Menolly
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Joined 06-28-04, id: 421905, Profile Updated: 03-01-08
Author has written 13 stories for Humor, Mythology, Life, War, Humor, and Fantasy.

COMING... EVENTUALLY: How to Survive an Alien Attack (Release delayed due to time constraints.)

I know I have a fairly long list of stories, and I'm sure you don't have the patience to go through them all. If you just want my best stuff, I recommend: Why Fatalists Don't Get Robbed, How to Survive a Disaster Movie, Who Needs to Learn a Foreign Language Anyway, and Chess. These are among the most-viewed and the most-reviewed stories, and are four of my favorites as well. I should warn you, though, that How to Survive a Disaster Movie is long: it has several chapters, most of which are as long as a standard book chapter. If you don't have that much time, I recommend Chess, and the several other single-chapter stories I have written.

I would like to warn you that I take writing fairly seriously; I have very little patience for people who can't at least spell-check before they post. So if your title or summary is badly spelled, I'm probably not going to read it. (I do forgive common spelling errors, though; I'm not a jacka.) Also, you should at least try to write a summary, because if you don't I probably won't read the story then, either. (Please don't think I'm stuck up; it's just that I'm a slightly picky reader, and I don't have a lot of free time to browse.)

I tend to write poems when I'm irritated, stressed out, wired on caffeine, etc., so there more of an emotional edge to it than with my regular stuff. Poetry just seems to capture those moments of intense emotion better than prose. Anyway, a good rule of thumb is to check out my prose if you want humor and check out my poetry if you want slightly darker or more serious themes. Of course, there are exceptions to every rule, so it's good to keep your eyes peeled.

By the way, I do not consider myself to be a poet so much as an insomniac with access to a keyboard. I take my prose writing more seriously... which is ironic, since that is where you'd find most of my humor. (See How to Survive a Disaster Movie or myWhy Fatalists Don't Get... series for an example.)

Those of you who have me on your author alerts pages may notice that it has taken me an awfully long time to put anything new in, and I'm sorry for that, but since I no longer have the option of taking summers off, I've lost most of the time I usually devote to writing. I've recently added a new short story, Chess, and I'll try to keep more mini-stories like it coming to tide you guys over until I have the time to get back to my chaptered stories.

FOR FANS OF FATALISM: I have come to accept some reader disappointment with the last chapter or two of Why Fatalists Don't Get Robbed, and I plan to take some time over the summer to rewrite or replace them with some improved content. Hopefully, I will also be able to finish some other 'open' projects as well.

Finally, I would like to thank everyone who has reviewed my stories until now. The praise has been a real ego-boost, and the constructive criticism has really helped me improve my stories, particularly my short series 'Why Fatalists Don't Get Robbed'. I'm sorry I can't reward you properly with new stories. The best I can do is give you a few insights into my writing, based on some of the reviews I have received. I know some of you are perfectly good writers already, and all I can do for you is wish you well, but for those of you who take your writing seriously and would like some suggestions, here you are:

-- If you can't think of a good title, sometimes a catchy line from a character can work instead.

-- If you can't come up with a good summary, think about how you would describe your story to a friend if they asked what it was about. If you're really stumped, try just describing the opening bit, or simply write in what the problem or challenge of the story is. Use the summary that's written on the backs of books for examples.

-- If your characters all sound alike or seem to act alike, try changing up their personalities or mannerisms based on people you know. Add a nervous stammer, a favorite catchphrase, a way of mispronouncing something, or mention a specific accent (ex: Boston, French, etc.) This helps people tell characters apart, especially in long bits of 'she said' 'he said' dialogue.

-- Detail is the key. Even a bad plot can seem better if the reader can really get into the setting. Let the reader get a feel for the sights, sounds, smells, and mood of an area. It doesn't have to be Charles Dickens length of detail, but don't be afraid to take a paragraph or more to introduce a new scene, even if it's a place that most people could imagine on their own - like school, or a bedroom. This applies to a character's appearance as well: describe clothing, hairstyle, attitude (ex: overly friendly, bored, depressed, etc.), and anything else that you 'see' when you think about the character. Really get into it; if you take your story seriously, so will your readers.

-- Reread your story before you post and make sure it follows logic. Sometimes what makes sense in your head comes out a little out of order. I have this problem a lot with complicated bits, because I won't think of things in sequence, or I'll change something and forget to fix everything before I move on. Make sure what you've written jives with what happened in earlier chapters, too. This happens a lot in long-running television shows: they'll add a plot point or a twist ending for drama, and won't realize that it makes what happened in previous seasons look stupid or weird. Don't give a character claustrophobia or a drinking problem if this character has handled small rooms or 'drive 'em to drink' situations before with no problem, unless you plan to go back and add that in. It takes away from the story if the primary character does things or reacts to things that make no sense and aren't explained.

-- Know where your story is going before you write it. I made this mistake and had to practically rewrite a story because the ending I wanted didn't make sense with the decisions the characters had been making. Worse, I sometimes have a great start and a great finish, but I can't connect the two because my characters keep wandering into silly side plots or boring conversations. Sometimes all you need to do is write down a short timeline so you can keep your story on track without having to take down and repost the same chapters over and over. You don't necessarily have to finish the story before you start posting, of course, but I recommend that your writing be at least two chapters ahead of what you post on the site unless you already know exactly where you're going with your story.

-- In sci-fi and fantasy especially, there needs to be a balance between imagination and reality. You do not need to make everything follow real physics - magic and space fights are obviously not going to happen in the real world. Likewise, you don't need to explain how advanced machines work in scientific 'here's-how-to-make-your-own-death-machine' detail, mostly because then it gives people room to go 'that can't happen and here's why'. That tends to kill the mood of the story. However, you do need to give a reader the basics. If you're on an alien planet and someone is cutting up alien fruit, you do need to explain that it is alien fruit. You can't just say that the alien is eating 'chillis' and hope that the reader makes the leap. For all your reader knows, 'chillis' is poison and the alien is about to die. It goes back to details.

-- Finally, invite readers to make suggestions on improving your story, and if they give you advice, take it and actually fix the problem. More often than not, they will catch logic errors or spelling and grammar problems that you didn't see because you had been staring at a screen so long that you were nearly blind when you posted. You might even want to have someone you know read what you've written, especially if they know what you're going for plot-wise or character-wise, and can give you suggestions on better ways to make your point or explain a situation.

I know that few things in life are more painful than having something you take pride in torn apart, and I hope that this little guide helps some of you bring your work to Fictionpress in the best possible form. If not, I'm sure you'll let me know. Good luck!

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Chess reviews
You'll never look at the game quite the same way. Experience the classic boardgame from the perspective of a battlehardened ebony pawn against enemies brought vividly to life. Rated T for some violence, but the combat isn't really that graphic.
Fiction: Fantasy - Rated: T - English - Adventure/Fantasy - Chapters: 1 - Words: 3,851 - Reviews: 5 - Favs: 3 - Follows: 3 - Published: 12/29/2007 - Complete
Like Magic reviews
Our world is based on science, but what if magic was brought into our world? What if everything we imagined about sorcery, everything we feared about witchcraft and demons, became real? Be there as Earth as we know it is transformed into a world of magic.
Fiction: Fantasy - Rated: M - English - Fantasy/Adventure - Chapters: 1 - Words: 773 - Reviews: 2 - Favs: 1 - Follows: 1 - Published: 8/19/2007
Urgent Mail, Kris Kringle reviews
The War on Santa has gone underground. Follow the fight to save St. Nick's legacy through letters between Santa, Black Peter, the Conductor and others in this tongue in cheek argument against Christmas commercialization. Whose side are you on this year?
Fiction: Humor - Rated: K - English - Humor - Chapters: 14 - Words: 4,010 - Reviews: 4 - Favs: 1 - Updated: 12/22/2006 - Published: 12/20/2005
How to Survive a Disaster Movie reviews
A survival guide for disaster movies. COMPLETE! I just finished a major revision with new chapters, and new content! Covers how to survive a movie earthquake, flood, supervirus and more, even the real thing!
Fiction: Humor - Rated: K+ - English - Humor - Chapters: 12 - Words: 13,539 - Reviews: 13 - Favs: 12 - Updated: 10/25/2006 - Published: 7/8/2004 - Complete
Why We Left That Stupid Planet in the First Place reviews
Another story written by my brother while channeling Douglas Adams. Chronicling recently vacated worlds, an unnamed reporter gives details on the ludicrous societies he encounters.
Fiction: Humor - Rated: T - English - Humor/Fantasy - Chapters: 2 - Words: 2,373 - Reviews: 4 - Updated: 9/8/2006 - Published: 12/22/2005
Ode to the RedShirted Ensign reviews
A tongue-in-cheek tribute to one of the most underappreciated icons of Star Trek.
Poetry: Humor - Rated: K - English - Sci-Fi - Chapters: 1 - Words: 181 - Reviews: 4 - Favs: 3 - Published: 5/3/2006
Why Fatalists Don't Get Robbed reviews
Impossible! Our heroine has been plagiarized! Oh, beware her forked tongue as she unleashes the mother of all flames upon her plagiarist's work; it would make Mark Twain proud.
Fiction: Humor - Rated: T - English - Humor/Drama - Chapters: 5 - Words: 11,115 - Reviews: 23 - Favs: 15 - Follows: 3 - Updated: 2/8/2006 - Published: 4/13/2005
How to Survive the 1200th Repeats of Xmas Movies reviews
A short pamphlet of suggestions for staying sane through the holiday movie season, for the sake of those desperate enough to follow the ridiculous or obnoxious suggestions that circulate the 'Net at this time of year. I'll add more if I think of any, so c
Fiction: Humor - Rated: K - English - Humor - Chapters: 1 - Words: 674 - Reviews: 3 - Favs: 2 - Published: 12/2/2005
The Nimrod reviews
A spoof on Edgar Allen Poe's The Raven, written by my brother.
Poetry: Humor - Rated: K+ - English - Poetry/Parody - Chapters: 1 - Words: 915 - Reviews: 4 - Favs: 2 - Published: 12/1/2005
Who Needs to Learn a Foreign Language Anyway? reviews
Raised the rating for a couple of mild references. When ridiculous warnings are double-translated... Mwa-hah-hah-ha! R & R.
Fiction: Humor - Rated: K+ - English - Humor - Chapters: 2 - Words: 1,227 - Reviews: 7 - Favs: 3 - Updated: 10/27/2005 - Published: 10/26/2005
A Plea to Remember Our Veterans as Heroes reviews
The summary is right in the title. Also, I lowered the rating on the advice of a reader. R & R.
Poetry: War - Rated: K+ - English - Chapters: 1 - Words: 201 - Reviews: 3 - Published: 11/12/2004
Frustration reviews
Written while grappling with insomnia on one of those nights that never seem to end.
Poetry: Life - Rated: K - English - Chapters: 1 - Words: 121 - Reviews: 3 - Favs: 1 - Published: 11/12/2004
Amazon reviews
The origin of the Amazons, the race of warrior women encountered by Hercules. (Not a true story.) Told from point of view of someone reflecting on a tale told to him. R & R please.
Fiction: Mythology - Rated: K+ - English - Chapters: 1 - Words: 2,450 - Reviews: 2 - Favs: 2 - Published: 8/30/2004