What’s On The Other Side?

Writing has always felt like this to me_ (1)

There’s a wall by your house. It’s old, decrepit. Sad thing, really. There’s bound to be little furry, slimy things living in its stones. Maybe some beautiful, rare flowers grow just on the other side. Or this is the refuge of the Fairy Queen & her Sparrow Prince.

Writing has always felt like this to me: a curiosity, something to step towards slowly so I don’t disturb the rest of the world. To stand before, nervous because I don’t know how to find my footing. To finally grip, slip, & fall. To grip again, & again, until I pull myself over the ledge.

I’ve come to find my footing in writing fantasy with characters who crack wise, screw up, and hurt. Hard. Come with me now, and find them in worlds of magic that sing with the elements and race beyond the stars.

You can visit my new podcast Story Cuppings on Anchor and other platforms, such as Spotify and Google Podcasts. Click here to subscribe to my newsletter. Information on my newest fiction is here!

Recent Posts

You’ve Got Five Pages, #BlackMouth by Ronald Malfi, to Tell Me You’re Good. #FirstChapter #BookReview #Podcast

Hello, amazing fellow creatives! Here’s to more fun perusing the library’s new releases to see what strikes our fancy. As I mentioned in an earlier post, I’ve retitled Story Cuppings to better fit the premise of the podcast.

As writers, we hear all the time that we’ve got to hook readers in just the first few pages or else. We’ve got to hook agents in the first few pages or else.

Whether you’re looking to get published or just hoping to hook your reader, first impressions are vital. Compelling opening scenes are the key to catching an agent or editor’s attention, and are crucial for keeping your reader engaged.


Well then, let’s study those first few pages in other people’s stories, shall we?

Today I snagged from the New Release shelf:

Gallant by V.E. Schwab

Once again, we’ve got a story with a “bait and switch” kind of prologue. There is a single page before Chapter 1 that comes from what I imagine to be the antagonist’s point of view, establishing this deadly hidden realm that is thirsting for the life on our side of “the wall.” The prose itself? Lovely. The antagonist? Threatening. The shadow realm? Eerie.

But was that trip really necessary?

If you do not see the audio player above, you can access the podcast here.

For the first chapter of Gallant by V.E. Schwab is a marvelous introduction to protagonist Olivia and her blessing/curse of seeing ghouls. We see Olivia dealing with the relatable bully conflict in a school setting, and the foreshadowing of this school teaching girls to be “ghosts in other people’s homes” is an excellent allusion to whatever the shadow realm. Olivia’s plight and life intrigue us as readers, and the scene with the ghoul in the garden shed is an excellent first exposure to the supernatural element at work in the story. So as a writer, I wonder why on earth we needed the dramatic peek at the antagonist at all. It feels like an unnecessary show of life-and-death stakes rather than letting the story reach that point organically.

As always, I love hearing what’s on the shelves of your own libraries. Libraries Rock!

Read on, share on, and write on, my friends!

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