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


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

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!”

Palm Sunday/Branch Sunday

Yesterday must have been quite the green spring day on certain parts of the continent. Willow branches are the best, my grandmother used to say when she’d sent us by the stream to acquire some for her.

The Pentecost, the fifty days of Easter, marks the beginning of many outdoor and springtime activities in Eastern Europe. Green is the colour from now on, and wild flowers and tree branches adorning gates and doorways are a must, because this is not about the man-made stay-green year around nature that normally sprinkles our urban cement or earth beaten paths dwellings to be sure.

This must be done specifically and purposefully because the first Sunday after the Pentecost is considered the All Saints’/All souls’ Sunday, around there.

On Holy Thursday during the holy week of Easter the gates of heaven and hell are said to be open to allow Jesus’s soul to enter and, afterwards, to exit the celestial realm again. This means, of course, that the doors are also open for all the other souls existing in heaven or hell, which allows them the opportunity to cross over and visit the earthen realm once more, if so they wish it. Or if they are called home by someone back here.

In medieval Europe, fires were lit outdoors and candles were burned in every room to guide the souls straight back to their respective earthly homes where they were thus obviously wanted and expected. This was also supposed to prevent them aimlessly haunting other folk’s places, by mistake. Some say that a household protected by linden branches will keep the evil souls away while allowing the right ones in.


Memory Chest at Smashwords

Memory Chest at Amazon

Memory Chest & excerpt at MLR Press


Dorian Dawes, Ethics in World-Building

Ethics in World-Building: Lovecraft & Cosmic Horror by Dorian Dawes

Lovecraft’s influence on pop-culture is massive. His shadow looms like a tentacled horror rising out of the depths in movies, books, and especially games media. Cosmic horror calls to the imagination, forcing us not only to look to the stars and below the depths of the seas for terror, but also inward, and at our own insignificance in the universe. Delving into these tropes is a call to fantasy and existential terror, but navigating them and their loaded history can be tricky.

Much has been written on Lovecraft’s infamous xenophobia, racism, sexism, and queerphobia.