Category Archives: Fiction

Where science and story meet

The spirit of C. P. Snow lives on. Robert A. Burton, a neurologist and novelist, shares his insights into just how closely science and literature dovetail in the human psyche:

Science is in the business of making up stories called hypotheses and testing them, then trying its best to make up better ones. Thought-experiments can be compared to storytelling exercises using well-known characters. What would Sherlock Holmes do if he found a body suspended in a tree with a note strapped to its ankle? What would a light ray being bounced between two mirrors look like to an observer sitting on a train? Once done with their story, scientists go to the lab to test it; writers call editors to see if they will buy it.

Of course. Both disciplines aim to shed light on some aspect of reality. And when we make connections between events that deepen our understanding of related events, we feel that sweet twinge of discovery, whether in the role of author or reader. In fact, science now informs us that when we successfully recognize patterns, we get a dopamine reward. And we really, really like our dopamine, so much, in fact, that we tend to cling to reassuring stories long after science has superseded them with better, more robust stories. As Dr. Burton explains:

People and science are like bread and butter. We are hardwired to need stories; science has storytelling buried deep in its nature. But there is also a problem. We can get our dopamine reward, and walk away with a story in hand, before science has finished testing it. This problem is exacerbated by the fact that the brain, hungry for its pattern-matching dopamine reward, overlooks contradictory or conflicting information whenever possible.

After all, what is religion other than the insightful blending of science and literature? As science uncovers more truths about ourselves and the universe, the storyteller’s job is to imagine new stories that make sense of new information, turning mere data into insight and wisdom.

Best fiction and writing blogs

The best fiction and writing blog posts from around the ‘net, all guaranteed to make you a literary legend. Compiled by Ambrose Bierce.

P. S. Hoffman13 Smart Shortcuts to Write Brilliant Characters
Dina Al-MahdiBe your own muse
Raimey GallantNegative space, as important to author marketing as it is to writing
M. L. DavisWriters: Don’t Edit Away Your Voice
Cath HumphrisIs there anything new in the writer’s tool kit?
l. t. garvinWriting book blurbs
kakymcOn Writing Dangerously
Sierra AyonnieWhat makes a good short story?

Best fiction and writing blogs

Laura Ingalls Wilder

The best fiction and writing blog posts from around the ‘net, all guaranteed to make you a literary pioneer. Compiled by Laura Ingalls Wilder.

K. M. WeilandWriting as the Art of Thinking Clearly: 6 Steps
Hamilton PerezHow to Give Up Writing and Other Bad Habits
Tamara DrazicOutlining
D. Wallace PeachMy Bossy Muse
Nicola AlterKnocking People Out: Easier in Fiction Than In Real Life
Didi OviattThe Why #amwriting
Jacqui MurraySeries or Not a Series–How do You know?
J. C. Wolfe3 Pieces of Advice No Writer Should Ever Forget

… and a special bonus!

Adam RoweScience Fiction And Fantasy Book Sales Have Doubled Since 2010

Best fiction and writing blogs

Manly Wade Wellman

The best fiction and writing blog posts from around the ‘net, all guaranteed to make you a literary legend. Compiled by manly.

Caroline FurlongDealing with villains
Charlie De LucaEditing tips that really work!
Andrew M. FridayHarmon’s Plot Embryo
Fantac Cisse The Ultimate Factory for Inspiration and Creativity
thesagaofaeleloradSwords: The Most Overused Trope in Fantasy
Sierra AyonnieThe Essential Elements of a Good Story
KakymcWriting What You Don’t Know
Jean CogdellHow to write a good one-sentence pitch

Born in a Treacherous Time

Born in a Treacherous Time

I can’t wait to get my hands on Jacqui Murray’s latest hit, Born in a Treacherous Time, now available at Amazon. Here’s a short summary:

Born in the harsh world of East Africa 1.8 million years ago, where hunger, death, and predation are a normal part of daily life, Lucy and her band of early humans struggle to survive. It is a time in history when they are relentlessly annihilated by predators, nature, their own people, and the next iteration of man. To make it worse, Lucy’s band hates her. She is their leader’s new mate and they don’t understand her odd actions, don’t like her strange looks, and don’t trust her past. To survive, she cobbles together an unusual alliance with an orphaned child, a beleaguered protodog who’s lost his pack, and a man who was supposed to be dead.

And here’s what Kirkus Reviews has to say: “Murray weaves a taut, compelling narrative, building her story on timeless human concerns of survival, acceptance, and fear of the unknown.”

It’s a great idea: an historical novel about Lucy, everyone’s great-to-the-Nth-power grandmother. I loved Twenty-Four Days, and plan to bump this to the top of my reading pile.

Best Fiction and Writing Blogs

Jack London

The best fiction and writing blog posts from around the ‘net, all guaranteed to make you a literary swashbuckler. Inspired by jack.

Jean M. CogdellWrite like a professional – get the chapters right
Sarah A. HoytWriting About Death
James Harrington Character Creation
Brenda Davis HarshamTop Ten Blogging Rules
D. E. HaggertyHow to get the writing done despite distractions
Cristian MihaiBuilding a personal brand as an artist
M. L. S. WeechWhy some covers just don’t look right
Nic Schuck Getting testimonials

Blog Tour – Gallows Hill: The Investigative Paranormal Society Book 2

Jennie Fitzkee interviews Charles French about his latest thriller, Gallows Hill.

A Teacher's Reflections

I have the pleasure of interviewing Dr. Charles French, a distinguished educator and author.  His new book, Gallows Hill, is a thriller and the second in his exciting series.  The first book, Maledicus, is a riveting page-turner deep into history and speculative fiction, that follows paranormal investigating by three main characters.  Frankly, that barely scratches the surface of mystery and darkness.  Without further ado, let’s meet the author:

I know you are partial to classical literature, particularly Shakespeare.  And, you teach English Literature courses at Muhlenberg College.  How has that influenced you and your writing?

I have loved Shakespeare most of my life. I was first entranced by his work as a high school student, when I saw a traveling professional production of A Midsummer Night’s Dream. I was amazed not only by the language but also by the physicality of the play and the images of…

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