The Crash

By Bob McCrillis

Over the holiday week, the Goddess of Rhamnous, Nemesis, schooled me on my dangerous tendency to hubris.

As you know, I’ve set myself the project of writing a short story every week for a year – as recommended by Ray Bradbury. Quite proud of myself after the first four weeks, I added a page for the resulting stories to my website.

“I’m accepting the Ray Bradbury Challenge,” I crowed. “Just watch how great this will be. My stories will be good and can only get better – and I’ll have fifty-two publishable stories,” said I.

Should have known better. Continue reading “The Crash”

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Avoiding Seduction

By Bob McCrillis

Got your attention, didn’t I? Certainly generates more interest than Paperclips: the pros and cons.

Yes, I was serious last week when I told you I’d be talking about paperclips this week. The modern “Gem-type” paperclip has been in production since the late 19th century. The exact date of its incarnation is in doubt but there is general agreement that it was in the 1890’s. And, in my opinion, has been helping disorganized people become even more disorganized for the past century and a half.

The little twist of wire’s utility as a missile in the office or classroom is well known. It also provides raw material for the Zen-like chain making that gets all writers and other office drones through conference calls. It can even, reportedly, be used as a make-shift lock pick. It, oh yes, also holds sheets of paper together. Continue reading “Avoiding Seduction”

Personhood Added Life to My Stories

By Bob McCrillis

This is boring! Who in the heck told you that you could write? This isn’t writing, it’s just typing!

My internal editor pointed out the many deficiencies of my first twenty-five pages. He delights in bashing my fragile ego, doesn’t ever take a vacation or get laryngitis.

I had labored mightily and created a corpse.

My sentences were flat and lifeless. Paddy shook off his guilt over Phou.ng’s death and took point position, leading the rest of the squad into the bush. Oh, yeah? Guess it didn’t bother him too much, then, did it? Okay, it isn’t bad but it isn’t alive. Telling a story is not stringing together a series of events. I needed to get my reader involved but how? Continue reading “Personhood Added Life to My Stories”

Self-Publishing: Is It Right For Me?

By Bob McCrillis

You’ve finished your novel. People you trust have read the draft and enjoyed it. Now what? I’m assuming you would like to have readers other than friends and relatives.

Setting aside the options of running down to the local copy shop, you have two possible choices. Traditional publishing or self-publishing – now called indie publishing.

Traditional publishing offers the resources to deliver a best-seller to the market. Its principal drawback — and it’s a big one — is the fine screen your book will have to get through. You have to make two tough sales, the first to an agent, then to the publisher. A secondary obstacle is the slow pace of the industry. You should plan in years. Continue reading “Self-Publishing: Is It Right For Me?”

Writers Guild Updates

By Linda Donaldson

A reminder – our June meeting on the 17th falls on Father’s Day. We start at 1 pm and meet till 3 pm. Please bring 10 copies of any work you’d like to share up to 3 pages long, and remember to put your name and email on your work for further feedback.

Anne Kaler began our May Writers Guild meeting by announcing our Literary Journal plans for this year. The former Fall 2017 issue, with the theme of “Justice and Mercy,” will be posted mid-June as the Summer 2018 issue. The Editors have chosen the theme “Transformation“ for the Winter 2018 issue with the deadline of October 31, 2018. Submission guidelines will be posted soon on the blog. Continue reading “Writers Guild Updates”

Left Brain, Right Brain

By Bob McCrillis

If you don’t know where you’re going, any road will do. How many times have we heard that old saw?

There is an ocean of advice out there for the would-be author. We have our choice of webinars, seminars, boot camps, and retreats. Each one promising that, with their system, we will release our inner book. Trust me, I’ve drunk deeply from this well. No matter what course or system, step one is always, always prepare an outline.

Bob cropped tightI diligently took notes on such arcana as story arcs, critical turning points, characterization, and the primacy of points of view. According to the books, my next step — the first that called for actual writing — was to prepare my outline. The more detailed my outline, the better. The outline should include major and minor turning points, and the critical conflicts. My next task was to complete detailed worksheets describing my characters. With that done, writing your novel is mere word play.

To this I say, Balderdash! And again, Balderdash! Continue reading “Left Brain, Right Brain”

What Genre Do You Work In?

By Bob McCrillis

I admit, I thought the question was a little silly the first time someone asked. Genre, unless you were an English Literature professor, was a euphemism for formula and no one wants their work to be viewed as something written to a formula.

Bob cropped tightIt didn’t take long to discover that the question of genre is critically important to the people who sell books. Readers tend toward books similar to the ones they’ve already read and enjoyed – hence the popularity of a series. If you’re in the business of selling books, knowledge of the preferences of the market is critically important. Continue reading “What Genre Do You Work In?”