Flash Fiction: a complete story
in one thousand or fewer words.

Wednesday, November 25, 2009

Harlequin, RMA, SFWA and MWA Have Love Spat

A few days ago, I ran a tongue-in-cheek post about Harlequin's deal with Author Solutions to produce a self-publishing romance imprint called Harlequin Horizons. Publishers Weekly now reports that Romance Writers of America rebuked Harlequin for this move and threatened a sanction affecting Harlequin's ability to enter their publications in RWA's award competitions. What RWA finds agregious, apparently, is that the similarity of the imprint's name to their pro imprints would likely confuse consumers about professionally written and self-published stories.

In Publishers Weekly's follow-up article, Mystery Writers of America and Science Fiction and Fantasy Writers of America also weighed in, with the MWA threatening to bar Harlequin writers from membership and awards and the SFWA warning that the self-publishing authors should be made aware that:

"...books in the program will not be distributed into brick-and-mortar bookstores ensuring 'that the titles will not be breaking into the real fiction market.'”

The SFWA also threatened to bar Harlequin writers from membership.

Harlequin could not ignore these huge threats to their own prestige and to their stable of authors and renamed the imprint, DellArte Press. SFWA argued that a name change was insufficient and that Harlequin should completely disassociate itself from the self-publishing program.

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Saturday, August 22, 2009

Sob Story: Why a Broken Heart Really Hurts

"Sob Story "

Brad Mondopecks took Marla Sobinski by her quivering shoulders. "I want ya. I need ya. Ain't no way I'm ever gonna love ya. But two outta three ain't bad, baby."

Marla's eyes welled up with tears. "My mu-opioid receptor genes really hurt, now."

"Baby, your social attachment system may have borrowed some of the mechanisms of your pain system to maintain social connections."

Marla looked up at Brad's square jaw, and socked it. "They still hurt anyway, you [censored]."

The End

Yes, your broken heart really does hurt. To find out the connection between physical pain and social pain, go to this The Telegraph (UK) article on social pain.

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Wednesday, July 22, 2009

Romance at Flash Fiction Online?

Yes...FFO receives romance submissions in the slush pile now and then. It's been a top genre for many years in the book trade, sometimes trouncing speculative fiction sales as a whole. The expansion into romance-related sub-genres has been heavy, including SF and fantasy. Here are a couple of related articles:

The 'king' of bodice-rippers, Harlequin, now has a new imprint for teens, Harlequin Teen, with a speculative edge. Yes, the article mentions Stephanie Meyers; her stories blasted this market open.

SF Scope has reported on the paranormal romances noted in the Romance Writers of America's 2009 RITA and Golden Heart Award.

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Wednesday, June 3, 2009

Disney/Pixar's "Up" Movie: Lessons for Writers

Since my movie viewing is under the control of a nine-year-old, I had seen several trailers for Disney/Pixar's "Up." The trailer wasn't that appealing to me but it was inevitable that I would see the movie (and I haven't even seen the new Star Trek movie!).

Wow, was I surprised. I think the movie is a must-see for writers, particularly of short fiction, to see how quickly and fully a writer can paint a compelling character. I'm particularly talking about the Ellie character, who in a short time on screen, grew from 'tween to gray-haired old lady, tugging at you every step of the way.

Here is a snippet from Variety's review of "Up," the movie:

Tale of an unlikely journey to uncharted geographic and emotional territory by an old codger and a young explorer could easily have been cloying, but instead proves disarming in its deep reserves of narrative imagination and surprise, as well as its poignant thematic balance of dreams deferred and dreams fulfilled.

And this:

...in less than five minutes, encapsulates the life-long love affair between Carl Fredericksen and his wife Ellie in a manner worthy of even the most poetic of silent-film directors.

The review says little else about the character of Ellie, because as the second snippet reveals, she enters and leaves the movie very quickly, but who was for me the highlight of the movie.

I'll bow to the Variety review for the rest of the story.

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