Tuesday, April 17, 2018

Writing for our leaders

I was going to get some seasoned authors and critics to help me blog about the literary genre, but it turns out we all got too busy.  So I’ll go it on my own.

Literary novels are the novels taught in schools and universities. They are the classics or are on the path to becoming classics. They may or may not make the New York Times best sellers list, but they generally win all the prominent book awards. They are often selected to be read by book clubs.

They are sometimes not all that entertaining, because entertainment is not their prime purpose.

My novels, so far, have been written to entertain the masses. It is my hope that almost anyone who picks up one of the BackTracker novels, or one of my science fiction novellas will read it and enjoy it. I want the main characters to be likable, the plot to be exciting, the beginning to be compelling and the ending to be satisfying.

I want people to learn a bit about themselves, about their world, about science, drugs, gangs...the police. I want people to ponder the plot, talk about the social issues exposed in the stories. Yes, I want to make a difference in people’s lives, in the world, but I want to do that through appealing to many, keeping my message simple, and gently prodding people to consider new ways of thinking and living.

None of that applies to books in the literary genre.

Literary novels are written to appeal to societal leaders. Characters are multidimensional and are often liked by some readers and not others. As in real life, the plot or action is often not very exciting, the major changes and challenges are often occurring within the characters rather than within the plot.

Over and above all that, a literary novel takes liberty with all rules of writing. The climax might come at the beginning of the literary novel, the ending may be in the middle, the prologue at the end.  The setting may become a character in itself, a character may in essence, be the plot. Setting, may upon close examination actually be pure emotion while a description of the insignificant might portray the universe.

A literary novel is not told with action and dialogue but with an unremitting stirring of emotions. To meet that end, it is rife with literary devices, hidden from the conscious view of the reader. Rhythm and rhyme, allusion, anaphora and alliteration. Metaphor.

A literary novel manipulates emotion and thought without the readers’ awareness and often without their consent.

A reader who puts down a literary novel, remains emotionally trapped for hours in the warp where the novel has led them...and doesn’t know why.

Literary novels don’t necessarily instigate social change, they just as often rob readers of their will to make changes, because after all, life inevitably leads to death—a common theme in literary novels. There always is a message, though. Often poignant, sometimes futile.

Readers who live the emotional experience of reading a novel in the literary genre are ultimately responsible for how effective the story will be at making things better. 

The importance of the literary novel rests not so much on what’s between its covers, but what’s between the ears of the readers who deign to read it.

Writing for our leaders has been brought to you by SCHRÖDINGER'S CAT 

I loved it from the first word." #SciFi 

"And the ending I never expected" #QuantumPhysics

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Tuesday, April 10, 2018

To make a short story long...

My work in progress is not going well. I set out to write a novel and ended up with short story. Everything I wanted to say and all that the characters wanted to do has taken far fewer words than planned.

It’s especially distressing as this was to be my first attempt at writing a literary novel, and literary novels are noted for being wordy and detailed. How my literary attempt came up so short, I’m not sure.  I am not a short story writer. In fact, I have so much to say and my characters insist on so many adventures, I write not only novels but entire series.

I’m not giving up on my quest to be literary, though. Short stories can become novels. I was introduced to my first one in high school. Flowers for Algernon is an award-winning science fiction short story and subsequent novel written by Daniel Keyes.

I did not find Keyes short story lacking in any way, yet the author very cleverly and not at all redundantly, wove his initial ideas into a wonderful book-length story.

That said, unlike Keyes who published his short story first, I don’t intend on letting this short story escape my hard drive. I want to take my amazing short-story characters and develop them. I want to detail their stories, deepen their emotions, make their problems more convoluted.  I want the settings to become powerfully symbolic and the novel’s social message much more profound.

We’ll keep at it!

Next time, I’ll explore what that this novel-in-progress needs in order to be elevated to the “literary” genre.

To make a short story long...has been brought to you by DISPASSIONATE LIES

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Wednesday, April 4, 2018

Wednesday, March 28, 2018

Criminal Minds at Work: #DeleteFacebook

Criminal Minds at Work: #DeleteFacebook: Yes, I'm still on Facebook despite the kerfuffle in the news about the role Facebook data may have played in Cambridge Analytica and Agg...

