List of Topics


Fiction Feedback

by Ron Kurtus

Readers have sent in a total of 25 comments and questions on Fiction issues. They are listed according to date.

You can read them to further your understanding of the subject.

List of most recent 15 letters




Paperback spine labeling Fiction Length USA
Suggested resource Resources USA
Suggested resource Resources USA
Writing about an unjust war General Nigeria
Science fiction on artifical gravity Artificial Gravity USA
What are the basics of writing a screenplay? General Ethiopia
Should I self-publish or try with a name publisher? General USA
Explanations of lines in Owl Creek Bridge story Owl Creek Bridge Bangladesh
Can you have more than one antagonist? Elements of Stories USA
Tell a story with a monkey and two children Elements of Stories India
How do you plot a good fiction story? Elements of Stories USA
Questions on this story Owl Creek Bridge USA
I have great love for fictional writing Motivations Nigeria
What are main themes of memoirs of prisoners? Elements of Stories USA
Are there any paid jobs for fiction writing? Jobs USA

Next 15 letters

Fiction Length

Paperback spine labeling

January 11, 2017


I am trying to find out what is the correct "spine labeling" for a paperback book? Sould it just be "Fic, Mar" or should it be "Fic, PB, Mar"?

Linda - USA (27796)


If you are publishing a fiction paperback book, you should include the title, author, and publisher on the spine. See Book Cover Elements.

I assume "Fic" means fiction and "PB" means paperback, but I don't think you necessarily need that on the spine. Look at various paperbacks in the bookstore to get an idea of what is needed.

Best wishes for success in your writing.

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Suggested resource

September 26, 2016



I would like to share with you "Grammar Guide: Improve Your Spelling, Punctuation and Writing" - .

I would greatly appreciate if you could add this guide to your website page with grammar resources

This would help to spread the guide among wider audience.


Carol - USA (27330)


Thanks for the suggested resource. I added a link at Fiction Resources and Writing Resources.

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Suggested resource

August 23, 2016


Hi Ron,

I came across your site when I was doing a bit of research on indie publishing and I wanted to get in touch. I'm part of the team from Reedsy, an online community of authors, editors, and designers.

One of the links in your Fiction Writing Resources is a broken link to Wizard4Word (it currently directs to a page in Japanese script). The current URL for that site is

Could I also suggest our own Reedsy Book Editor for this section? It's a free web-based tool that has a much more intuitive interface and it exports professionally-formatted books in both EPUB and print-ready PDF formats.

If you'd care to share it with your readers, the URL is here:

All the best and keep up the great work,


Martin - USA (27231)


Thanks for letting me know about the broken link. I fixed and also added a link to your Reedsy Book Editor in Fiction Resources as well as in Self-Publishing Resources.

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Writing about an unjust war

April 15, 2014


I wish to write about an unjust war,an ethnic cleansing, the effects on a people, the re-writing of history to favor the victor, and the subsequent systematic oppressive rule by the government of the day. How do I go about this? I need a good plot/ plan. Please help.

Pascal - Nigeria (24867)


You have a very ambitious project. It is a historical novel.

First consider and describe your main character or hero of the story. He is living in a country where there is an unjust war. State who are the leaders of this war. They can be the villains or bad people in your story. What is the reason they want war? Greed? Hatred?

Ethnic cleansing or eradicating other groups are events that affect both the soldiers and victims. There are many personal stories that you can include. Likewise for the other events.

My suggestion is that you break things down into small stories that you can weave together at a later time.

For example, you could have a short story about how there had been a war and the hero's side won. They elected a new leader, and everyone seemed happy. But then the new government started making changes and became corrupt and as bad as the previous one. The hero is jailed but escapes and starts the process over by fighting the new villains.

I hope these ideas help. Best wishes for success in your writing.

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Artificial Gravity

Science fiction on artifical gravity

November 12, 2012


Greetings, I am a science fiction writer, and I'd like to postulate a hypothesis for your notions and feedback. If one were to create a form of crankshaft that spins energy through magnetic coils in a spiraling circuit, allowing for hyper-acceleration of particles for the production of anti-matter, similar to what is used in super-colliders, and this tube structure itself were to be spinning, further increasing the momentum of the charged particles generated within, could this spinning collision device be used to both produce anti-matter and generate artificial gravity if used in the core of a large space ship? Furthermore, this anti-matter could be funneled to one end of the cylinder and recombined with positive matter for propulsion. If this hypothesis were to hold true, would it not reduce the amount of mass needed to generate gravity, and allow for better streamlining of a space vessel, since it would also be generating fuel for propulsion?
Alternatively, if a circular super-collider were to be used for the outer rim of a disc-shaped vessel, could it's function in accelerating matter at beyond light speed alone create the momentum needed for artificial gravity, while again producing anti-matter which could be used as fuel for propulsion?

DJ - USA (23032)


You've got some complex ideas.

For some reason, most matter in the Universe is right-handed and has certain charges. Anti-matter is simply a particle with the opposite charge and perhaps spins in a left-handed direction. Radioactive decay and high energy collisions can result in antiparticles being emitted.

See Antimatter and Antiparticles.

Also so-called artificial gravity is simply caused by inertia. It has been used many times in science fiction.

Some better topics to consider are dark matter and dark energy. They are only theory but explain many things in the Universe. It is a good topic for science fiction, since you can almost create your own special properties from these items. For example, if someone could convert to dark matter, he would be invisible to normal people.

Best wishes in your writing. Keep in touch on your progress.

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What are the basics of writing a screenplay?

November 23, 2011


I want to know the basics of writing a screenplay

fikre - Ethiopia (22195)


A screenplay is very similar to a stage play, where you have separate paragraphs that describe action and when the characters are talking. Check Screenplay Format to see a sample.

