Saturday, November 8, 2014

Presenting a Story in Epistolary Form

I’m not known as a riverboat gambler, but I did take a calculated risk with one of my works of short fiction. I decided to present Swimming for Pride in epistolary form. Instead of describing physical features of the characters and describing their interactions through dialogue, I simply provided a chronology of letters, emails, texts, and journal entries. As the story tells itself, the reader creates his/her own image of the characters. At least that was the plan.

I think this is easier to pull off with a short story than a novel. Swimming for Pride (5410 words) seemed a good candidate for this approach. It is an emotional story about coping with change, and is about something much bigger than swimming.

Swimming for Pride is currently free at Amazon, Apple, and Smashwords.

I welcome any feedback or suggestions about the epistolary format used for this story. Thanks!


You're invited to connect with me on Facebook and Flash Fiction Magazine.

Monday, October 13, 2014

Beware: THE 100-WORD DASH is coming

My next project has been in the works for several months and will involve a compilation of my 100-word stories.

Tentatively titled THE 100-WORD DASH, I plan to compile 100 of my best 100-word stories in a single volume for distribution in eBook format. Some have been published in various places, such as Flash Fiction Magazine, and some have yet to see the light of day.

The stories will be fairly evenly split among the broad topics of college, sports, and life in general. Im using only my very best stories for this compilation, and currently have about 75 that I think will make the cut. 

Many thanks to all who have commented or liked my 100-word stories on Facebook and Flash Fiction Magazine!

#flashfiction #100wordstories

Friday, May 16, 2014

Why Fiction Writing and Golf Don't Mix

My advice is to pick one. Don’t do both. Fiction writing and golf don’t go together.

The reason can be stated in one simple word:


Fiction writers thrive on tension. They seek it out in life so they can observe and understand it. Then they exploit it in their story telling. Without tension among characters, fiction would be boring. A writing group I follow is working on creating more tension and twists in their story telling. It’s essential for fiction writers.

Golfers avoid tension like the plague. Tension causes muscles to tighten, thereby ruining the fluid swing needed for good golf. Golfers constantly try to reduce tension. Golf magazines I read contain articles and “how to” tips on eliminating tension in the grip and swing. It’s a killer for golf.

Trust me, you can’t turn this tension thing on and off as you move from your writing desk to the golf course.

Having said all that, I’ll probably ignore my own advice and continue to muddle along doing both.

At least now everyone will understand that my deteriorating golf game is not my fault.

That’s my story, anyway.

Follow me on Facebook and Flash Fiction Magazine.

Saturday, February 8, 2014

Short Stories Don't Just Happen

As I’m sure you can understand, security regulations prohibit me from offering in-person tours of my short-story writing and publication facilities. However, I decided to use this month’s blog post to do the next best thing.

What follows is a rare, behind-the-scenes look at my self-publishing empire.

A brief summary is given of each department and its role in the development and publication of a story. As with most things in life, teamwork and communication are critical.

Research Department (Me)
Most story ideas start here after painstaking research into current issues in higher education and college sports.

Writing Group (Me, myself, and I)
This is where the actual story writing takes place. The door is usually closed, and from the outside you can hear periodic sounds of ping . . . ping . . . . ping. These are crumpled sheets of discarded manuscript pages being tossed across the room at a tin trashcan. About one-third actually hits the can.

Art Department (Only me)
Cover designs are created here. I have to admit there is some creative tension between the Art Department and Writing Group. It seems the Writing Group wants more input into cover designs.

Legal Department (Little ole me)
This department must sign-off on all stories before publication to ensure we don’t get sued. (I had to jump through all kinds of hoops to get approval from the Legal Department to write this summary for my blog.)

Marketing and Promotions Department (Me and only me)
This department handles all pre- and post-publication marketing. The most mundane dribble is made to sound interesting and exciting.

Accounting Department (Just me)
Bean counting takes place here. This department continually hounds me about the cash flow challenges created by offering free stories.

Quality Assurance (Yours truly)
Everything is checked here before it goes out the door. This department is always saying Quality is everyone’s job. I’ve never understood why we need a separate department for this.

IT Department (No one but me)
All technical issues are addressed here. This department lets everyone know we can’t publish an eBook without them. All my technical support requests seem to be greeted by the same refrain: Are you sure it’s plugged in and turned on?

Unlike most business entities, we don’t have morning staff meetings. Instead, we opt for happy hour around 5 PM. We hash out our differences, mend fences, and get back after it the next day.

That is, unless it’s a bright and sunny day.

Then we all hit the golf course or the lake instead.