Monday, September 12, 2011


Received my advance reading copy from the publisher.

A unique collection. The only anthology of short-short stories to focus on youth.

In these stories of no more than 1000 words, well-known and emerging American authors spotlight crucial moments of change during coming-of-age. Their young protagonists face matters of great consequence, such as the death of a parent, unwanted pregnancy, and bullying, as well as lighter, if perplexing circumstances: how to hold a prom when being home-schooled; what to do when the babysitter suddenly sees the Rapture. The stories are of this moment--a girl who falls in love and then is pressured to lose her virginity in a cyberspace world--and they also remember the past: the Nixon era, the Vietnam War, slavery. Here is a glimpse into the way we live now from the point of view of those who will determine the future. Among the contributors are Steve Almond, Peter Bacho, Richard Bausch, Gayle Brandeis, Richard Brautigan, Ron Carlson, Kelly Cherry, Dave Eggers, Pia Z. Ehrhardt, Jim Heynen, Victor Lavalle, Meg Kearney, Naomi Shihab Nye, Maryann O'Hara, Sonia Pilcer, Pamela Painter, Bruce Holland Rogers, Robert Shapard, and Alice Walker.


Wednesday, August 24, 2011

Short or long?

What is your favorite length? No, it's not a sexual or a fashion question. Do you prefer writing novels, short stories or flash? Do you prefer to take your time to develop a story or do you favor concise writing? I've seen many people complain that there novels have to be reduced from 100k or more words because publishers don't like such length. I have an opposite problem: my own novels are too short.

It's a hard work to trim the fat, making sure you don't break the bones and cut flesh. It's like sculpting: cut, step back, observe, cut again. But unlike sculptors, we writers can always return to the previous edit.

Friday, August 19, 2011

Do you write porn?

Do you write porn? I don’t, but once I posted a very short parody on Harry Potter fanfic porn (yes, such genre exists) on a writer’s website. A woman writer was very vocal in her indignation, and as a result the sysop took the post down. I have later discovered that the woman herself was a soft porn writer.

So, do you write porn? If yes, why? If no, why not?

Thursday, August 18, 2011

A quote of the day from a book agent

A quote of the day from Tom Dark, an agent with Heacock Hill.

We’re unusually swamped with queries and I’m not sure why. Maybe it’s the economy and lots of people imagining the way to make a quick buck is to copy some vampire movie and the like (not kidding)…

… from where we stand, the market is glutted with … YA paranormal stories. … there’s so much of it going around. The commercial publishing industry put out 350,000 new titles last year and 93% of them lost money. They didn’t specify what the 7% were that made money, but I rather suspect it was in a “captive audience” area like textbooks. They’re losing billions, we know that much.

We’re both [he and Catt LeBaigue] pleased lately to see that the “Harry Potter” imitators have slowed down, but it’s always somebody they’re imitating. Getting something original published is very difficult—as Rowling’s books were—but flooding the market with imitations does lose money, as we have seen.

He goes on to recommend self-publishing. Of course, self-publishing requires that the author would become the editor, proof-reader, designer and marketeer. And there will be no validation by the peer review before the publishing. I would rather write and let the agent and publisher do the real work.

Friday, August 12, 2011

A Stale Device?

I think that giving the name, rank and serial number of the protagonist in the first sentence has become a very stale device. OK, no serial number, just the name. I know it's convenient, and it has been done successfully before, but that doesn't make it any more stale.

There are other ways to address this problem:

From the New Yorker: Gilgulby Yosef Hayim Yerushalmi

“You know,” she said almost shyly, “that I have the ability, if you wish, to look into your eyes and tell you when you will die?”

Read more


Friday, March 11, 2011

Why must a story...?

Q. Why must a story contain a resolution of conflict with a change in the protagonist? It doesn't happen in real life.

A. It mustn't, but it would be a better story that way. As for real life, we know that fiction is lies and that writers lie for money and fame.

Wednesday, March 9, 2011

Yaroslav blogs here.

Yaroslav, the Poslopian shape changer blogs here.