Monthly Archives: February 2014

Meet Me at the Falls – Part Two!

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The wait is over! “Meet Me at the Falls – Part 2” is now for sale on Amazon. We have boldly taken the next step in our dystopian adventure together. Each of us wrote our sections separate from each other, Zack in San Francisco, myself in Los Angeles, and Ben … wherever he is around the globe. In that way we are just like the Murphy’s, separated by hundreds of miles yet all striving to reach the Falls.

Part 1 – The End” found the Murphy family separated, lost and struggling to survive in a post-apocalyptic America after a global cataclysm. They hoped the other family members were heading toward their old campsite at Snoqualmie Falls near Seattle, but don’t realize everyone has been derailed. The Father, Alan, encountered a cult who tried to use him in some ritual surrounding the supernatural phenomenon in the sky. The Kids, Edwin and Tricia, ran for their lives from “The Roar,” a relentless black swarm—something between monster and machine. The Mother, Charlotte, met a helpless young man who sacrificed himself to save her from the lethal cold. The Son, Wiley, accidentally killed a bear, only to arrive at the Falls with no sign of his family. Either he is just the first to arrive…or the only one to survive.

Now… “Part 2 – Reclamation” finds the world crumbling beneath the Murphy family’s feet as the mystery surrounding what caused the apocalypse deepens. Each member of the family encounters new survivors attempting to recover what they’ve lost—or kill each other trying. As the Murphys continue their trek toward the Falls, everyone and everything stands in their way.

I’m proud to say that ‘Part 2’ is officially a novella, weighing in at 22,320 words (81 pages)! It’s been quite the adventure for we three writers as it has the Murphy family, still struggling to meet up at the Falls. Zack Keller, Ben Tuller and I are very excited for you to see what happens next!

Click here to read “Meet Me At The Falls (Part 2 – Reclamation).”

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The Best Lecture on Story Structure Ever

Probably the best lecture I’ve ever seen on story, Kurt Vonnegut lays out the arc of the Hero’s Journey in it’s most elegant form (see video for the joke). In truth, Vonnegut is a hilarious man who knows the craft so well he’s able to entertain and enlighten the audience by poking fun at how obvious stories are. Good story structure doesn’t need much explanation. Stories are simple.

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A wise man once told me that a story is never complex. No matter how deep and complex something may seem, 99 times out of 100 it’s just a series of simple points you’ve experienced since the start of the tale. The art of the craft is making those points tie together in such a way that your story seems complex. And it is, in a way, but not by making each story beat circuitous.

All the rules I’ve ever heard from Vonnegut are pure and simple. Take his eight tips on how to write a good short story:

  1. Use a time of a total stranger in such a way that he/she will not feel the time was wasted.
  2. Give the reader at least one character they can root for.
  3. Every character should want something, even if it only a glass of water.
  4. Every sentence must do one of two things: reveal character, or advance the action.
  5. Start as close to the end as possible.
  6. Be a sadist. No matter how sweet and innocent your leading character is, make awful things happen to them in order that the reader may see what they are made of.
  7. Write to please just one person. If you open a window and make love to the world, so to speak, your story will get pneumonia.
  8. Give your readers as much information as possible as soon as possible. To heck with suspense! Readers should have as such complete understand of what is going on, where and why, that they should be able to complete the story themselves should cockroaches eat the last few pages.
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