Spawn of Mars
Don't worry. If you like your religion, you can keep your religion.
The Clash of Virtues
Orienting Fiction Away From Darkness
Saturday, February 1, 2020 1:41 pm
Recently I blogged about my recipe
for writing pulp action. Soon after, I came across some excellent writing advice from an author. It applies to any fiction, not only pulp; but it supports the broader agenda of avoiding nihilism.
The author says to introduce a character in a way that showcases a virtue rather than a fault. As he points out, there is a (bad) idea regnant that we are defined by our faults, and that being good is unrealistic or unrelatable. (I made a similar point
years ago, though not in the context of writing.)
He further says, "Internal conflicts between good and bad qualities are boring." I'd not say boring
; perhaps too commonplace. But then he says:
Show me a conflict between duty and compassion, or courage and wisdom, or love and justice.
That imperative is illuminating
. Fiction requires conflict; but conflict does not require evil. Depicting a clash of virtues denies vices an equal standing, and it's a nice way to show that virtue is vigorous and not — as the modern world would tell you — merely the absence of vice.
Most importantly, the reader is given characters that elicit admiration, not pity or condescension.
Anyhow — something to keep in mind.
My Pulp-Action Recipe
Writing Action & Adventure
Saturday, January 18, 2020 3:11 pm
This past week I finished writing An Uncommon Day at the Lake, a Hamlin Becker tale that I hope to sell to StoryHack.
StoryHack is, as it calls itself, a magazine of "Action & Adventure." This means no tales of navel-gazing and nihilism and ponderous puffery. It also means tales generally free of current-year correctness, a thing that hates fun and other natural human ways of being and is hardly interested in action and adventure.
A Happy Year, Indeed
News of Story Submissions
Sunday, December 1, 2019 5:10 pm
Cirsova Magazine has accepted my outstanding story The Fourth Gift, which will appear in the 2020 Summer Special. I really wanted to get into Cirsova, just as I wanted to get into StoryHack and Stupefying Stories. Hurrah!
With this, I have sold every story I have written since I retired from my day job three years ago. Yes, that is only seven stories; but none of them will die in my drawer, unread. And considering that I sold zero stories in all the years before 2017, those seven will do nicely. (To be sure I had some success with juvenile books in the 1990s; but only now are my grown-up stories succeeding.)
Now to finish An Uncommon Day at the Lake (the 3rd Hamlin Becker tale). And after that? I have some ideas...
Planetary Pluto Is Out
Read My Story in It!
Friday, November 29, 2019 4:33 pm
After an unfortunate delay (which even included a change in publisher), the Pluto anthology is finally out.
Buy it on Amazon (to give me and the publisher money). Review it on Amazon (to increase its rank). Read my story Ambit of Charon
and be amazed by my geniusness. Go, now!P.S.
Sadly there's a "typesetting" problem, in that all my italics are shown as underlines. This was caught in proof but not corrected. A proper version should come out someday, but over that I have no control. For now please infer italics.
A Mostly Happy Year
News of Story Submissions
Monday, September 23, 2019 12:06 pm
I submitted three stories to Stupefying Stories. Two were accepted. Weirdly I was more affected by the third being rejected. I am not a half-full kind of guy. Still, it was surely great to have two accepted.
So the story situation is as follows.
Self-Publishing Is Euthanasia for Stories
Think Twice Before Consigning Your Art
Wednesday, June 19, 2019 2:59 pm
I am a caveman. I started writing in the typewriter era. Eventually PCs and word processing arose. The gatekeepers remained, however. You were published only if an editor took a fancy to you.
Vanity publishing? That was just tawdry. There was something genuinely vain about it. It was, as well, far too much a capital venture. You were essentially starting your own business.
A Half-Happy Year?
News of Story Submissions
Thursday, May 9, 2019 12:46 pm
Due a Hanging, my sequel to Some Things Missing From Her Profile, has been accepted by StoryHack. Biggest thanks to Bryce Beattie, the discerning and wise editor. The story will appear in StoryHack #6, later this year or early next. This acceptance really pleases me.
As far as I know, my story in Planetary Pluto is still happening. No word since February, however. Aargh. My submission to Planetary Luna was foolishly rejected.
My story for the asteroid anthology was also rejected. That surprised me. The editor's reasoning was valid enough, but I'd say he was overthinking things. His loss.
Now, if I had to have only one acceptance this year, Due a Hanging in StoryHack would have been my choice. So despite the disappointments, the year may turn out happy enough.
And the year isn't done, anyhow. Submissions to Stupefying Stories have re-opened. I have submitted a story. If that one gets rejected, I have two others. I like Stupefying Stories. I hope I get in.
P.S. Since I have had good luck with Hamlin Becker and StoryHack, I am definitely going to write a third story in time for the next round of submissions, which will presumably be around December. This story will be my next project.