Also look through the references at: Screenwriting Resources.

Best wishes in learning to write a screenplay.

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Should I self-publish or try with a name publisher?

September 21, 2011


I've written an adventure book. Should I self-publish it or try with a name publisher?

Harry - USA (22007)


For your fiction book, it is always good to first send query letters to publishers as well as literary agents, especially those specializing in adventure novels. However, if you cannot find interest in your book, self-publishing is a good option. Many self-published e-books have become best-sellers.

Best wishes in success in publishing your book.

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Owl Creek Bridge

Explanations of lines in Owl Creek Bridge story

November 2, 2010


1.what is the explanation of this line: there was something uncanny in the revelation(part III)
2. "the sergeant stepped aside"(part I)-explain the line

fahmida - Bangladesh (20616)


1. Peyton Farquhar thought it was strange that he had never noticed the thick forest and peaceful surroundings, since he had lived there for a long time. Of course, these were thoughts in his mind as he was dying.

2. The men stepped aside to let the plank, so that the person they're would fall and become hanged.

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Elements of Stories

Can you have more than one antagonist?

August 15, 2010


Is it usually a good idea to have more than 1 antagonist for a created story or will it hurt defining the origins of the characters?

Dylan - USA (20241)


Having a number of antagonists can add depth and excitement to a story. It gives the protagonist more challenges to overcome.

Consider an adventure story where the hero must overcome a number of different villains and rivals. Or a romantic story with one or two rivals, as well as others opposed to the romance.

Cleverly defining the characters is then part of a good story structure.

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Elements of Stories

Tell a story with a monkey and two children

July 12, 2009


Could you tell me a plot of a story which has a monkey and two children as the main characters

Saptarshi - India (18019)


You need to define the hero and the problem.

You could have a story where the monkey is the hero, saving the children from a burning building (the problem). The story can start with the parents disliking the monkey, who seems to cause trouble. But in the end, he is the hero and everyone likes him.

Or, you could have the monkey as the problem, and the children are the heroes. The monkey can be always stealing things and causing trouble, but he is too clever to get caught. Finally, the children get a plan to trick the monkey and capture him. Everyone is happy that the monkey is captured.

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Elements of Stories

How do you plot a good fiction story?

April 1, 2009


How do you plot a good fiction story?

- USA (17539)


Start with a simple plot for your protagonist main character, starting with a goal, problem, action and resolution. That is the theme of your story. Then develop subplots for other character that will intertwine with the hero's plot.

See the Simple Plot Generator to get an idea of writing plots:

The story outlines are silly, but you can get an idea about developing a very simple plot.

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Owl Creek Bridge

Questions on this story

January 5, 2009


-Why does Peyton Farquhar have the last thought he has before he dies?
-What is the Union soldiers' reason for hanging Farquhar?

Mariela - USA (17059)


People are thinking all the time. The story shows how in the few seconds before a person dies, he or she can have many thoughts.

Peyton Farquhar was a a Confederate sympathizer during the United States Civil War and considered a spy or enemy by the Union soldiers.

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I have great love for fictional writing

December 11, 2008


I have great love for fictional writing. Though i have written some unpublished work which i hope to publish soon, I still need to develop my skill more. How do i do it.

chioma - Nigeria (16937)


One nice thing about what you write is that it lasts forever. Thus, you should hold onto your unpublished writing. Continue to write and experiment with new ideas. You might go back to an old story and refine it or add to it to improve the story.

But also, you need to know who your audience is. Who do you want to read your stories? You must think of them when you write, because you are communicating ideas and adventures to them.

If you can find other fiction writers, you can meet on occasion to critique each others stories. It is good to have someone carefully read what you have written so that you can learn about lapses in logic of the story, grammar errors or ways to improve it.

The big thing is to keep on writing. Write, write, write.

Best wishes on getting published soon.

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Elements of Stories

What are main themes of memoirs of prisoners?

November 12, 2008


What would be the main themes of memoirs of prisoners?

Is it a given that we observe some fictionality in memoirs?

Birhan - USA (16790)


A memoir could be any memories of a person. A prisoner may tell about his road to crime or tell about his happy childhood. An autobiography would be a summary of most of the person's life.

Certainly, people will exaggerate some portions of their lives, while minimizing other portions. A prison inmate might exaggerate how clever he was and minimize the harm his crimes did to others.

Just about all memoirs have some fiction in them.

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Are there any paid jobs for fiction writing?

October 16, 2008


I would like to know of any websites or links, where there are paid jobs for fiction writing, available. I have a great passion for writing to express any thoughts, whether objective or subjective, based on a variety of subjects and materials. I would like to perfect my writing skills to the highest degree, in order to, become more eloquent and extremely creative, as most "page-turners" are. Please reply to my request at your earliest convenience! It would be greatly appreciated and HAVE A BLESSED DAY!

Karen - USA (16657)


Some magazines that have short fiction stories pay their staff to do the writing. But most get stories from freelance submissions. A job writing fiction is extremely rare.

Consider magazines that you enjoy to read and see if they include short fiction stories. If not, look for some that do. You can see a listing of magazines that purchase fiction in the Writer's Market and Writer's Handbook books. Check your library or bookstore for one of these books. They also give good information on how to make your submissions.

I believe the best way to start is by writing short-short fiction stories, which are only 300-500 words long. Often they are the easiest to sell or get published. Then progress to short stories and finally to writing a book.

Note that it is good just to get published, even if it is for free. There are websites that will publish stories and you can write stories for you own blog, but that does not have the credibility as a story published in a magazine.

Best wishes on become a best-selling fiction writer.

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