I haven't been very dutiful in reviewing your novel lately, Dirk, but the question you're asking intrigues me. And that's because the "nature" of these supernatural crimes against humanity would most probably be dismissed by professional detectives until the evidence became overwhelmingly weird. Therefore those "forgettable" characters you speak of wouldn't necessarily get linked. Or would they? I dunno. If I were a cop I simply wouldn't accept a theory about a conspiracy of DEMONS unless I personally witnessed something unexplainable. I try my best to hate the idea of MacGuffins but that may be the answer. A SIGIL inscribed at each murder scene would, perhaps, give those victims more characterization. Bear with me here...


(33 replies, posted in TheNextBigWriter Premium)

Wow. The mere idea that Sol is making so much dough offa this website that he can afford to restrict membership...? No. I'm kidding, I believe the man is genuinely concerned about the prospect of advert spammer/scammers taking advantage of the forums. Although, it must be said, these forums are hardly as lively as they used to be. Or maybe I'm just getting too old to be the rabble-rouser I used to be?


(5 replies, posted in TheNextBigWriter Premium)

I do the same thing (stepping away to focus on the real world for most of the year) but I don't worry about it because nobody really cares. And that goes for everything in life, actually. Once you realize that NOBODY REALLY CARES? Well, you'll find yourself free to be who you really wanna be. Until that yearly friendly reminder pops up to pay your TNBW dues, of course. That's when you make the choice to hope that somebody out there, somewhere, might actually care for once. smile

Don't fret. I'm only dancing around the issue.


(34 replies, posted in TheNextBigWriter Premium)

I was thinking more along the lines of The People vs Donald Trump. Or The People vs Karen, Judge Rudy Giuliani presiding. But to have a couple of Hobbit cops sweating Gollum down at the station house might be fun, too. The possibilities are limitless even if the contest itself is inherently limited.


(34 replies, posted in TheNextBigWriter Premium)

How about a courtroom scene? Or a police interrogation? You could even have a dragon on trial for war crimes against middle earth if that's your thing. Or an imperial stormtrooper testifying against Darth Vader. Or whatever.

*I could see that Skywalker saw that he'd failed to manipulate me. Thusly, we spent the next thirty minutes, mostly in silence, waiting for Vader. Once the Lord arrived, the Sith immediately dismissed me, saying, "Leave us. And find his companions."

That's the way I'd write it, but who cares. I like the dialogue exchange because it conveys mood. Simple and friendly but with a measure of annoyance that hints at larger outcomes. I dunno. I love Star Wars and this scene made me think of the scene in Return of the Jedi where Vader examines Luke's lightsaber. So I'm curious... Is ELROND an Imperial turncoat? Shit. Now I just wanna read this fan fiction thing!

That's neither here nor there, I guess. As far as the dialogue goes, I don't see a problem. Adverbs like SADLY don't need to be there because you can write better, but... There's really NO BETTER WAY TO DO THIS from what I can tell.




(12 replies, posted in TheNextBigWriter Premium)

Thanks, everybody. In all honesty, I guess I just needed to whinge for some validation for a minute. Vern and Memphis were kindly and supportive and, as usual, Temple managed to cut to the bone.



(12 replies, posted in TheNextBigWriter Premium)

Let's face it. Hardly anybody finishes a plot anymore. It's the premise, the history, and the origin story that truly captures the imagination. The End in itself is almost always a let down by comparison.

So don't fight it.

Look at me. I've been here on TNBW just about as long (if not longer) than anybody. Seriously. I'm not as active as I used to be (I used tp be a real gung-ho pain in everyone's ass on a mission to capitalize upon all the weaklings populating this website) because I've since become self-aware of my own shortcomings and realized that to span the great divide that art appreciation implies... Well, one must empathize. I was a solipsistic writer, concerned with being true to my singular vision. But just because it worked (but did it, really?) for the likes of Salinger and Henry Miller, doesn't mean it actually works for the average man of letters. I'm not cut out to be commercially viable or even avant-garde. I'm just an extraordinary rambler with an above-average vocabulary, so...

