In the middle of October, days before Halloween and months into a plague slash political horror show straight out of a Stephen King novel, I was sitting in my car, minding my own business and eating takeout pastries, as one does In These Uncertain Times.

To amuse myself as I roosted in my vehicle shoving stale and frankly uninspired macrons from the local donut hut into my gob, I had two options: I could read the news, which was reliably appalling, or I could read “ The Candy Country” by Louisa May Alcott, author of the beloved and reassuring children’s classic, Little Women. …


So, you need to write an essay? Possibly you’re thrilled (probably you’re not). Either way, it doesn’t have to be a dull chore. Essays are as fun and as simple as … ice cream! Don’t believe me? Read on!

What is an essay?

An essay is a succinct piece of nonfiction writing that presents an argument, interpretation or line of reasoning about a specific idea. The word “essay” comes from the French word “essayer,” which means “to try or attempt.” This word, in turn, comes from the Latin word “ exigere,” which means “to examine or test.” …


One slow and sunny summer day, I spent a blissfully pandemic-free afternoon scouring the internet for a recipe for golden rod cake. As I clicked on cooking blog after cooking blog, scrolling through recipe after recipe in a fruitless search for this most obscure of all archaic cakes, a question suddenly occurred to me: Why are recipe posts on food blogs so obscenely long?

Why not find out? I wondered. After all, I was only looking for a golden rod cake recipe so I could waste time snarking in blog form about a badly written pulp novel I’d wasted days reading. …


It’s been called one of the most inept movies ever made, hilariously demented, and pure unintentional camp. It’s on list after list of the worst movies ever made. It’s The Room.

A close watch of this 2003 film lays bare a veritable buffet of stilted acting, baffling continuity issues, illogical editing, and a plot that boggles the mind. And yet, somehow, it’s an intensely fascinating piece cinematography.

The Room has been mocked, memed and memorized by fans. It’s been snark-analyzed to death. And yet, nobody has ever been able to figure out what this bizarre film means.

What is The Room really about? …


Writing a novel can be incredibly time-consuming. Some authors commit years to the task. Others, decades. But who has that kind of time nowadays? Is it possible to write a novel in a lot less time — like a month?

Yes! You can write a novel in just 30 days. I know because I’ve done it. Twice. I’ve got five tips to share — each of which I’ve personally tested — that will help you do it, too. Let’s get started!

When to write your novel

What’s the best month to write a novel in 30 days? Last month, as the saying goes. But if you have a choice, the ideal month is the one that perfectly combines the high energy of the holiday season with the dreariness of bad weather and long nights. …


What’s the shortest novel ever written? What makes a work of fiction a novel and not a short story? And how do novellas fit in?

We’re examining ten extremely short novels from around the globe to find the world’s shortest novel and, while we’re at it, figure out what really makes a story a novel.

Today, we’re looking at structure. Novels are built from smaller pieces: words that come together to form sentences, sentences that are joined into paragraphs, and paragraphs that pile up until they become chapters.

We all know what words, sentences and paragraphs are. …


Here we are again, friends. Another Flowers in the Attic book has arrived to grace us with its presence, this time at the outset of a global pandemic. Released in the infelicitous month of February 2020, the timing of Out of the Attic was bad. The book itself is worse.

Much, much worse.

Out of the Attic is the follow-up to Beneath the Attic. Both books are set before the events of Garden of Shadows, which itself is set before the events of the very first book of the series, Flowers in the Attic.

However, as it turns out, Out of the Attic isn’t really a prequel ( to a prequel). …


In the beginning was the prologue. And it was … good, according to some, useless according to others.

The pros and cons of including a prologue in your novel are many. If you’re struggling with how to use this most divisive literary device, or just want to figure out why some prologues are enticing and others are boring beyond belief, read on.

What is a prologue?

The word “ prologue” comes from the Greek word “prologos,” and originally referred to the speech given at the start of early theater productions just before the chorus took the stage (“pro” meaning “before,” and “ logos “ meaning “word” or “speech”). …


There’s only one known portrait of author Edgar Allan Poe’s child bride, and it’s a painting of her corpse. Her name was Virginia Clemm, and she was his cousin. When Poe, age 27, married her, she was just 13.

One of the most scandalous details of the biography of Edgar Allan Poe, author of horror stories and dark gothic poetry, was his marriage. Marrying your barely teenaged first cousin is the stuff of crude jokes today. But was this the case in Poe’s time?

In order to answer that, in the spirit of cultural relativism, we need to ask two very basic questions. …


What’s the shortest novel ever written? What makes a work of fiction a novel and not a short story? And how do novellas fit in?

We’re examining ten extremely short novels from around the globe to find the world’s shortest novel and, while we’re at it, figure out what really makes a story a novel.

Today, we’re looking at style: specifically, the style of storytelling known as literary fiction. Literary fiction breaks many of the publishing industry’s rules of genre novel writing. But is length the one rule that can’t be broken?

Occasionally referred to as “ serious literature,” literary fiction is the soul-searching yin to genre, or “commercial,” fiction’s pleasure-focused yang. In literary fiction, style (the writing) trumps substance (the plot and characters). But that’s not the reason it stands apart from commercial fiction in the Western literary canon. …

About

katherineluck

Novelist, journalist, coffee addictist. Books at amazon.com/author/katherineluck

Get the Medium app

A button that says 'Download on the App Store', and if clicked it will lead you to the iOS App store
A button that says 'Get it on, Google Play', and if clicked it will lead you to the Google Play store