Category Writing stuff

Still More Thoughts on Depiction and Appropriation.

Yeah, dull. I know. But this is tricky stuff. Publishing being what it is, a new or low-profile writer who wants a useful relationship with the small presses (which are a great place to kickstart a career!) needs to be aware that unlike the big publishing houses, small presses are likely to get benefit from […]

Diversity, Representation, Appropriation… Again

So, on the heels of the discussion regarding cultural appropriation, I want to dive into tricky waters again. Not to offer any answers, but to raise questions and expose some dangers, hopefully with the result of provoking some talk and maybe hearing ideas and directions from others. This time around, I aim to explore the […]

Appropriation, Fiction, and The Hero With A Thousand Faces

Lately there’s been considerable fuss about the concept of ‘cultural appropriation’ as applied to the process of creating fiction. In the most extreme form of application, the idea of ‘appropriation’ makes pretty much all fiction morally unsound. According to this interpretation, you are meant to write of experiences and cultural mores that you personally embody […]

The Great Gerund Hunt

“It was close. So close I could smell it, even through the stink of fear-sweat and the rough tang of the city streets. Gerund. Once you get that scent… once you’ve smelled it, that cloying mix of blood and carrion and jasmine and chocolate, you’ll never forget it. You’ll never mistake it. You’ll never be […]

The City Man And The Cat

(Many moons ago, two very dear friends of mine moved to the country. I won’t tell you where from, or where to… but I will say this: they were named Garth and Bonita, and that’s as much as you need to know. Except, maybe, that this is a true story told to me in person […]

Building Character

(…continuing a simple walkthrough on the most basic elements of the short story)     What exactly is a character, anyway? How do they fit into the art of short story writing, and what do we need to know about them? The short answer is this: characters are the elements of a story which have […]

The Unicorn (A Simple Story For Study)

(This story is posted as part of the ongoing introductory walkthrough to basic short story writing. It has no particularly outstanding merits except that it is 1) short, 2) easily amenable to analysis and 3) belongs to me so I don’t have to worry about copyright. Have fun, folks!)   The Unicorn It cost a […]

On Short Stories (Part 1)

This is the first part in what will be a moderately long series. It will eventually be compiled into a PDF for free release. It’s not as though I imagine my perspective on writing short stories is unique, or even unusually valuable… but it can’t hurt to lay out some very simple ideas on the […]

Make It Bleed: The Third Dimension of Storytelling

This is the third and final piece of musing on the art of the storytelling — at least, for now. (I’m a writer. No doubt I’ll be back here sometime, marvelling at my past arrogance and stupidity. Sufficient unto the day…) So far, I’ve discussed what I call two dimensions of storytelling. The first — […]


She stood in the shadow of a pylon, trembling with something more than cold. A vagrant moonbeam turned her breath into a silver halo. I didn’t want to frighten her, so I cleared my throat. She turned, her eyes wide. “Sorry,” I said. “You wouldn’t have a light?” She stared, then shook her head. “I’m […]