Category: On Writing

Dancing Around the Fire

Watching Amazon’s The Boys – more on that soonish – reminded me of my last desperate days stuck under the thumb of the Dinosaur Publishers.  Back in the bad old days when I only rarely dipped my toes into NYC publishing waters in search of a rare good read,...

Cirsova – Late to the Blurb Party

No that blog title is not a secret story only included on the copy of Cirsova provided to advertisers like me.  It’s just the subject of this blogpost and an admission that I’ve been doing it all wrong. Throughout the whole of Volume One of Cirsova, The Magazine of...

Last First Sentences – My Own Petard

This past week we’ve looked at more than a dozen story openings, and hopefully the exercise has been of some value to both the writers out there and the readers.  My thanks to all of the authors whose works were featured in Cirsova magazine, and my sincere hopes that...

Third and Final First Sentences

First sentences matter.  People are judgy and they love to find reasons to reject your works.  Knowing the how and why people judge can help you writers make sales, and they can help you readers be better judges of whether what you’re reading can recover from its doldrums or...

Second First Sentences

Happy All Saints Day!  Don’t forget to ask your favorite Saint to put in a good word for you with the man upstairs.  That’s what they’re here for! Today we continue our look at the first sentences of stories you can find in the most recent issue of Cirsova...

No NaNoWriMo Fo Jo Mo

Nothing against it, just seems counterproductive for a writer in my position. Writing a novel in a single month represents a considerable challenge for new and old writers alike.  Tapping into the inspirational support of a host of like minded writers can be a great help, especially when you...

More First Sentences

Yesterday we looked at three opening sentences of classic pulp stories.  Today let’s take a closer look at three contemporary short stories published in Issue 9 of Cirsova Magazine.  One of the best of the current crop of short fiction periodicals, Cirsova makes for a great case study because...

First Sentences, Examples From the Pulps

In the interests of learning from the masters, here are a few examples of evocative first sentences taken from a random scattering of works.  As with yesterday’s assignment, consider how each sentence hooks your attention, declares stakes, identifies the mood and genre of the piece, and then take a...

First Sentences – An Exercise for Readers and Writers

First impressions matter, all the more so when you’re writing a short story.  Having just dropped three to twelve bucks on a novel, a reader might give you a few pages to correct for a rough opening.  When you’ve only got a few thousand words to get in, shake...

Writing Advice for RPGs

Like many writers, my first real storytelling experiences came about through tabletop RPGs.  Like many gamers, I found the fiction sections included with most RPGs to be wasted space.  Even worse were the needlessly convoluted backstories to otherwise simple adventures, and despite (or perhaps because of my) owning and reading...