Tag Archives: Fiction Story

We’re Learning

Learn the difference!More on the first 13 lines of Woman’s Best Friend:

The start is good. There’s nothing there that wouldn’t keep me from reading on.

A couple of minor items that I think might keep the start a bit more taut.

Having personally had a big dog barking out the window at night, there is generally no problem identifying your dog. Its not the dog, but the relentless barking that’s important.

You can identify Jessie as a golden retriever at another point. The silhouette at the window gets in the way of the opening’s tension.

The other phrase that I noted… Her thought of having the car home anyway is a distraction to me. Mark could have taken a taxi home. It’s a little hitch in the suspense, unless her thought is no matter who it is something’s wrong. We want to know what’s out there as soon as possible.

Hope that helps a little bit.

I’d be happy to give your story a read.

And:

This looked pretty smooth to me as far as grammar, syntax, and sentence structure; no flaws that I could identify. I’m assuming that, in addition to being modern suspense, this is some type of speculative fiction story, SF, fantasy, horror, or otherwise. If my assumption is correct, I have to say there isn’t enough “otherness” to spark my interest in the first thirteen. I’d imagine the hook is the dog’s unusual behavior and the implications that arise from that. I’d read on with the hope and/or expectation that the monster or demon or alien or villain pops up pretty quickly after this. If it didn’t, and the style continued as is (not saying the style is bad, but I’m a big fan of verbosity and descriptive imagery) I’m not sure how far I would make it. Just one man’s opinion and preferences, though.If this piece is not intended to be speculative, please ignore my comments

And:

I thought this was both well written and mildly luring. I would offer to read, but unless you can promise a “wow-ing” speculative event, I would probably be uninterested simply because I am a genre reader and don’t typically get interested in ‘Normal’ stuff

But if you think it breaks a mold, fell free to send it my way.

And:

Hey Jason, My take.

This is an any day in anyone’s life opening. Dog barks, wakes owner, not very compelling. Your second paragraph read like a geometry thereom. A couldn’t be B because B wasn’t in C and A didn’t have D and B wasn’t at E and E needed to equal F for A to be near E.

Dog barking at what no one knows opening is as done as MC waking up from dream opening (post one of them and watch those complaints roll in).

So, in other words, opening lacks a hook.


So; what have we learned? 3.5ish votes that this is compelling enough to turn the page, and one solid vote “no”. You can’t please everyone, but the “no” helps in a big way too. He echoes an already-expressed sentiment by another: Too many irrelevant details in paragraph 2.

Early consensus: Paragraph 2 needs work.

More than that, I’m interested in the 1.5 votes for “I’ll read it IF…” as in, if it really is science fiction. Even though they are only evaluating the opening, this is already insight to the whole story. No out-of-the-ordinary element is evident. And if not, why do they care? Like me, they get enough reality FROM REALITY; they read to go someplace else.

This makes me conscious that Naomi’s encounter in the clearing doesn’t happen for quite awhile. This is time I may be boring or annoying the reader. (And thus the magazine editor.)

The final reviewer points out that the opening is five minutes out of anyone’s life. Even though I, as the writer, may know how beautiful and mysterious the scene is when connected with upcoming events, my reader may not necessarily get that experience.

It is likely the next draft will start much closer to the encounter in the clearing, possibly WITH that encounter, or at the very least, with a hook referring ahead to that encounter to promise the reader something more interesting than an annoying dog is afoot.

Non-fiction Article Sold…Again?

soldLast night I received notice from www.helium.com that another the same article was purchased again by a third-party publisher.

Same circumstances as before; subcontracted for pennies-on-the-dollar of the going rate for freelance articles. We’re talking payment so cheap, the article has sold TWICE and I still don’t meet the “minimum withdrawl” amount at Helium.

So although my work has proven profitable, to Helium in actuality and to two publishers in theory, I haven’t yet made a dime from it.

Still, it’s a thrill to know my work strikes a chord with people. Just a shame that even my marginal successes (so far) come from non-fiction!

The really good news is that I still own the copyright, and as many publishers as desire can buy the same article again, furthermore I can also still submit it to magazines on my own. (Just not for First North American Rights.)

The other cool thing is that this reminded me of a fiction story idea built around the same frustrations I express in this non-fiction piece.