The 30K Block

Good article. I am currently stuck at 27,000-28,000 words on a novel I am writing. I recently started using sketches of character biographies to help with the longer short stories/novelettes I tend to write; it really helps. I have already used it for the two primary characters in the novel, but I now need to use it for the lesser ones as well. For tonight and the next few nights I intend to experiment with “stream of consciousness” to jump-start my creativity as I will be dealing with an extensive interior monologue of one of the two main characters.

Samurai Novelist

I always get stuck at around 30 thousand words. I have been thinking about why, and this is my thoughts on it at this point in time.

Let’s open a story.

He entered the hidden room, returning to confirm his suspicions, not expecting an occupant. The lady was there, standing with her purse gun in her hand, her eyes welling with rage. He ducked out. She shot. The bullet ricocheted off the wall shredding a shower of debris into the dark hallway, filthy and cold, where he crouched on the floor fumbling on the shoulder holster, hanging empty and limp, for his gun that was not there.

This is pretty much a typical opening for me. Being a pantser, I just pile on events after an opening and see where the story goes. But we don’t know who “he” is or who “the lady” is at this point. We do…

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OPEN SUBMISSION: Alone With Your Fear

Opportunity awaits!

The Sirens Song

Sirens Call Publications is pleased to announce a new open submission for a horror anthology titled Alone With Your Fear!

The Call:

AloneWithYourFearIsolation… not just physical, but psychological, emotional; it plays with your mind, drags out your deepest fears, makes them larger than life and far more sinister.

For this call, we’re looking for stories that pit the main character against their own greatest fear. It seems deceptively simple, but be warned – it isn’t. We want the fear to be the overarching theme, so make sure your story contains a hefty dose – if we don’t feel it, the readers won’t either.

Perhaps the best place to write this tale is Alone with Your Fear…

Deadline: September 1, 2016

Word Count: 4,000 – 8,000 words

All submissions MUST be submitted to:

Reading & Evaluation Period: Two to three months after close of the deadline


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In That Unending Sea

This is not horror, but I want to share it just to show the beauty of the voice, the power of understatement and concision, and another fine example of Hemingway’s “iceberg principle”.

Grace is floating beside me, her eyes closed and her hair flowing out as silent and as weightless as the dark meadows of kelp all around us. She is smiling. The sun is still fierce, and it paints her lips the color of strawberry ice cream. We talk of plucking mussels from jagged rocks and steaming them in a tin pot over a driftwood fire. The doctor’s words are a fable from a land already forgotten. Her eyes flutter open. Let’s never go home, she says. We won’t, I say, and in that unending sea I hold her.

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The Clown Oroborus by Alex S. Johnson

The Clown Oroborus by Alex S. Johnson Reginald Snubb was a man in his late forties, bald except for two cottony puffs of hair that simply resisted the barber’s scissors–sheered, they wo…

Source: The Clown Oroborus by Alex S. Johnson