Tuesday, March 27, 2018

Spring promises

Spring is here with all its tease and impending promise.

Beyond the whistle of the late March blizzard, one can feel it. Hear it. Even the snow now falls slower, quieter, laden with the promise of a quick melt. The chickadees chirp louder, with more persistence, with a familiarity born of eight long months of winter feeding and...their newfound longing to mate. In the evenings, at times a grouse drums in the forest.

On sunny days, the sun rises earlier and travels higher and kisses warmer.  The robins and the geese are yet to arrive, but we imagine them. They will come—soon. Expectations.

Spring—that time of year when life opens. When the future is more imminent than ever. Spring, when graduations happen, careers are chosen, love is consummated and new life is conceived. When one is rejuvenated, inspired, preparing. Learning.


I’m old. My careers have ended. Love is listless. My children are now the restless parents and my bucket list is terrifyingly short. All that’s on the horizon is another summer, a bout of gout. Another realization that one more summer sport must be put aside.


I foresee one more adventure becoming nothing but a virtual campfire dream.

Spring—what do you wish me to do? What new and amazing and intriguing things are you promising? Riding in on your warm breezes is a renewed passion for...what?  What new truths are streaming in your rays, hitting my face, filling an eager mind with wonder?

What spring looks like where I live

I feel the power of your  potential, but Spring, exactly what are you promising this old lady?

Spring Promises has been brought to you by the BackTracker Series. At 15 she ratted out The Traz biker gang. She'll be endangered forever. 

Monday, March 19, 2018

Criminal Minds at Work: DNA and Privacy

Criminal Minds at Work: DNA and Privacy: THE LEGAL ISSUES When my kids gifted my husband and I Ancestry.ca  DNA testing kits, we both got a tad nervous.   Not so much because we feared what might ...

Ancestry--from whence one came

I’m not really a nut over family trees; to me the significance of my ancestors has rested mostly in the stories told to me by my parents. Faces and names and branches on trees mean little to me without a story.

Some people are obsessed with their ancestry, believing perhaps that by remembering and honoring those who have gone before, they will find a measure of immortality in their descendants’ pursuit of the same passion.

I pursue my immortality by publishing novels.

But curiosity is what it is—as is Holiday advertising. So when my son and his family gifted hubby and myself ancestry.ca DNA testing kits for Christmas—after a month of research and contemplation I spit in the vial and mailed it off over the pond to be processed in the Ancestry DNA lab in Ireland.

One doesn’t get a lot of information back with the results. In fact, one gets about ten times as much information and email litter inviting one to cough up one’s Ancestry.ca membership dues and search out ones relatives and build one’s family tree on their website.

Be that as it is, I found the data I received interesting.

Here are my ancestry.ca DNA results for my Ethnicity Estimate:

Great Britain 51%
Ireland/Scotland/Wales 24%
Europe West 11%
Scandinavia 9%
Finland/Northwest Russia 4%
Africa North < 1%

Unlike those in the Ancestry TV ads, the results did not surprise me. They’re a close match to the oral family history passed down.

The only surprise is that smidgen of North African. It is, I’ve come to say, my token attempt at diversity, otherwise I'm kinda like almost pure WASP.

Using my imagination, I filled in a bit more of my history.

It appears my ancestors were not very adventurous. They did not travel far, did not mingle with outsiders—didn’t sow their wild oats around the world so to speak. I've inherited this homebody tendency, staying close to where I was born and traveling afar only for short stints. When my ancestors immigrated to North American, they did so en masse, (according to the Ancestry Immigration maps provided) to New York and then the Eastern US. Family to them, as it is to me, was obviously important.

The tiny bit of North African in my past is interesting. My maiden name is Fairbrother. Perhaps that is because there was dark skin and hair somewhere in my past, with me descending from the fairer of the brothers. Perhaps, too, the North African ancestry explains the kinky (albeit blond) hair that sprouts up once or twice in each generation.

So all in all it’s kind of cool to have had my DNA tested.  My children now wait with great anticipation for my husband’s results to come in. Maybe he will have bigger surprises.

Ancestry--from whence one came has been brought to you by DISPASSIONATE LIES, a tale of conspiracy--and  a powerful woman.
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