Category: fiction

Strolling Among The Universes

     Forgive me, Gentle Reader. I’ve been so wrapped up in my novel-in-progress that thoughts about fiction and its attendant trials are nearly all I’ve had lately. But perhaps this will provide you with some amusement.      Writers write. Few of us are as diligent about it as we should be – I’ve had long …

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Power Positions

     Whether you’re writing exposition, opinion, or fiction, you want your prose to have power. There are a number of maxims about this, for example the dictum to prefer the active voice and strong, active verbs. Another is the advice to avoid overdecorating your sentences with modifiers and subordinate clauses – i.e., to let your …

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How It’s Done Dept.

     Some fiction writers consciously strive to keep their readers off-balance, groping for a purchase on what’s really happening in the story. This can be boiled down to an actual technique. The key, of course, is surprise.      There are several kinds of surprise in fiction. There are plot surprises, where an event that seems …

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Small Lives

     [A short story for you this evening. Not everyone aspires to greatness. Quite a lot of us have no ambitions of that magnitude. But think about the children of a family of great wealth and power. Think about the pressures that might be put on them. Not all of them will respond the way …

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On This Day Of Days

     …which we wait for all year – we do, don’t we? – we commemorate World War II’s great Battle of the South Atlantic, in which Argentina’s innovative and deadly pocket battleship Mayo faced off against the intrepid Mexican cruiser Alas de Agua and went to a watery grave…wait, what? There was no such battle? …

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“They Won’t Talk To Me!”

     The news is pretty static just now, and I haven’t done a piece about fiction lately, so have a fresh one.      There are a lot of approaches to the conception of a story. What matters is the emotional impact of the product, and oftentimes that’s more a function of the writer’s imagination and …

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Things That Make Me Sad

     Good morning, Gentle Reader. It’s Wednesday, or “Hump Day,” as the gainfully employed have long styled it. The rain is pissing down on my kinda-sorta-beloved Long Island home, yet the dogs keep demanding to be let out…and let back in five minutes later. Thus, the house is accumulating a great number of muddy tracks …

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The Outrider

     [A short story for you today. Some “great events” are, in point of fact, merely resultants. They’re preceded by much smaller and less visible events that made them, if not inevitable, at least overwhelmingly likely. If there’s a great event to come, where should we look for the seemingly insignificant precursors that will precipitate …

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     [A short story for you today. This one will be rather pointed, I fear. It was inspired by an essay I read about an hour ago. That piece, which I’ll link at the end of this one, harmonized so perfectly with my own convictions and the process by which I reached them that I …

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Based Book Sale

     Hans G. Schantz, author of the Hidden Truth trilogy, has once again organized a Based Book Sale. It runs from today, March 27 through Wednesday, April 3. All the books in it are available in their Kindle editions for $0.99 or less. Many are free. If you like to read, are dissatisfied with the …

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“How Did He Know?”

     This piece has evoked some amazing reactions, the majority of them imparted to me privately. Yes, all of them were from men. Quite frankly, what I thought I knew about my Gentle Readers falls short of the actuality. It seems that even among our sort, there’s a lot of romantic and para-romantic misery out …

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Attention: Free Fiction!

     From March 3 through March 9 is Smashwords’ Read-An-Ebook Week. In recognition thereof, nineteen of my books are free downloads at Smashwords this week. If you’re unacquainted with my fiction, stop over there and sample it while it’s free. What have you got to lose?

For Virginia With Hope

     [An old friend asked about this short story, and if I would please repost it. It first appeared at Liberty’s Torch V1.0 on December 18, 2019. I’ve made some slight edits since then. – FWP]      They had disdained the courtrooms, even though cleared of the pestilential scum that had roosted there. The aroma …

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An Observation About Characterization

     Regard the following snippet from a novella from P. S. Power:      “It’s a danger of taking responsibility for others, of course. A strong leader might have to make decisions that others wouldn’t. I can’t even tell you it’s wrong for you to be doing it. Just be careful. Taking on too much at …

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Truer Words Were Never Spoken

     This spoke to me so powerfully that I could not refrain from snagging it:      Every writer wants to believe that his books are good. How many believe they’ve produced even one book that’s great? How many would even want to?      If only…sigh.      (Applause to The Feral Irishman.)

A Snippet For Discussion Purposes

     The following is a segment from my novel-in-progress, working title Ex Nihilo (yeah, yeah, again with the Latin):      “Father,” Sarah Lydell said, “why is there evil?”      It was the question toward which Father Raymond Altomare, pastor of Onteora Parish, had been building for five weeks. The group of seniors from Foxwood High …

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Plausible Villains

     “No villain comes in black, screaming obscenities. All evil has children, homes, regard for self, fear of enemies.” – Greg Bear, Anvil of Stars      A writer straining to produce drama faces several challenges. One that perpetually bedevils me is the construction of a villain in whom the reader can believe.      There have …

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Closing The Escapes, Defiling the Heroes

     The Totalitarian Prime Directive is simple: Permit no escape. After all, the evidence is copious that oppressed and subjugated people will flee if they can. Therefore, the totalitarian must block all escape routes, station men with guns at each of them, and shoot those who attempt to breach them as an example to others. …

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The Bearer

     [I’d vacillated among subjects for a tirade much of the morning, when I realized that I’ve been drained of the verve required for the pursuit. So instead, have a short story from F. J. Dagg. It first appeared at Liberty’s Torch V1.0 in November of 2020.      James’s imagination seems to admit to no …

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The Escapist Imperative

     Not long ago, I encountered a gentleman who ran an unusual business: he positioned himself as a writer’s “pre-agent.” That is, he assisted aspiring writers in persuading an actual literary agent to represent them. (I have no idea what percent of his customers actually acquired representation, but he didn’t do badly…for himself.) As you …

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