Wednesday, December 29, 2010

A Review from The Exaggerated Press

The Exaggerated Press recently reviewed Murky Depths 14, which included my short story, Lilacs. This is what the reviewer had to say about my story:

Damien Walters Grintalis follows this with another text narrative, Lilacs. I was not so enamoured by this story, complex and well-written as it was, I found it hard to remain engaged. A few re-reads, however, have brought home the deftness and beauty of the writing style.

And yes, I am totally okay with him not being engaged by the story. Not every tale captures every reader, and I don't expect everyone to like my stories. I appreciate that he took the time to reread the story and make the comments that he did. That, in my mind, is a solid review.

Thursday, December 16, 2010

Short Story News

I am pleased to announce that my short story, To Keep You Safe, will appear in the April 2011 issue of Necrotic Tissue. Unfamiliar with the magazine? Go check it out. You won't be disappointed.

And speaking of short stories, every once in a while I read one that hits me like a sucker punch to the gut and makes me wish I'd written it. The Ghost of a Girl Who Never Lived by Keffy R. M. Kehrli is one such story. Go to Orson Scott Card's Intergalactic Medicine Show, subscribe to the magazine, and read the story. Trust me.

Monday, December 13, 2010

The Rules

Let's play a game, shall we? It's called The Rules. Simple, right?

Here we go: No qualifiers! No adverbs! No adjectives! No sentence fragments! No comma-splices! No telling! No was usage! No repetition!

That's a lot of nos, yes?

In this corner, we have the adverb haters, the slayers of too many adjectives, the comma-splice slaughterers. In that corner, we have the adverb fans, weeping inconsolably, the guiltless lovers of a well-placed fragment, and the champions of repetition. In the other corner, we have--enough.

Really, enough.

The rules are simple: Know the rules and know when to break them. If you don't know the rules, learn them. Once you know them inside and out, backwards and forwards, you can break them now and again in your prose. Maybe you need a comma-splice for impact. Maybe you want repetition for the word flow. And maybe you'd like to use an adverb.

My advice? Don't overuse anything that makes your writing clunky. Write from your heart, edit with your head, but don't edit out your voice. Don't break the rules out of laziness (or ignorance) or because you're sick to death of editing and just want to finish.

Know the rules, I can't stress that enough, but don't be afraid to break them now and again.

Wednesday, December 1, 2010

The Other Part of Writing

No, I'm not talking about editing. I'm talking about reading. Reading is the other part of a writer's job. I'm sure everyone knows someone who says "I'm going to write a novel" and when you ask them what they've been reading lately, they look at you like you have two heads. What those people don't understand is that the only way you'll ever be able to write something worth reading is to read. A lot. I've been a bookworm since I learned how to read. Even when I wasn't writing much to speak of, I was reading.

I can't imagine not reading. I always have at least one book in some stage of reading. There's something magical about opening to that first page and stepping inside another world.

Here's what I've been reading lately:

Full Dark, No Stars by Stephen King
Let the Right One In by John Ajvide Lindqvist
Never Let Me Go by Kazuo Ishiguro
World War Z by Max Brooks
Towers of Midnight by Robert Jordan and Brandon Sanderson
Strange Men in Pinstripe Suits by Cate Gardner

Now it's your turn. What are you reading? I'm always on the lookout for good reads.

And here, because it's too funny not to share: