More questions. More help. Introducing Mastering Table Topics Second Edition.

Dystopias and utopias

Image from PixabayI was about to follow up my post about political fiction with one about dystopias. Then, I came across an excellent article about dystopian fiction by Tracy Larson. It’s well worth reading. I agree with her that “What if?” and believable character reactions are important considerations in creating a fictional dystopia. I would add one other thing to consider.

One person’s dystopia is another person’s utopia.

Read more »

Your opinion, please

In an earlier post, I said I was restarting my Doria series. I’d like your feedback on an idea I have for the new book.

It is set in the present day. Doria has not only recovered from its revolution and transition to democracy, it has become a budding global superpower. Its president is Carla Guzmán, the hero of the first book. Doria finds itself in a diplomatic conflict with the United States because, well, let’s just say the President of the United States in this alternate timeline is the same one we have in real life.

Jennifer Kelly is a high school graduate from Kansas who won a scholarship to Doria’s prestigious Universidad Nacional and its robotics program. She knows little about Doria and cares less about politics. She finds herself an outsider in a different culture among people who seem smarter and more accomplished than she is. One is an Olympic gymnast who befriends her. Another is the daughter of a “hot headed” leftist legislator who instantly hates her. And there’s Fernando, a brilliant computer programmer for whom she develops a growing attraction — to the chagrin of Brandon, the boyfriend she left back home.

As the conflict with the United States intensifies, Jennifer must learn about Doria to make sense of her situation. She then finds herself the focus of a crisis when she stumbles onto a top-secret Dorian project and a dangerous global plot that could change the world.

What do you think? Please post your comments.

Have you thanked a “grammar Nazi” today?

Image from Wikimedia CommonsYou’re in the middle of a heated discussion on social media. You blurt out, “Your stupid for believing that!” He replies, “*You’re*” You reply, “Well, *you’re* a grammar Nazi!”

I hate the term “grammar Nazi.” It minimizes the crimes committed by actual Nazis, and it’s not cruel and unreasonable to expect people to use language properly. But if you ever encounter someone you’d call a “grammar Nazi,” you should thank them. Here are some reasons why.

Read more »

So, you want to write a political novel…

One of the best political novelsEveryone is concerned about politics these days, so you might be thinking about writing a political novel. After all, 1984 topped bestsellers lists this year, and The Handmaid’s Tale was made into a hit series on Hulu.

If you want to write a political novel, be careful. Agitprop makes for some horrible fiction.

Read more »

An interview with Joannes Rhino

Matthew Arnold Stern at Indie Author Day in AnaheimI was interviewed by Joannes Rhino about writer’s block, fiction, being a cubicle author, and more. Check it out here. http://www.sethlestath.com/matthew-arnold-stern/