Tuesday, July 22, 2014

Needed: Artists and Writers

The editors of NEW POP LIT, Andrea Nolen and myself, are looking for good short stories to post at our upcoming site, as well as colorful artwork to illustrate the stories.

The theme: fun and excitement.

The site is under construction.

Email submissions or ideas to: newpoplit@gmail.com

Stay posted as to the progress of this campaign via tweets @newpoplit

Please tell your friends. Target launch date is in about three weeks.

Sunday, July 13, 2014

Where’s Lawrence Richette’s Writing?

Philadelphia writer Lawrence Richette died late last year. He was a competent novelist—a throwback to another time in that he wrote with clarity and intelligence about real-world issues, using no postmodern tricks. Larry died late last year. The question is: who are his heirs? Who managed his estate? What happened to his unpublished writing?

Larry Richette self-published much of his work, but not all of it. He’d told me he’d written many short stories. I’d love to publish the best of them on-line as part of a new literary project. Where are the stories? Who has them?

If anyone knows the answer to these questions, please let me know.

Saturday, July 05, 2014

“The Friends and Enemies of Pop Literature”

This is the name currently being used by a few writers interested in renewing literature through newer, clearer, more intelligent art. Several announcements about this campaign are forthcoming. Right now we’re looking for talent—talent of every variety.

If you’re interested in supporting, or becoming part of, this project, email me at ampoplit@gmail.com. Thanks.

Saturday, June 28, 2014

The New New

I’ll soon announce my involvement in a new literary project with ambitious goals. It will be a campaign not of activism, but art. It will follow a principle of unilateral peace toward former antagonists. I’m prepared, in fact, to work with anyone and everybody.

Past is past.

Tuesday, June 24, 2014

How Does One Build a Better Literature?

WHAT KIND of team would be needed to credibly challenge status quo literature? What mix of talents? Strategy and tactics?

CAN the status quo be challenged? While their attitude is unchanging, unassailable, they’re standing on quicksand.

Friday, June 20, 2014

Short Story Ingredients


Any time I write a short story, I’m reminded that fiction is a careful mix of ingredients. For it to work, the mixture must achieve some kind of balance. In my new ebook I’ve created a complex structure in order to explain a complex plot. To be able to do this, and keep the tale moving, I’ve skimped in parts on description and characterization. 

There are two versions of my story. First the “Director’s Cut,” and then a reworking, the “Producer’s Cut.” In my reworking I removed some insight into the characters, but also any trace of self-indulgent “fine writing.” I’ve done this to maintain pace—but there’s the danger of having too much pace. I’ve had to add short bits when I needed to slow things down. Complexity and flow? Perfect balance? It may not be possible. “Modernist Pop” is almost an oxymoron—but I’m nothing if not ambitious.

What’s left in? What’s cut? That defines the art of the art. Not everything can be jammed into one work. There are only so many words in one story.

(“Assassination of X” is now available at Amazon’s Kindle Store  Barnes and Noble’s Nook Books.)

Friday, June 13, 2014

Three Ways to Write a Story


1.) Start writing and allow the story to create itself.

In movies, shoot the world and find a theme. European directors like Fellini, Godard, and the Neorealists did this.

2.) Outline your story or novel step-by-step, setting up everything in advance. Know where you’re going and where you’ll end.

In movies, this is the storyboard technique used by Alfred Hitchcock and George Lucas. No surprises.

3.) Write a ton of material (or shoot a ton of footage) around a chosen subject—then eliminate, rearrange, edit, to discover what works best.

Film directors George Stevens and Orson Welles, among others, worked like this.


With my own recent writing I’ve tried all three ways.

In ebook novellas CRIME CITY USA and THE MCSWEENEYS GANG I used way #1.

With THE TOWER, I designed and plotted the entire novel in advance. The ending was the first part I wrote. Way #2.

With my new work, my “prototype,” ASSASSINATION OF X, I used Way #3. I wrote more than 20,000 words on the event the tale is about. I knocked this down to 15,000 words to patch together a narrative. My first version. Then I eliminated more of it.

I find it’s the hardest way to write. To complicate matters I used a few new tricks-- “literary montage”—learning to use new tools; discovering the excitement of mastering a more difficult skill.

I hope the result is worth the effort.

Buy ASSASSINATION OF X at Kindle or Nook.