Showing posts from 2017

One Hundred Eyes

There is a "Netflix Original" tv series called Marco Polo.  I'm a sucker for historical shows, especially if they feature martial arts.  Since this show had both I couldn't resist! As a short story writer, I really love this day and age we live in with TV series.  I love  how so many of them now tell sprawling tales with complex character development serial style.  This style of storytelling is something that short story readers have known about since forever but only now does it seem to really be hitting the mainstream media. Marco Polo took that serial style one step further by creating a spin off short film (about 30 minutes long) that told the backstory of one of the reoccurring side characters, One Hundred Eyes.  In the series, One Hundred Eyes is the kick butt martial arts master.  What makes him even more hard core is that he's blind.  Nothing is cooler than a blind kung fu master who can hear the enemy coming from a mile awhile.  The short spin off fil

Common Writing Mistake: Presenting Strangers When We Wanted Friends

Here's a harsh publishing reality: the reader does not have to care about your book. Yes, it's your book.  Your brain child.  The thing you spent hours on every day for years trying to perfect.  But you know what?  There are millions and millions and millions of books out there.  If your goal is to sell  this brain child then it is now your job as the author to make  the reader care about your book. The best books are the ones that trigger an emotional response in the reader.  This is a tough pill to swallow because of said mentioned reasons.  You as the author already have an emotional response to the book because you are invested in it.  But when someone reads your story for the first time every single character is a stranger.  The goal is to turn those strangers into friends. "Well, if they get through the whole story then of course the reader will be friends with my characters!" Not true. Consider a news article about a horrible freak accident.  You may

Review of "Room for Rent," a short story by David Toth

Summary: With a marriage and business gone bust, Allen is left with one option––rent out the basement of his isolated house in the Adirondacks to help pay the bills. At first, Greg Shaw is the ideal tenant: quiet, respectful and always pays his rent in cash. His paranoid insistence that dangerous people are after him seems like a harmless quirk. But when a household accident leaves Greg with a broken neck, Allen finds more than just old music records among Greg’s belongings. A large sum of money sits in a local bank and Allen, (a former child-actor) is faced with a decision: report the accident, or impersonate Greg to retrieve the money. Review: A classic tale of betrayal and greed. I really enjoyed this story. Despite the length the cast of characters were very fleshed out and memorable. The former child-actor going rogue was absolutely perfect. The twists and turns were interesting but done concisely, which kept the pace of the story moving forward in a way that was fit

Reassessing what makes writing fun

My "real life" work has changed slightly.  I took on a new position (in addition to doing the jobs of my old one).  Overall, this has been a good thing.  It was a career move and I welcome the opportunities this new position will open up for me. But as with all life changes it has forced me to rebalance other areas of my life, which includes writing.  I have become less and less focused on the business of writing and more viewing it as I used to view it before I got into publishing: as a hobby.  While I do suffer from the occasional pang of regret from not being able to publish as often as I used to, I have found that my enjoyment of writing and  just my general free time has increased. This has made me reassess what it was/is that actually makes writing fun for me.  I've come up with a list: I enjoy getting lost in the world I've created. I enjoy drawing story inspiration from daily experiences. I enjoy thinking about the story I'm writing and contempla

Review of "The Truth about Rebecca," a short story by E.M. Youman

Summary: She's a banshee screaming, sugar-starved monster, and her zookeeper has left you all alone with her. That's what's running through twenty-nine-year-old Henry Dalton's mind, when his five-year-old stepdaughter, Rebecca, enters the room and utters these fatal words. "Where's Mommy?" Review: This is a touching story about two people in need of love and forming an unlikely family.  Henry Dalton, the protagonist, is your very typical bachelor that has absolutely no interest in having a family.  He's just "a guy" that wants to date Rebecca's mom. The circumstances of Dalton taking on Rebecca as his charge border  on unrealistic by how fast everything occurs.  I felt like more time could have been spent exploring Rebecca's mother.  It wouldn't necessarily change the result of the story but perhaps add more emotional depth to the events that follow. Still, the story has a good pace to it.  I enjoyed seeing

Andrew Stanton: The clues to a great story

Filmmaker Andrew Stanton ("Toy Story," "WALL-E") shares what he knows about storytelling -- starting at the end and working back to the beginning. (Contains graphic language ...)