three people who get ALL the answers correct (yes, all, no ‘the most right wins’ here) will each receive a book featuring one of the characters on the list.  The book will be from my personal collection and of my choosing.  What that means is it could very well be a newer title or could go back as far as the 1930s or 40s, depending on the character and what mood I’m in.  And yes, I’ll pay postage, at least in the States. For you who play from across the waters, we’ll work something out.

Send your complete list of answers to with the subject heading IDEAS LIKE BULLETS CONTEST.  That’s important as I will be looking for those emails and, as I get quite a lot of mail during the day, might miss it otherwise.  There is no time limit on this really, just until I get three correct lists of answers or I get tired of waiting for them.

Also, be sure to include your mailing address with your entry in case you do win!

So, without further yadda yadda yadda, find below the aforementioned list of characters.  Tell me the police/Law Enforcement type that goes with each one.  And…yes, You know I have to say it… The Game… is indeed afoot.

1. The Saint (Charteris book version)
2. Mike Hammer
3. Peter Chambers
4. Spenser
5. Candy Matson
6. Simon & Simon
7. Dawson Clade, the Bat
8. John Shaft
9. Jim Rockford
10. The Green Lama
11. Peter Gunn
12. Richard Diamond
13. Starman (Comic hero)
14. The Fat Man (NOT of Jake and the… fame)
15. Boston Blackie

Thursday, March 10, 2016



J. R. Roberts’ classic Adult Western characters returns to print in THE GUNSMITH #401: NEW MEXICO POWDER KEG. Pro Se Productions offers readers the chance to read the book’s first chapter for free!

n in the night by a notorious horse thief thought dead, The Gunsmith tears across Texas and into New Mexico, intent on retrieving his most trusted friend and putting anyone in the ground who stands in his way.

Teaming up with a bounty hunter he’d crossed paths with before, Adams hunts the outlaws who stole his horse and discovers that more than simple horse stealing, even more than Eclipse is at stake. Riding deep into enemy territory, The Gunsmith finds madmen intent on anarchy in New Mexico and a seductive woman, ready to use her body and more to make sure that she is queen of a lawless land! THE GUNSMITH #401: NEW MEXICO POWDER KEG by J. R. Roberts.

The first chapter of THE GUNSMITH #401 is available to read for free at

Featuring cover and logo design by Jeffrey Hayes and print formatting and cover design by Percival Constantine, THE GUNSMITH #401: NEW MEXICO POWDER KEG is available now at Amazon and Pro Se’s own store at for 8.99.

For more information on this title, interviews with the author, or digital copies to review this book, contact Pro Se Productions’ Director of Corporate Operations, Kristi King-Morgan at

To learn more about Pro Se Productions, go to Like Pro Se on Facebook at

Wednesday, March 9, 2016

Nugget #75 -- Read It All

Real everything. Read genres you like. Read genres you don't like. 
Read fiction. Read non-fiction. Read good and bad books. But for 
crying out loud read. (Especially if you want to be a writer.)


Tuesday, March 8, 2016

Tammi A. Miller -- Writing from Wordsworth's Overflow

I met quite a few interesting and fascinating new (to me anyway) writers while at Connooga this year. For a few weeks, I'm going to introduce them to you. Let's start with Tammi A. Miller.

Tell us a bit about your latest work.

Most recently I wrote a short story that was turned into the pilot episode for a series called Outliers. Foley, the pilot episode, is still in production. I’ve seen some stills from the filming and they look fantastic. It was shot in Los Angeles and San Francisco using SAG-AFTRA actors.

The short story itself was a challenge because dialogue was extremely limited and the main character is autistic. I had to do decent amount of research. I had to find a way to show in words what would later be shown in film without having the character speak those words. Just as challenging was the location. I live across the country from where Foley takes place. While I did once reside in California for awhile, it was many years ago and I only visited San Francisco once.

What are the themes and subjects you tend to revisit in your work?

Communication. I don’t plan on it, but for some reason the difficulty we have communicating with one another often creeps into my writing. It can be a difference of language, age, status, or even species but in all comes down to communication.

What would be your dream project?

A dream project? That is a tough one. I guess it would have to be something I couldn’t do on my own like a collaboration or a graphic novel. I would love to work on a graphic novel. I consider myself fairly decent at writing dialogue and story, but drawing and inking are outside the limits of my talents.

If you have any former project to do over to make it better, which one would it be, and what would you do?

The Oak Muse and Other Stories, my book of very short fiction. Something has always felt off about it. I probably would add more stories and maybe remove one or two of the ones that are currently there. I still may do that someday.

What inspires you to write?

I love to write. It really is something I feel compelled to do. Ideas crowd my head if I don’t write them down. William Wordsworth once said that poetry comes from and overflowing of emotion. I believe that prose writers write from that same overflow only it would be more accurate to say it is an overflow of life. Words are just how we translate the world. And who doesn’t love a good story? It gives you a break from the way you see things and allows you to live through another’s eyes for just a little while.

What writers have influenced your style and technique?

I read a lot so pinpointing just a few writers would be difficult. Though, off the top of my head, I would have to say Mercedes Lackey, Simon R. Green, Kevin J. Anderson, Michael Stackpole, and Sir Terry Pratchett. I really do read a wide variety of stuff, so this list is just me sticking with what I write. However, I think every writer should read Stephen King’s On Writing. I highly recommend it.

Where would you rank writing on the "Is it an art or it is a science continuum?" Why?

I would be somewhere in the middle. Writing to me is a little bit of both, even writing fiction. There is art to it. You have to be able to visualize the pictures you are trying to implant into your reader’s heads. You have to create from whole cloth worlds and characters. But there are also rules. Writing is a form of communication. It is language. All languages have rules. There is also research that needs to be accomplished for some projects. Like with Foley, I couldn’t have my character walking around and area that I knew nothing about. He is in a real world setting an I had to know about that setting. Also the main character is Autistic. I had to learn about Autism and how people with Autism communicate. I had to learn about the challenges they face and how they see the world and hear the world. Writing is a place where science and art meet and meld together.

Any other upcoming projects you would like to plug?

I am currently working on a new novel called Loose Strings. It should be released later this year.Loose Strings is a bit like Mercedes Lackey and Terry Pratchett shared a bottle of rum. There are pirates, assassins, magic, thieves, and bodies that don’t remain as dead as they should.

Monday, March 7, 2016

The Writer Will Take Your Questions Now #347 -- Crowded Narrative

Is there a rule of thumb to tell when or if your narrative is getting too "crowded," when writing pulp?

Sure. Depends on what you mean by being "crowded."

Too many characters?

Too much going on at one time?

Too much develop for what should be a more simple story?

I don't think there's a rule of thumb as much as a what feels right to you as the person creating the tale. In general a pulp tale should be a fairly straightforward adventure story with a linear, easily progressed and followed plot. So, I guess you could say that when things start to get convoluted you're probably leaving the arena of pulp and moving into something different.