The Short Story: Need, Limits, and Theme #amwritng

After reading your post, I went back to my story and gave it a once over. Such great information in this post. Loved it.

Life in the Realm of Fantasy

When writing a short story, it helps to know how it will end. I suggest you put together a broad outline of your intended story arc. I’m a retired bookkeeper, so I have a mathematical approach to this. Divide your story arc into quarters, so you have the important events in place at the right time.

Assume you have a 4000 word limit for your short story.

You have less than three paragraphs before a prospective editor sets your work aside. If those paragraphs don’t grab her, she won’t buy your story. Pay attention: you absolutely must have a good opening paragraph.

The first 250 words are the setup and hook. The next 750 words takes your character out of their comfortable existence and launches them into “the situation” –will they succeed or not?

The next 2,500 words detail how the protagonist arrives at a resolution.

The final 500 words…

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The Dark Side of the Moon

Karen Dowdall has written a jaw dropping short story. Here’s hoping she turns it into a novel.

K. DeMers Dowdall

They are gone. All of them. I am alone on this planet. A planet now little more than a dustbin of old dreams of what could have been. They didn’t heed the warnings of what was to come without change.

Perhaps, it would have happened anyway. The change in the atmosphere was a warning, dismissed as fake news, until it wasn’t. The storms grew more violent, the sea raged over embankments, sea levels rose exponentially, displacing millions of families and communities around the planet. Fierce and deadly land wars began, food shortages were everywhere. All signs that something terrible was about to happen.

It started slowly at first. The air began to lose oxygen gas, nitrogen gas, and argon gas. It was replaced with greenhouse gases released from fossil fuels: nitrous oxide, carbon dioxide, and methane. The Atmosphere, Biosphere, and the Geosphere showed overwhelming signs that complete degeneration would…

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In the Night Wood by Dale Bailey

For those who love a true “Once Upon a Time” tale.

Cover to Cover


Charles Hayden has been fascinated by a strange Victorian fairy tale, In the Night Wood, since he was a child. When his wife, Erin – a descendant of the author – inherits her ancestor’s house, the couple decide to make it their home. Still mourning the recent death of their daughter, they leave America behind, seeking a new beginning in the English countryside.

But Hollow House, filled with secrets and surrounded by an ancient oak forest, is a place where the past seems very much alive. Isolated among the trees, Charles and Erin begin to feel themselves haunted – by echoes of the stories in the house’s library, by sightings of their daughter, and by something else, as old and dark as the forest around them.

A compelling and atmospheric gothic thriller, In the Night Wood reveals the chilling power of myth…

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Unraveling the mind of the Trump Supporter

Trump Voters A recent review paper published in the Journal of Social and Political Psychology by Professor Thomas Pettigrew of UC Santa Cruz cites 5 traits Trump supporters have in common.

1 Authoritarianism: A rigid hierarchical view of society.  This trait is triggered by fear of outsiders and by exaggerated threats to gain allegiance.

2 Social Dominance Orientation: (SDO Syndrome). This refers to those who prefer a hierarchy of high status to low status. Those with SDO Syndrome are typically dominant and driven by self-interest.

3 Prejudice: “Dog Whistles” are codes that appeal to those who are subject to bigotry. Bullying and slandering typically incite this syndrome.

4 Lack of Inter-group Contact: A division of zip-codes and isolation of whites are a strong predictor of the lack of true and meaningful interaction with minorities and immigrants.

5 Relative Deprivation: A skewed perception of what one is entitled to whether of economical or social status.


New Releases 1/8

Book People has compiled a varied look at a number of books, many for YA but also for adults. Brief, but insightful book reviews.


The Winter of the Witch: A Novel (Winternight Trilogy #3) Cover ImageThe Winter of the Witch

By Katherine Arden:

Following their adventures in The Bear and the Nightingale and The Girl in the Tower, Vasya and Morozko return in this stunning conclusion to the powerful bestselling Winternight Trilogy, battling enemies mortal and magical to save both Russias, the seen and the unseen. Moscow has been struck by disaster. Its people are searching for answers—and someone to blame. Ellen says “One of the things I think sets this trilogy apart from other fantasy series, is that each book has its own identity. I didn’t feel like I was reading the same book three times. The three books definitely go together, but enough changes in the plot, characters, and tone from book to book keep them interesting and distinct. Recommend highly for fans of Laini Taylor, Naomi Novik, Rachel Hartman, and maybe even Game of Thrones.” Don’t miss Katherine Arden at BookPeople

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Enthralling and Heartrending

51xdj7pegfl__sy346_  Book Review of Washington Black, Five Stars

Stepping into this novel is like stepping into the life of a young negro slave in 1830’s Barbados. Faith sugar cane Plantation is ruled by Erasmus, a hard, evil master. But the young slave, Washington known as Wash, has an unknown talent discovered by the brother of Erasmus, Christopher known as Titch. Christopher, who is as kind as his brother is harsh, takes young Wash under his wing to help him construct a contraption known as a Cloud-Cutter, similar to a hot air balloon. Titch and Wash embark on a series of death defying adventures, but mostly, they are dangerous for Wash who upon his escape from the island with Titch is sought dead or alive by Erasmus. Over the course of years as Wash becomes an adult, we readers embark on a voyage filled with pathos, joy and heartbreak. This is a beautifully crafted novel. I highly recommend it for those who love history and dynamic storytelling.