So you can read my books

Saturday, July 7, 2012


No, the Nile doesn't flow up you protest.

Sure, it does ... when you look at a map, the Nile flows up.

Of course, there is a difference between what appears UP on a map and the compass direction NORTH.

In reality, the Niles flows DOWN the mountains of East Africa to the Mediterranean Sea.

Reality is a slippery thing.

Heroes can wear fur ... but not easily.

The immense popularity of THE WIND IN THE WILLOWS did not come until Graham’s last few years,

when A. A. Milne staged it (1929) and E. H. Shephard illustrated it (1932).

The first reviews of the book were lukewarm or worse; this is excerpted from the famous thumbs-down which appeared in the London Times in 1908, the year of first publication:

"The chief character is a mole whom the reader plumps upon on the first page whitewashing his house. Here is an initial nut to crack; a mole whitewashing. No doubt moles like their abodes to be clean; but whitewashing? Are we very stupid, or is this joke really inferior?"

All of which probably explains the hard reception, Hibbs, the bear with two shadows, is facing

What some critics, agents, and even publishers do not seem to realize is:


Like Mark Twain said, "Fiction has to make sense."

I.) Fiction reflects reality through a mirror darkly ...

A.) That mirror reflects society's face with all its ...

1.) Blemishes

2.) Scars

3.) Hopes

4.) Its dreams and the smiles despite the inner pain of most of the people you walk past on the streets.

II.) Fiction distills reality, revealing more truth than reality does in a shorter span of time.

A.) Fiction prunes out anything that doesn't propel the story and themes forward.

B.) Fiction is more intense and dense page by page than our lives are day by day.

III.) Fiction is a crucible ...

1.) holding our characters to the fire to purify and hone their spirits so that they are stronger, purer or broken or shattered at the novel's end.

2.) We are the blacksmiths, hammering our characters on the anvil of adversity. If our characters are having a good time, our readers grow bored.

IV.) As in reality, adversity introduces our characters to themselves and to the reader.

1.) Unlike reality, all dross events are sifted from the narrative.

2.) The best fiction reveals the characters of our players in what they do and why they do it.

3.) Shallow fiction makes prose puppets, forcing the characters to do things, not letting their actions flow from their inner natures.

V.) That is why everything in fiction serves multiple purposes. Like packing a solitary suitcase for a long trip, each item, each scene must serve multiple functions.

1.) Life is often haphazard, cluttered.

2.) Fiction must never be those things.

3.) Fiction ultimately relates seemingly unrelated items and scenes.


a.) Parents give a gun to a young boy for his birthday instead of the bike he wanted.

b.) How does that relate to anything?

c.) It was the same gun that his older sister used to commit suicide.

d.) Based on a true incident from M. Scott Peck's PEOPLE OF THE LIE.

VI.) Like a skillful mother, an author should be doing 2 things at all times in the same scene or action.

A.) As in the prior example :

1.) The gun wasn't just an inappropriate gift to a young boy.

2.) It was a silent message : We want you to kill yourself, too.

B.) Likewise each scene should propel the story forward, upping the tension and suspense at the same time :

1.) As with the above example :

2.) Boy now knows his parents want him dead.

3.) What does he do with that knowledge? What can he do? He is just a young boy at the mercy of insane parents.

And we as writers are at the mercy of influential agents, publishers, and critics upon whom the fate of our novels rest. What can we do?

Stand on our ground.


  1. Does that mean 'get stubborn'? I consider that good advice, Roland.
    An excellent post, good examples.

    Liked this post. Right now, I'm in the middle reading the Legend of Victor Standish and then on to End of Days. Hope to make the deadline for your contest but will post a review anyway.

  2. D.G.:
    I'm much too much a gentleman to ever tell ladies to get stubborn! But yes, that's what it means. :-)

    For you and several others who emailed me, I will extend my contest to July 30th. Perhaps by then, my T-shirts, posters, and mugs with the art from the cover of THE LEGEND OF VICTOR STANDISH will be in for other prizes.