Tuesday, January 29, 2013

Football Controversies


A reminder that, with all the talk of football concussions and the like, I covered the subject in 2012 in my ebook novel THE TOWER, which includes a protest group whose name is Pethby: People for the Ethical Treatment of Human Beings. I was being just a tad tongue-in-cheek.

I sought to make the work a smaller version of novels like Tolstoy's Anna Karenina, in that I kept the larger picture in my head, at the same time I engaged in set pieces (a football game; a protest) but also personal scenes, including lovemaking! (At which Tolstoy had few equals. The subtlety of the seduction scene in Anna Karenina is masterful.)

The novel The Tower by King Wenclas is one which combines feeling with intelligence and knowledge about the world we live in. It tries to understand the world we're trapped in, which should be the objective of every ambitious novelist. No easy task, but a worthy goal.

Buy The Tower by King Wenclas at Nook Books or Kindle Store now!

Monday, January 28, 2013

Two Literary Worlds

There are currently two very different literary worlds in America, neither of which will acknowledge the other.

There's "official" literature reviewed in mainstream publications and blogs, and taught in university English departments. For the most part, the general public ignores this.

There's marketplace lit, generic genre novels of all kinds, which is read by the public but disliked by the mandarin experts.

Is there a style of fiction which can bridge the gap? I mean, really bridge it?

The attempt is what American Pop Lit is about. Get on board now.

Friday, January 25, 2013

The Elements

Every literary tale is a combination of elements: description; dialogue; plot. It’s how the elements are mixed that make the work unique. Too many fictional novels and stories are cookie cutter, following familiar models to such extent the works become generic. This extends to “literary” works with their overly-detailed settings, over-crafted sentences and lethargic pace, to popular genre books which are absent of thought, depth, ideas—and in some cases any sense of reality.

With my new pop ebooks I’m trying to present a new mix. My objective is to be as fast-paced as anything going, explosive, yet also willing to present a clash of viewpoints. I love writing dialogue. I loathe “stream of consciousness” inside somebody’s empty head a la David Foster Wallace, whose work I’ve always found, like most readers, unreadable.

What are your models? What voices go through your brain? Do they correspond with mad American reality—or are they instead an escape from fast-paced reality? Many of us struggling to survive in this crazy hard fast society find ourselves inside something akin to a nightmare.

A writer I know recently told me how much he loves listening to NPR. I can’t see it. Those precious monotone voices put me to sleep. It’s no accident that NPR is a foundation of the status quo establishment “literary” scene. Genteel; privileged; smirky; safe.

Give me instead the last ten minutes of Jay Mohr’s sports radio show, which is pure speed uniquely American craziness—and wildly entertaining.

My objective is to write fiction that will make all literary writing instantly obsolete. A jet next to a biplane. I’m getting there, slowly but surely.

(Read the ebooks Ten Pop Stories, Mood Detroit, Crime City USA, The Tower, and The McSweeneys Gang, all affordably available.)

Wednesday, January 23, 2013

System Writer versus Ebook Writer

Which Path to Take?

SYSTEM WRITER: Johannes Lichtman

Background: Many years of expensive university education.

Payoff: $25 review payment from Oxford American.

Writing: Carefully crafted "literary" writing.


EBOOK WRITER: Amanda Hocking

Background: Former group home worker.

Payoff: $2 million self-published ebooks, which resulted in $2 million book contract from St. Martins.

Writing: Fun paranormal or vampire pop fiction.

Wednesday, January 16, 2013

Death Struggle

IT TOOK me a long time to realize, during my activities with the Underground Literary Alliance, that the literary establishment treated all criticism of itself as a fight to the death. For the mandarins and their flunkies, everything is allowable to maintain their turf. This includes smearing, lying, blackballing—all the corrupt ingenuity of these limited folks is called upon to prevail. The bureaucratic mindset: Their loyalty isn’t to truth, but to the system of which they’re part.

The threat the ULA offered was of two kinds. First, to make pop writing more vital and relevant to the larger society. Second, to have pop writing at its best accepted as legitimate literature.

The status quo “literary” scene is shrinking in size and power. Its art is decayed. The scene sits like a dying, unthinking animal, still capable of blindly, ruthlessly lashing out.

Sunday, January 13, 2013



I just read a short story by W. Somerset Maugham, “Mackintosh.” It’s absorbing, but the ending is something of a cop-out. It’s the same ending of F. Scott Fitzgerald’s “May Day,” and “A Perfect Day for Bananafish” by J.D. Salinger. The protagonist puts a bullet through his head.

When you’re a young reader this ending is impressive. When you’re older you ask yourself if the writer didn’t know how to end the story, and so resorted to desperate measures. Trickery.

The real question: Are all good tales, even the great ones, in some way trickery?