Gingham Mountain

Life-Transforming Fiction

Life Is Often Stranger Than Fiction

Dave Meigs

Authors love to hear from their readers. Their comments on plot, character, and setting validate that our “life’s choice” was the right one. We even welcome letters that aren’t 100 percent flattering, because every point and question makes us better writers . . . if we’re smart enough to heed our readers’ insightful advice. But on rare occasions, we open an envelope containing criticism that’s anything but constructive.

Take the one I received from a guy who scanned my ShoutLife profile....

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Fiction Rants

Bright Shiny is Dull Boring

John Perrodin

“Nothing in this book should be considered accurate or reliable.” That’s easily the most amusing writing (and irony) offered by James Frey in Bright Shiny Morning. This terse line is found just after the title page of his numbingly dull novel. Given Frey’s problems with phony memoirs, such a warning probably isn’t necessary.

What’s wrong with the book? Everything. From the cheap-looking cover to...

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Rachel's Rubies

Rachel Hauck

Finding The Amethyst In Fiction

Most of us know the amethyst gemstone for its extravagant purple or violet color. It’s often considered the stone of legends and royalty, even claiming miraculous powers to prevent drunkenness or ward off snakebite.

But as a writer and reader, purple brings to mind one thing: purple prose.

Show of hands if you’ve read a book in which the writing and descriptions were so over the top you wanted to either laugh or throw the book across the room.

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All About YA

True Love? True or False?

Jill Williamson

I was at a teen event this past October. As everyone came inside, they filled out a card with their names and some personal interests. One of the questions was “What’s your favorite movie?” Well, I like movies, so as the teens handed me their cards, I glanced at the movies they’d written down and started some fun conversations that way.

Then I came upon an interesting answer: Twilight.

I looked up at the girl who’d handed me...

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Quantum Marketing

Branding: Sear It In

jim Rubart

Want to confuse yourself? Ask ten friends to define branding. I predict eight to ten different answers.

My mission—which I’ve obviously chosen to accept—is to give a brief definition of branding you can keep in your head after you’ve read this article.

Branding has been a hot buzzword for at least ten years, so it’s not new. But it’s far older than that. In 1904 Ivan...

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Fiction International

In the Giant’s Shadow

Marcia Laycock

Living in the shadow of a giant is not easy. It makes one feel small, insignificant, and those feelings can breed a sense of futility and resentment. A giant’s shadow is hard to get away from; a giant’s footprints are huge and deep. As a writer living north of the United States, I know what those feelings are like. I have to battle with them regularly.

I am told the only way to success is to break in to the mammoth U.S. market. And if I want to sell my work there, I must use American spelling and avoid referring to any “local” idiosyncrasies....

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