A Word with Spec Fic Writer Paul Martz

Welcome to our first installment of A Word with Spec Fic Writers, a series of interviews with Spec Fic Writers’ members. This week, we spotlight Paul Martz, a member of Spec Fic Writers Critique Group since 2018. Paul is a new writer, a retired computer programmer, and a former punk rock drummer. He has published two short stories. Jimmy’s Hat appears in the First Encounters anthology, and The Re-Creation of …

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Wendy Spurlin & Paul Martz Featured on the RMFW Podcast: Lessons Learned Hiring a Book Cover Designer

To all our fellow writers out there, especially the unpublished ones, our group wanted to share a few lessons learned about hiring a book cover designer for our First Encounters anthology. Paul Martz and I reached out to Mark Stevens, author and host of the Rocky Mountain Fiction Writers (RMFW) Podcast, as a means of getting the word out, and below is our discussion on the topic. We shared some …

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Short Story Elements

Short stories are fun to read because they pack an unexpected emotional punch. However, “short” does not mean easy to write, or a formless type of expression. Quite the contrary, they are written and rewritten numerous times with herculean effort to be efficient, banish loose ends, conclude with a plot twist plus a memorable last line. The big picture of a small story The plot follows the shape of a …

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First Encounters is Ready for You to Read!

The Speculative Fiction Writers, a Rocky Mountain Fiction Writers online critique group, has published its first anthology, a collection of ten original stories by its members. Authors represent a variety of sub-genres, including science fiction, fantasy, horror, dystopian, and more. First Encounters: A Speculative Fiction Anthology is currently available at Amazon in eBook and paperback. First encounters. We wait for, dread, or stumble upon them. The unknown calls forth exciting …

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Getting Wild

Paul Martz’s science fiction short story, The re-creation of Sahmik Ghee, will appear in the 2020 RMFW Anthology, Wild: Uncivilized Tales, available September 11. The story was inspired by the classic poem by Robert W. Service and reflects Paul’s love for both kaiju and dark humor. This will be Paul’s first published work of fiction. On a planet where deadly snow elementals roam the frozen poles, two traders embark on …

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Writing the Great Ending

Writers are a creative group of people who have invented several satisfying ways to end a story. The Straightforward: The story problem is solved, conflict is resolved and the main character’s journey ends. This is the most common ending, a “happy ending”. The Shocker: Typical of horror, crime and thriller genres. Careful foreshadowing leads to an ending with a twist. The reader is surprised but says “I should have seen …

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Plot is the Beating Heart of a Story

What allows an author to convert something familiar, important or truthful into a story that is interesting? Simple answer: a plot. A story is NOT your diary, your years working as a gallbladder surgeon or the truth that advertisements lie. Readers want a plot that pulls them from the beginning to the end with a sense of satisfaction. Authors, whether they intentionally plan a story or not, often end up …

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Preparing a Submission for a Critique Group Session

Material submitted to a critique group is somewhere between a first draft and the final draft and may be an entire short story or just a few scenes from a novel. On one hand, a true first draft is riddled with grammar and spelling problems, best fixed with a grammar and spell checker like Grammarly or ProWritingAid. A critique group should not waste time commenting on, or suggesting fixes for, …

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Keys to Improving the Flow in Your Writing

Flow in writing is difficult to define, but readers always seem to recognize it. A flowing science fiction novel sucks the reader into the story, makes the unbelievable logical and prevents the poor reader from putting the book down until the last word passes into their brain long after dark. So, if defining flow is difficult, perhaps the opposite is comprehensible. Choppy, telegraphic, terse, repetitive, dense, lean, or clipped are …

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