How fiction starts: an analysis of 1200+ sff books

When I make my writing analysis posts, I usually pick random sentences but beginnings may be an even better choice. They are probably the most edited, if not overthought, parts of a book, and it’s also where writers show off their skill or (if they fail at it) their weaknesses. And if you want to see how writing changes through time, the first sentence may actually be all you need to read. And for those who have huge submission piles to plow through, the first two sentences is all you need to read for the first culling.

If you have followed me for some time, you already know my dislike of contemporary writing fads and techniques and my belief that you can see its decline in quality just in the formal aspect of writing. Strange syntax, (too) deep POVs, -ing participles galore, unnecessary descriptions, showing where telling would be perfectly fine and, finally, no personal style and no distinctive narrator—just piles and piles of descriptions, one after the other, like a transcription of a video recording. And, sure, it’s fine and all to talk about these things in the abstract and using a few examples from time to time, but it’s better to have some solid evidence to back you up. So here it is.

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Indie self-publishing experiments, or “I’d rather eat my own gallbladder.”

I ran a little experiment a few days ago, although you can consider other of my publishing attempts in the previous years a long experiment, and I’m a strong believer in the principle of publishing negative results, not just your successes.

I knew the results wouldn’t be great, and as I began reading up on the subject my gnawing feeling got worse, but really, never for I moment I thought it would be that bad.

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The Butcher of Greystone – A Short Story now available.

My short story is live on Amazon for the awesome price of $1 (or something quite close to that,) a price so low you’d think I’ve suffered brain damage!

It’s a horror story, but following the epistolary genre of Gothic novels, mixing a bit of dark fantasy and weirdness in there. Most of the text is a single “letter” (a confession actually) written by Martin Goddard, a man dubbed by the populace as The Butcher of Greystone for his mass-killing of everybody in said castle. He’s on death row, in the final hours before his execution, and he writes this confession/short autobiography to set the record straight and explain his side of the story. However, there’s maybe more at play than even he knows. Click on the link and read the sample available to see if you like it.

My goal is to see if it’s viable to self-publish short stories. It may not be very profitable, and the royalties for that price range are awful, but let’s see where the whole thing leads. I have more short stories ready, so I’ll probably upload more in the coming weeks.

If you are curious about the awesome cover art, it’s from an old XIX century Spanish book, and the picture was uploaded under a Creative Commons license. I simply turned up the contrast and made a few changes to make it darker and more brooding.

As always, comments, reviews, and the like are appreciated. And if someone wants a copy review, ask away.

 

 

 

Game of Scoliosis*, manly posture, suits, and other stuff.

*Kyphosis, actually, but that doesn’t sound that funny.

I saw this image yesterday, and I chuckled immediately. It was a reflexive laughter, and it took me awhile to understand what exactly had triggered my reaction.

GoT
That’s from the TV show Game of Thrones, in case you have been living under a rock these last years. Image Sauce: NYTimes

As I said, I laughed when I saw this, even before I had consciously processed what I had seen. A few minutes of heavy thunkin’ later, I realized what was wrong: they look ridiculous while trying to look cool, which is the worst kind of ridiculousness that exists.

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Reading the Hugos (2018) Carnival Nine

I regret to inform you, dear reader, that after reading the first Short Story nominee for this year’s Hugo Awards, I have come to the conclusion that Carnival Nine, for that is its name, is Not Awful. That may seem an uninformative score, but… not really, at least for me, as it is quite significant since what I usually expect is Awful.

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These foking fockers focking focked language again: on swearing and fiction.

Today is the Lord’s Day so I won’t engage in any posting of wicked and evil news for it is known that all journalists are servants of one devil or another, and reading their shrieking incantations for too long is a sure path to damnation and mental retardation. Instead, I’ll write about swearing in writing and the word fuck.

Continue reading “These foking fockers focking focked language again: on swearing and fiction.”