Tuesday, June 25, 2013

A review of Conversations with a Dead Man by Doug Lucas

Doug Lucas is a retired marine who has worked as both a combat photographer and forensic photographer.   He is part of Pipe Dreams Publishing - and if you're thinking of submitting work to his publishing house - visit his website first - cos he's got something to say to you: http://tinyurl.com/co9h8r6    In fact, just visit is website anyway - it's really funny!

Conversations with a Dead Man

conversations with a dead manA young man idles away his time in a rural church yard and finds himself deep in conversation with John Wesley Elder.  Nothing unusual in that you might think, but John Wesley Elder is dead.   The young man soon finds out that being dead doesn't mean you have nothing to say, or that what you did in life should be forgotten, and the story of John Wesley Elder's life unfolds.  The Elder family escape from the feudal hardships of life in eighteenth century Ireland and come to the New World.  Here they build a new life and John learns the importance of hard work and self-sufficiency.  His life is full of hard knocks but he is nobodies fool and he tell his tale with wry humor.  He describes the hard work and community spirit involved in building the Elk River settlement, the growing unhappiness with the Crown and taxation and the hardships and struggle of the American War of Independence.  And threaded throughout the story is the tale of his relationship with the Native American Ester, the love of his life.

Wednesday, June 19, 2013

The Tripod of Short Stories

Courtesy: Google
Brevity makes a “short” story. But a short story is not just about length. As a genre, the short story is complex. Many other aspects, along with length decide the genome of a short story. Some of these elements are still unidentified. In fact, it is apt to say that those elements that are identified crucial elements of a short story are few in number. Short is just a metaphor, short stories are actually tall.

W. H Hudson and many other scholars, suggest that length is the crucial aspect and a story that you can read in single sitting is short story. If we take this as our measure, we cannot hail Jonathan Livingston Seagull by Richard Bach or The Old Man and the Sea by Earnest Hemingway or The Buddha and the Terrorist by Satish Kumar, a short story. The Old Man and the Sea might be a bit longer, but consider Jonathan Livingston Seagull; with all the photographs, that adorn the pages, it is just about fifty pages long. Many of the short stories in Stephen King’s collection, Full Dark, No Stars are longer in length, in fact longer than Jonathan Livingston Seagull, usually called a novel.  

What is, then, the magic potion that delivers its spell in the making of a short story?

Let us remind ourselves, once again, that there are only “major” elements to discuss. The minor elements, still evade our attention, as they are all part of the subjectivity of the author and the wiring of creativity inside our brains.

Creative writing classes and ‘How-to’ guides often suggest many systematic steps in producing literature. The problem with such a systematic, limited academic method is its side effects—all the crap you write and all the crap you evaluate ‘wonderfully artistic and deep’. Once you are into the struggle to create stories with flesh and blood, stories that earn, you will know that the first thing you need to do should be to unload the garbage, you accumulated as a student. Practical experience makes you wiser and stronger. From my experience as a writer, I have learnt my lessons and here are a few for your consideration—the three cornerstones of short stories.  
With this minimum number of components, you can create a short story. As we have already seen, the rest of the magic comes from within you, the writer. It is an alchemy, much like how Sodium and Chlorine combines to give a product, very different in quality and use from the two parent components—Sodium chloride; salt.

Next: What is Voice?

Anu Lal is the author of the up-coming collection of short stories Wall of Colors and Other Stories. He lives in Kerala, South India. He blogs at The Indian Commentator 
You can catch up with him in Facebook too. 

Wednesday, June 12, 2013

The wonderful world of Virginia Wright

Hi everyone. You are in for a real treat today because I felt like mixing things up so we are celebrating the work of the amazing VIRGINIA WRIGHT WOO HOO!!    ND author intervie 
Right, well to kick things off Virginia has kindly provided me with a brief biography:
VIRGINIA WRIGHT (b. 1958) in Belfast, Maine is a five-time author,  illustrator, food and nature photographer, blogger, recipe developer, and  self-appointed Queen of recipe adaptation. When she is not tending her  organic herb garden, taking photographs, sifting through recipes, cooking,  or spending time with her husband, she is doing what she loves doing  most...writing!   Virginia Wright first became a published author in 1981 when she sold her  first writing to a regional magazine in the state of Maine. She also had  several of her writings published in an Anthology-- Soundings, by the Poetry Fellowship of Maine. She has contributed opinion articles to many  online websites as a freelance writer.

Hey Virginia - I have been stalking you online for some time now, so it's great to finally get a chance to catch up with you.  Your biography is quite detailed, so when you are not living "the good life" in your herb garden  Is writing your full time career?

Have You Hit the Ground Yet?

What is ‘terrain’, in storytelling?

Image Courtesy: Google

This part will mostly help those who have difficulty in understanding what ‘plot’ means. I know it is a bit shaky when we talk about plot, but most often, I have seen people using this term interchangeably for theme or action. No one says it aloud, though, but everyone is a bit confused if asked; what is plot?

Friday, June 7, 2013

Interview with Jane McBride

Welcome to the Wonderful Jane McBride!

Hi Jane, tell us a little bit about you.

Well, I live with my husband Don, my two little boys and my Mom in Taylorsville, Utah. I’m from a small town called Medina in Western New York. I went back there to live a couple of years ago and the area turned out to be the perfect inspiration for A Little Hair of the Dog.

Is writing your full time career?

I suppose you could say it’s my career. It’s the only thing I do that pays me anything! But really I’m at home full time with my two sons. Both are on the autism spectrum and are definitely full time jobs.