Monday, July 27, 2015

Mr. Cizak's Writing Tips #1

I'm not the biggest fan of writers telling other people how to write, but I figured I might offer up a tip once a
week or so, and so, here's the first one:

If you are writing in third person close pov, you don't need to tell the reader your protagonist "thought" something. For example:

Bill thought Felicia had a pretty mouth.

If Bill is the POV character, than any commentary on anything else will be attributed to Bill since it's his mind we're in. I see this quite a bit as an editor at Pulp Modern. POV characters constantly telling the reader they thought this and that. It's wasted words. Just make the observation, the reader will figure out it's the POV character's thoughts. Sometimes I'll put the POV character's thoughts in italics, especially if the character's speaking voice and narrating voice are different (i.e., unreliable), hence:

Felicia spoke in a French accent. She asked Bill what he was doing in New Jersey.

"Visiting my nephew," said Bill. "He's a leprechaun from Hoboken." You sure got a pretty mouth.

"Fascinating," said Felicia.

In fact, POV characters often get too many attribute phrases and sentences. I'll go into that more in a later tip.

Saturday, July 25, 2015

Between Juarez and El Paso Now Available!

I wrote a Drifter Detective novella. It's called Between Juarez and El Paso. It's now available here. This is a link to the paperback version, which I hope you'll buy. There's a kindle version as well.

Thanks to David Cranmer and Beat to a Pulp for letting me write a chapter in this excellent series! And if you haven't read the other books, they're by Garnett Elliott and Wayne Dundee, so, you know, get to it!

Wednesday, July 22, 2015

Pulp Modern #9 Now Available

Dangerous women populate the pages of this super-charged, double-sized issue of Pulp Modern! From little girls luring old perverts to their deaths to shape-shifting women in the wild west, your appetite for new, engaging fiction will be thoroughly satisfied! Including work by the following writers: Math Bird, Monica Clark, Jen Conley, Janna Darkovich, Christopher Davis, Coy Hall, Michael McNichols, David Rachels, Melody Reams, Mike Sheedy, Max Sheridan, Deborah Sheldon, Parnell Stultz, Liam Sweeny, and John Teel. Edited by Alec Cizak (author of CROOKED ROADS and BETWEEN JUAREZ AND EL PASO).

Now available at Amazon, for those of you who feel comfortable ordering from a place you've heard of on television.

It is also available at createspace, for those of you who want to really help support the Uncle B. cause, as createspace pays twice the royalties that Amazon does.

FYI -- The next theme for Pulp Modern deals with The South. I'd like to see stories where the hillbillies don't sleep with their relatives and eat poor, "innocent" city slickers whose cars just happen to break down in the country. Pulp Modern will open for submissions again from October 1 to December 1.

Monday, July 6, 2015

Southwestern Noir Done Right

Beat to a Pulp has just put out a collection of short fiction by the writer who, in my opinion, sets the standard for all contemporary crime writers. Garnett Elliott's Scorched Noir rounds up eight tales that take place in the southwest, mostly Arizona. I've seen a lot of people attempt to compare various noir writers to Raymond Carver, but I think only Mr. Elliott actually lives up to that comparison. While Carver made the bleak lives of lower middle class and impoverished Americans fashionable with the latte' crowd, I always got a sense that Carver looked down on his characters. Garnett Elliott does not. He presents these desperate folks--prison guards, holdup artists, junkies, and even the small night staff of a local hospital--as they are, without judgment. The 'scorched' part of the title of the book is well represented throughout. One feels that a slight change of environment might help some of the characters. The sun is always present, always beating down and increasing the odds against them. As usual, Elliott's prose is darn near flawless, something I really value in a writer's work (it shows the writer has taken the time to carefully revise and think about the job each word performs in each sentence). If you want a crash course in writing contemporary noir, this collection might well be a good place to start.