Wednesday, October 28, 2009

Stories to be Featured in Digital Dragon and Every Day Fiction Anthology

If bad news comes in threes, good news for me lately seems to come in twos. I received two nice e-mails last night, the first notifying me that one of my stories (title TBD) will be featured in the December issue of Digital Dragon Magazine. Digital Dragon will also present a review of my novel, The Muse, on November 15, plus an interview with yours truly about the book. Digital Dragon is a new-ish e-zine featuring family-friendly and faith-based fantasy and speculative fiction. It’s also got one of the coolest logos ever.

The second e-mail, from the editors of Every Day Fiction, informed me that one of my flash stories published there in December 2008, “Little Piece of Cloth,” was selected for inclusion in their annual print anthology, due out in January of next year. You can check out (and still order) last year’s here. They’re having a roll-out event for the anthology in Vancouver, BC–I’m not sure if I can muster the shekels necessary to attend, but it gives me an excuse to think about taking a trip to British Columbia.


Monday, October 26, 2009

Interview Online at Building a Novel

Wow, my first interview…Lisa G at Building a Novel grilled me about my writing in general and my upcoming novel, The Muse, in particular. She even tossed me an impromptu writing challenge at the end. Talk about pressure! Anyhow, you can see a picture of my ugly mug and read my semi-coherent answers here.

Only one more week until the official release of The Muse! If you pre-order before November 1st, you’ll get an exclusive bonus e-story thrown in for good measure. Such a deal.

Saturday, October 10, 2009

Sticky Situations Unresolved

I believe it was in primary school I was taught that a story has a beginning, a middle, and an ending. This is sadly not always true these days. I've had the bad luck to run into many novels that cannot claim to fulfil the requirements of an ending. They left me stuck in a difficult situation right along with the protagonist, with no hope of getting out unless the author publishes another book someday - which I am however now unlikely to buy.

It seems to me that a lot of publishers are staking their bets on first-time authors who will need at least another book out to get their stories finished. But what happens if that author turns out to be a one-book wonder? What if the publisher goes under or cuts a genre in our world of uncertainties?

I do understand the writer's dilemma. It's happened to me too: plan a novel carefully, with its climax and resolution, then write and write and write until you realise you've written enough words but only reached a mid-point in your plot. When I realised this was the case, I went back and re-did the planning, so that a significant subplot could be introduced and woven in earlier on, finding its resolution at the end of Book One without leaving the reader hanging - even though the story goes on. It seems to me that many authors are not bothering with any attempt at a conclusion. The story just stops, suspended in mid-air, and I feel like throwing it across the room.

The end of a novel, in my humble opinion, is required to provide mainly one thing to its readers: Satisfaction. If it doesn't do that, what's the point?

That's why I always ask for opinions on reader satisfaction when I send out manuscripts for critique. After plot continuity and correct grammar, this is my most important criterion for technical quality as an aspect of planning. It has nothing to do with more inspirational aspects such as description, character, and emotional impact. Your writing style may be amazing, but if you don't resolve at least one of the book's major issues by the time it wraps up, you risk leaving your reader with a sensation of emptiness and unrest. Please, please, please don't do that.