Sunday, January 06, 2013

Featured Article Archives


How to Fight Piracy    Reviewed By: Carlos J Cortes    Publish Date: January 05, 2013

Your work has been stolen and posted somewhere without your permission, worse yet, your e-book it’s available as a free download at one of the countless torrents. Now what?

I’m sorry if I sound pessimistic, but to accomplish anything you’ll have to run through a reverse gauntlet. As you know, “running the gauntlet”—in its original sense—means to race, as a punishment, between parallel lines of people who thrash the runner with everything at hand. In a reverse gauntlet, the spectators stand still and do nothing while the runner thrashes about trying to get their attention....more

Empty Pages    Reviewed By: Renée Miller    Publish Date: December 29, 2012


"Good writing is supposed to evoke sensation in the reader -- not the fact that it is raining, but the feeling of being rained upon." -- E.L. Doctorow
Readers do not want empty words. To agents and publishers they scream that you’re either an amateur or mediocre writer. What are empty words? I’m glad you asked. They’re words that don’t help the reader see, hear or feel anything. They just fill up your prose so you think you’re all fancy-like, but really you’re just annoying. Empty words are a sign of weak writing....more

Porn, Erotica and Drawing the Line    Reviewed By: Renée Miller    Publish Date: December 22, 2012

Warning: In case you’re dumb as a stump and the title didn’t tip you off, this article may not be all good clean fun. We’re about to get a little dirty. Profanity and slightly graphic descriptions of sex and human anatomy will follow.

Clean fiction advocates should probably just move along. This will only offend you. And you kids should get out of here too.

I love reading well-written erotica and sex scenes. I admire a writer who can go all-out and write a novel that’s all about steam. But I’ve noticed the problems these writers have. Most use pen names because in their real lives writing such themes gets them into all kinds of hot water. Why? Well there are many reasons. Basically porn and erotica are mistakenly lumped together all the time, and they’re always seen by the “normals” as taboo. Well it’s time to stop the insanity....more

Crime Scene Procedures    Reviewed By: Carlos J Cortes    Publish Date: December 15, 2012

As detailed in Crime and Criminal Justice for the year 2008, only in the U.S. there are over 700,000 police officers. If we add lawyers, other legal staff, technicians and medical personnel with knowledge of crime-scene procedure, the number is close to two million.

Nothing can antagonize readers faster than a narrative where it becomes obvious the writer hasn’t done his homework. In other words, where the writer portrays events and procedures removed from the reality.

Since crime scenes are depicted in most genres, not only in thriller and suspense works, getting the finer details right is the duty of any conscientious writer....more

Do We Even Need Genre?    Reviewed By: Renée Miller    Publish Date: December 08, 2012

Why do we have to pick a genre to write in exclusively? I understand books need to be categorized, but what if an author had, oh I don’t know, diverse interests? What if she wrote books about crime one day and the next wrote a bit of paranormal romance or horror? Is she to choose a single genre and stay there? And why, please someone tell me, must we feel the need to tack “gay” onto anything involving a same-sex romantic relationship?

Let’s not forget to ask why we’re all so damn defensive about the genres we read and write in. I am surprised all the time how passionately people feel about their favorite types of books, and the prejudices they hold for those genres they deem unworthy of their time....more

What Kids Can Teach You about Writing    Reviewed By: Renée Miller    Publish Date: December 01, 2012

As a child, I recall all of the rules that I felt prevented me from being free to do whatever I wanted. I used to wish I could grow up fast so that I could experience everything without a grownup around to ruin the fun. But years later, as I watch my own kids, I realized that children have a type of freedom that adults rarely get to enjoy; the freedom to escape into their imaginations, unfettered by morals, societal norms and such. Children can create a world and lose themselves in it for hours at a time. They’re constantly learning and growing and, best of all, children are filled with wonder....more

Whatever Happened to Theme?    Reviewed By: Renée Miller    Publish Date: November 24, 2012

Critics often wonder (quite loudly sometimes) if theme is no more than a lost art in today’s fiction. I mean, how likely are readers of this century to ask, “What does it mean?” or “What’s the point of the story?” We’re more likely to note whether or not the story makes sense and the cause and effect of everyone’s actions is logical and realistic. Boy, are we ever not expecting anything from writers. It’s not the readers who have caused the art of theme to be lost, though, it’s us—the writers. While we might work a few moments of insight in a story, we tend to avoid asking the big questions about life, morality, love, hate—you get the idea. Big questions are considered cliché by many modern writers. It's all about entertainment, about sales, and this has really put a damper on the once overwhelming importance of theme.....more

Writing Ugly    Reviewed By: Renée Miller    Publish Date: November 17, 2012

Writing fiction is like stripping off all your clothes in a crowded room, baring yourself to everyone who cares to look, while wearing a mask to conceal your identity at the same time. The naked you wants others to admire what you have to offer, the masked part prefers to hide in the shadows, observing without being judged. It’s a strange contradiction that leaves use exhilarated and terrified at once. ...more

Pull On Your Big Girl Pants and Keep Writing    Reviewed By: Renée Miller    Publish Date: November 10, 2012

ear Writer,

The editors at In Your Fucking Dreams, Loser Publishing, LLC, all brilliant and magical and shiny-like, are writing to let you know, in case our six months of silence wasn’t clue enough for your sluggish, untalented brain, that we reject you.

Your story was so unbelievably awful that we printed off your sample chapters and pegged them to the announcement board in the lunchroom so everyone could mock you behind your back. A few of us threw things at it, and Joe from the mail room drew a steaming pile of shit in the middle of the text. It was funny. Ah, Joe’s a good guy. But after mocking it, a few of us felt rather dirty. Not because of the mocking, because of the sheer lack of talent that literally leapt off the pages....more

Judging Literary Merit    Reviewed By: Renée Miller    Publish Date: November 03, 2012

Many news sources have reported that some high-profile private donors have stepped in to save the UK's only prize for female writers after failing to come up with a long-term backer to replace Orange for 2013.

“Cherie Blair, the "internet tsar" Martha Lane Fox and the novelist Joanna Trollope are among the supporters who have stepped up to save the Orange prize, which will now be known as the women's prize for fiction.

Set up to "celebrate excellence, originality and accessibility in women's writing from around the world", the award is given annually to the best book by a woman written in English.”

(The Guardian)

I sighed when I read this...more

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