Fair enough. I still want to see literature itself succeed, though. Especially in this day and age of video games and streaming services bleeding to lead. For I still believe there's a voice out there (if not within the confines of this website) worthy of the TNBW title. I just think he/she needs the perfect beginning.

To hell with the middle and the end. That shit will sort itself out over the course. Once the beginning is established, of course.

The Beginning.

Indeed, and over the past ten years, I've read a lot of good to great beginnings to novels on this website (and tried like Hell to write my own) but unfortunately, regrettably, and inevitably... I've yet to encounter a single one I could definitively regard as unstoppable.

This is not a referendum, mind you, but rather a challenge. Let's try and hook these Hollywood/Silicon Valley hotshots with such an impregnable and redoubtable premise, preface, prologue, whatnot/what-have-you that you leave them no other choice but to wonder:





(17 replies, posted in TheNextBigWriter Premium)

Also, there's no POV slip if the POV character is making an observation. Regardless of how speculative the POV character's observation may be.

Jesus. I hope I'm being helpful. Probably not. Sorry.


(17 replies, posted in TheNextBigWriter Premium)

Dirk B. wrote:

Cool. Here's a fix.


While Andolini continued the rites, Connor closed his eyes and furrowed his brow. He slowly rotated his head back and forth, as if sensing something Romano could not.


While Andolini continued the rites, Connor closed his eyes and furrowed his brow. He slowly rotated his head back and forth, pausing now and then.
What’s he sensing? Romano wondered.

Call me a monkey's uncle, but... I actually prefer the BEFORE as opposed to the AFTER. The literature might be technically wrong but, as a reader, it flowed better. For me. Personally. You could try and edit it a bit, maybe. Like: *...Connor closed his eyes and furrowed his brow while slowly rotating his head back and forth; the boy's neck like a fulcrum attached to a subject being subjected to arcane forces Romano had never known...*

Or something like that. I dunno.

I know that I don't know a lot of things which, according to Hoyle, makes me wiser than the average sniper. Or maybe it just makes me a wiseass. I dunno.


(17 replies, posted in TheNextBigWriter Premium)

I don't know the specific passage you're referring to, Dirk, but it's AS IF Father Romano watched Connor close his eyes and turn his head AS IF the boy were sensing something Father Romano could not.

I was being a bit facetious there because I don't think you have anything to worry about here. In the scene, Romano's "assumption" is made perfectly clear by the words AS IF. No need to fret about your prose execution, in my opinion.

If you know what I mean, that is. AS IF smile


(22 replies, posted in TheNextBigWriter Premium)

Well, while we're all stuck inside wanting to break out of our rusty cages and run...


I actually enjoy the original SOUNDGARDEN/Chris Cornell version better


but that's just a matter of taste and style, I guess.

Hang in there, people!!

I used to write my "shower thoughts" down on toilet paper as precious nuggets to be used in my novel. Nowadays, though? The toilet paper itself is much too precious.


(22 replies, posted in TheNextBigWriter Premium)

A kinda/sorta fun thing to do during this epidemic crisis with nothing for us to do (except WRITE, that is!) is to go on YouTube and watch black people REACT to white people doing shit like singing, dancing, and performing stand-up comedy. I know that might sound like racist curiosity (while at the same time sounding like I'm taking it for granted that most of the people on this website are probably Caucasian) but I'm really not trying to be antagonistic. It's actually quite informative and entertaining at the same time. Seriously. Just pick your favorite song or performance or whatever and the chances are that a male or female of African persuasion has made a personal video about it.

Here. I'll get y'all started down the rabbit hole with AC/DC...


If rock and roll ain't your thing try this Game of Thrones/Red Wedding:


Or this comedy shite, about black vs white fashion...




