Writing the Unwritable – The Art of Subtext by Charles Baxter

The Art of Subtext Book ReviewCharles Baxter recently gave a rousing speech to writers at The Loft Literary Center, where he discussed his book, The Art of Subtext.

The Art of Subtext (subtitled ‘Beyond Plot’) discusses that aspect of writing that… actually isn’t within the writing.

The Art of Subtext discusses and illustrates the hidden subtextual overtones and undertones in fictional works haunted by the unspoken, the suppressed, and the secreted. – https://www.graywolfpress.org/books/art-subtext

Subtext is the Loch Ness Monster of writing tools. [Read more...]

New Website Domain Name Extensions – What’s In It For Authors?

Author Domain NamesMost people are familiar with the domain name extension “.com” (dot com) that ends the majority of websites. “Com” was meant to be short for commerce, but it really gets used as a catch-all for things that don’t belong in other web extensions like .gov, .edu or .org.

Bar Chart of Domains as of 13 Apr 2014 http://www.domaintools.com/statistics/tld-counts/

Bar Chart of Domain Extensions as of 13 Apr 2014 http://www.domaintools.com/statistics/tld-counts/

As you can see from the report I pulled from domaintools, the extension “.com” is currently the undisputed king of website name endings.  But that may change soon.

Since November 2013, new extensions are being released each month:  .today, .tips, .photo, .sexy, .vip, .lgbt, .cool, .ninja, .social, .love, and many more are already  available,  and there are more coming out each month.

Of interest to authors – .blog, .guru, .diy, .bio, .events, .how, .reviews, .expert and more are already available. These are coming soon: .fans, .new, .buy, and .free. In Jan of 2015, the extension .you becomes available. That should be interesting. And I’m sure we could make all kinds of interesting sites out of the ending “.ing”.  And there are many more soon to come…

…including .author. [Read more...]

2014 Writing Process Blog Tour

Fellow Minnesota Author Michael Merriam asked if I’d participate in a virtual blog tour about writing process. Actually, he told me if I didn’t do it, “terrible misfortune was certain to come my way! Very soon!”  

Fortunately, I know Michael is a liar. The man makes up stuff all the time. Good stuff. Check out Michael Merriam on Goodreads  if you don’t believe me.

But it sounds like fun to participate. (And why take a chance, right? I mean “terrible misfortune”? Yikes!) So here is some info about my current work and writing process: [Read more...]

What Is A Birthday Ungift?


Photo Credit    – Rebecca Selah

In addition to all other inalienable Birthday rights, I hereby add – The Birthday Purge and the Birthday Ungift.

  • Birthday Ungift (noun) – Something you give up on your birthday that makes you happy to have it out of your life.
  • Birthday Purge (verb) – The act or process of choosing and removing Birthday Ungifts from your life.

In addition to receiving gifts on your birthday, you are allowed to get rid of a thing you no longer want, without question, regardless of the value or source. That thing that you are giving back to the world is your Birthday Ungift. The process of ungifting it is called a Birthday Purge. [Read more...]

Snickers #MonsterSatisfaction Giveaway!

Godzilla + Snickers + Fandango + FREE!

In case you didn’t know, there’s a new Godzilla movie being released on May 16th 2014! Yes, the Heavyweight King of the Kaiju is back! No doubt, Godzilla will  go for an afternoon stroll through some city, leaving a swath of destruction in his wake. (Including a train. There’s always a train. Can you have a Godzilla movie without a train? Apparently not.)

To help promote the new Godzilla movie, the folks at Snickers Brand have given  me a prize pack to give away! Some lucky person out there is going to win Five Free Snickers Bars and a $15 Fandango gift card! [Read more...]

New Tips For Making The Best Password Ever

Best_Password_EverOne of the most popular posts on this website about DARK FICTION is my method on  How To Make The Best Password Ever.  (Go figure.) But a  lot has changed since I posted that back in 2011, and I thought I would share how I’ve recently improved this method to both increase my online security and make it easier to manage.
[Read more...]

Bridging The Author / Audience Gap

Mind The GapThe Gap Between “What The Author Meant” And “What The Audience Got”

Recently, I attended/recorded a live reading by Minnesota author William Alexander at  Dreamhaven Books. William read/acted out a section of his latest book, Ghoulish Song. William has professional theater training and experience, and if there was any doubt about this, it was resolved by his live performance, which was glorious.

The section he read describes when the protagonist, Ailie, gets separated from her own shadow and has a discussion with it. The shadow spoke in hushed tones that gave me goosebumps as William read them aloud.

I purchased a copy of Ghoulish Song  from William and took it home.  While reading the story, I came across the part that William had performed. As I read it to myself, I realized that William’s reading was quite different from my own. His tone was dark and disturbing, while my own interpretation was subtle, almost bland. I was interpreting it as a kids book, and not as a scary book.

There was a definite difference between what William was thinking when he wrote it, and what I got from it when I read it. I’m not sure if there’s already a name for this difference, so I’ll simply call it The Gap.

Mind The Gap

There will always be a difference between the author’s intention while writing the book and the actual picture created in the readers’ minds while reading the book. This is bigger than just the audience and authors of written works. It’s an inherent side effect of the way the world works, and how we communicate.   [Read more...]

Is That All? 2013 in review

2013_The_Year_In_Review_1040x4002013 was an altogether odd year. Keep in mind that we weren’t even supposed to HAVE a 2013. The world was supposed to end on 21 Dec 2012, and… well, it didn’t.  Kinda like that old roommate of yours from college who dropped by to stay “for a couple days” and now he’s been living with you for several months…. Yeah, it’s kinda like that. No one really knew what to do with this bonus year, and I can safely say that few people made the most of it.

So what exactly did we do with our bonus year? [Read more...]

What Is Speculative Fiction?

What Is Speculative FictionThe Minnesota Speculative Fiction Writers Group (aka MNSpec) occasionally does some public events, such as the 2013 Speculative Fiction Writers Showcase  which I hosted at Acadia last month. Whenever we show up in public, the question always comes up:

What is Speculative Fiction?

For the record, no one has ever asked me to explain the categories of Fantasy or Science Fiction. Most people learn at an early age that if a story has dragons in it, then it goes in the fantasy section, and if it has time travel in it, then it goes in the science fiction section. But then someone came up with time-travelling dragons and pitched a spanner in the works. Imagine the poor librarian, trying to decide where to put a book about cybernetic fairies, or spaceships powered by dwarven runes! [Read more...]

The Elder Scrolls V: Skyrim – FINISHED!

14 November, 2011

I purchased Skyrim, the fifth game in Bethesda’s ‘The Elder Scrolls’ series. The previous game in the series was called Oblivion. After playing Oblivion all the way through, I had no hesitation dropping $60 to pick up Skyrim.

27 November, 2013


You read that right. 100% of all achievements completed!

After two years of playing this game, (only interrupted by occasional bouts of Mass Effect and Dragon Age,) and 376 hours  of gameplay, I can safely say that I’ve “Finished” Skyrim. I backed up the 1,195 saved games and uninstalled the game client. Done. Moving on. [Read more...]