All posts for the month December, 2015

Challenge! | World of Horror

Published December 8, 2015 by Philip Ivory

Recently, the World of Horror blog held a cool challenge:  Write a horror story in only two sentences.  Well, a winner was chosen and it wasn’t me …. but my entry is below, just for the fun of it. After you read my entry, go and check out the others including the winner on World of Horror.


After having, in rage, bludgeoned Janie with a hammer until she’d finally staggered and fallen, he had then dragged her sticky, unmoving form to the woods, and was now grimly patting down the rocky soil that covered her in the grave he had dug with the shovel. Reaching for his phone to check the time, he found his pocket empty, and stood as still as death as he heard the eerie beep-beep-beep of a cell being dialed, the sound rising up from below the cold stony ground at his feet.

Source: Challenge! | World of Horror

First Fiction Publication: “The Dead Outnumber the Living”

Published December 4, 2015 by Philip Ivory

I’m happy to announce my first fiction publication.  Early in the year, I set a personal goal of getting something published by the end of this year. To my surprise, I’ve actually achieved that goal. Today.

It’s an ominous, imagistic piece of flash fiction (under 1000 words) titled “The Dead Outnumber the Living.”

It’s being published today in the monthly online magazine, “Dali’s Lovechild,” a very cool literary journal with an oddball, offbeat aesthetic that I enjoy very much.

So click here to read my first published piece of fiction, “The Dead Outnumber the Living,” in Issue 15 of Dali’s Lovechild.

Please leave a comment here or on the Dali’s Lovechild site if you like the story, or even if you don’t! And check out the rest of the issue.

To quote the Dali’s Lovechild editors:  “As Salvador Dali understood, all art is multi-faceted. Even his most surrealistic pieces contained a piece of truth, a piece of humanity. He knew that you could not have the absurd without the truth embedded somewhere inside.”

Related flashback: I remember, when I lived back east, looking at Dali’s famous “soft watches” masterwork, “The Persistence of Memory,” at the Museum of Modern Art in New York and being astonished at how small it was. The painting suggests great scope and power. But in real life, it’s tiny!

“The Persistence of Memory” (1931) by Salvador Dali.

My flash fiction piece arose out of an exercise I did back in February during classes at the Writers Studio Tucson with Janelle Drumwright.  My thanks to Janelle for encouraging me with the piece and helping me develop it.  (Please hurry over and read her most excellent essay, “You, Dear Writer, are not the Narrator,” which was a winning entry in the 2015 Carve Magazine blog contest. It explains much of the creative ethos behind the Writers Studio, a system of study which has had a hugely beneficial effect on my writing.)

I’ll keep pushing. I have a number of other stories out for consideration, and a few others I’m polishing now. I hope … hope …. to have more acceptances to report in the months ahead.

I’ll keep you posted. And if you’ve had a recent fiction sale that you’re excited about, go ahead and let us know in the comments below.


A Novel Kind of Conformity by Tim Parks | The New York Review of Books

Published December 1, 2015 by Philip Ivory

“Anything great and bold must be brought about in secrecy and silence, or it perishes and falls away, and the fire that was awakened dies.”

That’s a wonderful quote from the New York Times Book Review article I’m linking to below, which makes some trenchant points about the wisdom of thinking less about meeting the needs of a perceived marketplace … and thinking instead about doing something that nobody else is doing.

I’ve been thinking about that, because in the literary fiction book group I belong to, our next discussion book is the extraordinarily successful space survival adventure, “The Martian,” by Andrew Weir.

Since the focus in our group is largely on literary writing, this book is a slight departure for us … and one of the questions asked in advance is:  “How does one go about writing a best-seller?”

I kind of think that’s the wrong question.

I don’t know what Andrew Weir set out to do. I’m going to guess he wasn’t primarily taking a strategic approach to the marketplace, even though his miraculous success might make you think so.  I think instead he allowed himself to write about subjects he loves … technology, survival, space and problem-solving. He found a story with which to play with those ideas, and then he let himself have fun writing it.

Ray Bradbury said: “Love. Fall in love and stay in love. Write only what you love, and love what you write. The key word is love. You have to get up in the morning and write something you love, something to live for.”

Check out the essay below, which is good food for thought about freeing oneself from all the marketing considerations, and instead writing what you love, and letting your enthusiasm for the subject matter infuse your work. Hopefully,  your reader will be infected by your enthusiasm and willingly come along for the ride.

 Is it really possible to be free as a writer? Free from an immediate need for money, free from the need to be praised, free from the concern of how those close to you will respond to what you write, free from the political implications, free from your publisher’s eagerness for a book that looks like the last, or worse still, like whatever the latest fashion might be?

Source: A Novel Kind of Conformity by Tim Parks | The New York Review of Books