(15 replies, posted in TheNextBigWriter Premium)

Looking for something to watch on Netflix? Tiger King, Tiger King, Tiger King. Talk about going viral, there's an epidemic of crazy cat people in this country I was never even aware of and must beware from now on. And not just because I'm a dog. (See thumbnail photo smile


(22 replies, posted in TheNextBigWriter Premium)

Here's another one I just thunk of


I don't necessarily agree with the homophobic aspects of the lyrics, but... It was a different time, I guess. The overall message is applicable to this crisis we're all going thru, however. The powerlessness we all feel, I mean.



(22 replies, posted in TheNextBigWriter Premium)

I thought Dagny's Andra Day selection was pretty cool, too. I don't usually go for histrionic singing (and would never have come across or indeed stopped long enough to listen to it without Dagny's suggestion) but... Yeah. I kinda/sorta dig it. Makes me wanna introduce y'all to this rather mannish-looking lady:


Amazing, right? Thank me later.


(22 replies, posted in TheNextBigWriter Premium)

I think out of all of Vern's suggestions I appreciated the Neil Diamond one the mostest. He can be corny at times but there's just something about his delivery that draws you in. If you're in need of a guitar riff that will instantly put a shit-eating grin on your face, listen to this live version of CRUNCHY GRANOLA SUITE. I actually had his song as my wake-up alarm clock ring tone for years. But then I switched to MAN IN THE BOX by Alice in Chains because... Well, it seemed more in tune with my downtrodden lifestyle, I'm afraid.





(7 replies, posted in TheNextBigWriter Premium)

Shortcomings, indeed! Thanks for coming out about it, Brad. I have a similar, but completely opposite problem, I think. Whereas I think I'm a pretty good "writer" but can't for the life of me "tell" a compelling or coherent story. Six of one and apples and oranges, I guess. All you can do is write hard, and be diehard, as you inevitably fail (and fail again) only to hopefully fall assbackwards unto success someday. The mere fact that you're self aware and trying hard is more than most narrative artists can say, I say. 



(9 replies, posted in TheNextBigWriter Premium)

If you don't mind being a bit abstract with your description, the Gemini zodiac symbol does the trick. Sort of.

Bug Zapper


(3 replies, posted in TheNextBigWriter Premium)

I love these contests and have sorely missed the regularity with which they used to be proffered on this website. Not because of any incentive to win them, that is, but because they inspire creativity whilst confined to certain parameters and what have you. The flash fiction parameters are a bit TOO confining for my liking, but that's neither here nor there.

Alas, I wasn't personally all that creative with this one. I was just having fun trying to recreate/reimagine a movie scene as novelistic prose. Which could maybe prove to be a useful writing exercise in and of itself.

Or not. I dunno.


(15 replies, posted in TheNextBigWriter Premium)

Hey, Ray. You're too effing sensitive, my friend. People (myself included) often use the term RUN-ON SENTENCE ignorantly and arbitrarily and that's just the way it is anymore. For what it's worth, I also enjoy wordsmithing long-ass sentences. I like reading them, too (when they're well executed and coherent, that is) and your example sentence (for the most part, anyway) is exemplary. Perhaps it's an acquired taste, though. I can still remember reading a novel called Billy Bathgate back in the day and being thunderstruck by the lack of punctuation. I simply wasn't used to that style of prose at the time. And yet there was indubitably something indelible about that goddamned book. Seeing as I can totally recall the experience of reading it some twenty-five years on already.

Anyhoo and I dunno; you did say you're mostly in it for the money, so...

In this re-mixed age of Twitter and Tik-Tok of ours; mixing the short and sweet with a just a little pinch of the long and savory is probably the bee's knees bouillabaisse we're all going for. Would you not agree?




(4 replies, posted in TheNextBigWriter Premium)

You suck, Rachel. Because your explanation was less forthcoming.

Just kidding. wink


(4 replies, posted in TheNextBigWriter Premium)

Ah-hah. Publish it under a new "version". Thank you, Dirk. Very helpful.

So obvious a solution it makes me wonder WTF I've been doing here the past ten years... smile