Write, Judge and Learn

I am judging entries into the Florida Writers Association Royal Palm Literary Competition. It’s very well organized and has a fine, clear format for judging. Entries are closed for this year, but if you have a novel, story, poem, non-fiction piece, it’s a good contest that (probably) opens in early February, 2020.  See https://floridawriters.net/competitions-awards/royal-palm-literary-award/. The welcoming memo pointed out that judging would be a form of education for me as a writer, and it was right. Other people’s strengths call out my weaknesses. That probably should have been obvious … it certainly is now.

I have been silent for a month. We traveled from Minnesota to Florida and have been visiting friends and enjoying St. Augustine.  I’ve been finishing rewrite of my third novel, Fail Deadly and am about ready to deliver it to several beta readers.  These folks read a draft copy and tell me where the plot and/or the characters go astray. If you are interested in the Thriller genre and would like to be a beta reader, drop me a line at gotuit5243@gmail.com.

Stranger Than Fiction

'Tis strange, but true; for truth is always strange; 
Stranger than fiction;
Lord Byron - Don Juan

Byron’s line has become a throwaway:  Life is stranger than fiction.  I think most of us use it to describe the offbeat or serendipitous event without much thinking about it.  Until those of us who write  begin to wrestle with a plot line, that is.

So here we are, a critique group critique group assembled around cups of coffee and sheaves of paper on a Saturday morning.  A plot twist on page five.  Clever, but defies normal logic.  If the story occurred in real life, we would trot out the ‘stranger than fiction’ trope, shrug, and go on to the next part of the story. Not in critique group, though. Eyebrows raise. Greg voices the Kagan Rule:   Fiction has to make sense; life doesn’t. 

But … but … my plot twist is an actual event, I respond.  Sure, I changed names and places but it didhappen.

Karl voices the Jorgenson Corollary, which he attributes to the courtroom:  Truth is no excuse.

I guess I have to ditch the twist.