The significance of plot without conflict

“In the West, plot is commonly thought to revolve around conflict: a confrontation between two or more elements, in which one ultimately dominates the other. The standard three- and five-act plot structures–which permeate Western media–have conflict written into their very foundations. A “problem” appears near the end of the first act; and, in the second act, the conflict generated by this problem takes center stage. Conflict is used to create reader involvement even by many post-modern writers, whose work otherwise defies traditional structure.

The necessity of conflict is preached as a kind of dogma by contemporary writers’ workshops and Internet “guides” to writing. A plot without conflict is considered dull; some even go so far as to call it impossible.

This has influenced not only fiction, but writing in general–arguably even philosophy. Yet, is there any truth to this belief? Does plot necessarily hinge on conflict? No. Such claims are a product of the West’s insularity. For countless centuries, Chinese and Japanese writers have used a plot structure that does not have conflict “built in”, so to speak. Rather, it relies on exposition and contrast to generate interest. This structure is known as kishōtenketsu.”

The rest of the essay here


Houston, Houston, do you read?

Making my way through the S.F. MASTERWORKS list:

Tiptree Jr., James, Her Smoke Rose Up Forever.

The novella Houston, Houston, do you read? was first published in, wow, 1976, in the anthology Aurora: Beyond Equality. It won a Nebula Award for Best Novella in 1976 and a Hugo Award for Best Novella in 1977.


                 “They were good men,” he says bitterly. “They aren’t bad men. You don’t know what bad means. You did it to them, you broke them down. You made them do crazy things. Was it interesting? Did you learn enough?” His voice is trying to shake. “Everybody has aggressive fantasies. They didn’t act on them. Never. Until you poisoned them.”

They gaze at him in silence. “But nobody does,” Connie says finally. “I mean, the fantasies.”

“They were good men,” Lorimer repeats elegiacally. He knows he is speaking for it all, for Dave’s Father, for Bud’s manhood, for himself, for Cro-Magnon, for the dinosaurs too, maybe. “I’m a man. By god, yes, I’m angry. I have a right. We gave you all this, we made it all. We built your precious civilization and your knowledge and comfort and medicines and your dreams. All of it. We protected you, we worked our balls off keeping you and your kids. It was hard. It was a fight, a bloody fight all the way. We’re tough. We had to be, can’t you understand? Can’t you for Christ’s sake understand that?

Another silence.

“We’re trying,” Lady Blue sighs. “We are trying, Dr. Lorimer. Of course we enjoy your inventions and we do appreciate your evolutionary role. But you must see there’s a problem. As I understand it, what you protected people from was largely other males, wasn’t it? We’ve just had an extraordinary demonstration in that. You have brought history to life for us.”

An acute, complex longing for the women he has known grips him. Women to whom men were not simply—irrelevant.



Halloween is for readers… — Clare London, Author

Do you enjoy reading MM books with a seasonal theme? Halloween isn’t just for pumpkins, ghosts, and horror trains. This season’s reads can also be spooky, scary, funny, sexy, weird, horrific, thoughtful, melodramatic, shocking, redeeming, and overall romantic… Whatever it means to you, whatever you like to read, come and take a look at the […]

via Halloween is for readers… — Clare London, Author

Call for submissions – Short stories by and about transgender, non-binary, and genderqueer people

Call for submissions

M.S. Wordsmith is seeking #ownvoices submissions for a short story collection featuring transgender, non-binary, and genderqueer characters written by transgender, non-binary, and genderqueer writers.

The collection will be published as a free eBook on 31 March, 2018, otherwise known as Transgender Day of Visibility.

Deadline for submission: 3 December, 2018.

Here’s where you can download the collection Subatomic and other stories by and about bisexuals, a Celebrating BiVisibility Day project, and the first My Voice, My Story anthology by these editors.

Previous blog post and excerpt

Halloween 2018

CLARE LONDON is now running a Halloween themed Blogshop Window for MM fiction.

It’s a browse and buy books, all in one place kind of thing, and she intends to do it several times a year for different seasons and themes.

To start with, you can click on the covers for a range of stories from horror, paranormal, ghostly and spooky to humour and romance novels.

The page will be available from Oct 9 to Nov 30 2018.

Screenshot_2018-10-19 Halloween 2018 2

Peeking under her shade

When you’re one of the mushrooms able to grow thanks to a tree like Ursula K. Le Guin, you’re wary of approaching and disturbing the source that nurtured you.

But, wow, this woman’s brain!

Half a century later, her writings remain as much a thought experiment today as ever before. Wonder what that tells us?


“‘When you see a worthy person, endeavor to emulate him. When you see an unworthy person, then examine your inner self.” Confucius

The day is here!

Celebrate Bisexuality Day is here, and so is the first MY VOICE, MY STORY Anthology put together by editors Mariëlle S. Smith and Sìne Máiri Ní Alpín.

Representation is vital. No matter what we identify as, we need role models we resonate with. In fiction, we need to read stories about people who are like us, written by people who are like us.

In this first My Voice, My Story anthology, Mariëlle S. Smith and Sìne Màiri Ní Ailpín have collected a variety of stories by and about bisexual characters. From King Arthur’s court to the black snowfields of one of the nine colourful queendoms, and from a Malaysian suburb to the red clay of Prince Edward Island, Subatomic and other stories by and about bisexuals has a story for everyone, bisexual or not.

You can get a free copy at the editor’s site M.S. Wordsmith

  • For Kobo, click here or here.
  • For Amazon, click here. Please note that Amazon has yet to match price. If the book isn’t featured for FREE on their website, and you do need a mobi file, please click here.
  • For the generic ePub file, click here.

You can also find the book at Goodreads.

Bisexual Voices FINAL - copia

Following, there’s an excerpt from my contribution to the collection, Word on the street.

Sigue leyendo “The day is here!”

Against Walls (Amgalant Book One) by Bryn Hammond


“…Why? It’s Confucius. Know your enemy, and Cutula took his research seriously, but often enough they came against a baffler and then the answer was, it’s Confucius.”

Like Cutula, I blame it on Confucius, too. When you see a worthy person, endeavor to emulate him. When you see an unworthy person, then examine your inner self.  This trilogy’s author, Bryn Hammond, she’s a tall order, indeed.

And this is a read to spur you on. Goodreads

MEL KEEGAN’s back!

…and what a comeback. Amazon Best Sellers in LGBT Science Fiction 🙂

“…How long have you waited for THE END OF THE NARC SERIES? You know how long you’ve waited. You may also be aware that my health has been so poor, I now know more about hospitals than I ever wanted to. Only a couple of people sent “hate mail” (along the lines of, “I don’t care how close to death you are, you should have finished the series or “unpublished” the whole thing”). Still, I’m keenly aware that it’s been a long road, and many readers may have simply lost interest in the Jarrat and Stone saga. I understand this, I really do. I hope some old readers will rediscover Jarrat and Stone now, because —

It’s done. The end of the series is a monster trilogy…”

Mel Keegan Onlineendgame_225