Tragic Wonders – Stories, Poems, and Essays to Ponder — An Excerpt

Tragic Wonders - Stories, Poems, and Essays to Ponder cover imageWhat if this world we live in is set up as a diabolical trap meant to prevent us from seeing that which is truly necessary? The anthology focuses on themes, situations, and emotions that are tragic, full of wonder, or, combined in some way, both.

In the stories, you’ll meet a serial killer, alien snails, a petulant eleven-year-old, a beloved astronaut, a laid-off worker, and many others. Two poems provide a transition from fiction to opinion. The short essays castigate, decry, praise, and skewer our personal, local, national, world, and cosmic conditions.

Mandated Memoranda’s second eBook, Tragic Wonders – Stories, Poems, and Essays to Ponder, edited by Ninja S. and Adolphus Writer, was first available December 2013. These writings are meant to engage readers in a reality that we all deny daily, whether we profess faith in Christ, are ambivalent, or are hostilely opposed to religion.

Click here to read an excerpt. Learn More on Amazon’s landing page.

Writing – A Review

I recommend two books on writing: Gotham Writers Workshop: Writing Fiction edited by Alexander Steele and Essentials of Screenwriting: The Art, Craft, and Business of Film and Television Writing by Richard Walter.

GWW covers the fiction writing craft–character, plot, point of view, etc.–suitable for all formats: short stories, essays, novels, etc. If I had to guess, this is one of the sources from which the myriads of writing books on the market draw their lessons. GWW purports to give the same materials you might get at an expensive writers workshop (except without the feedback, or the expense).

There’s a remarkably detailed overview of EoS on its Amazon page. I was interested in screenwriting which is covered in the first third of the book. I didn’t read the rest of the book which describes the sales and management involved in a screenwriting career.

My major take away from GWW is: rewrite, rewrite, and rewrite a third time. The idea of writing a draft, rewriting it from memory, and rewriting that one, again from memory, strikes me as an excellent way to deeply involve the subconscious in the story’s development.

I admit it goes against my personality to do this repetitive process. But I acknowledge its value and will endeavor to reduce it to practice in some form or other. My stories need more than just multiple revisions before sending them off for professional editing. These editors have never urged total rewrites because of policy (i.e., they like the return business).

EoS emphasizes developing an integrated story. Any element that advances the story and/or develops the characters is in; whatever doesn’t do these two things is out. If it moves the story or characters forward almost anything is in. However, if the story starts out as a sweet romantic comedy set in the South Bronx, don’t have the Martians invade and conquer the Earth in chapter 7.

Here’s an entire ‘Essentials of Screenwriting – Complete Film Courage Interview’ with UCLA Professor Richard Walter on YouTube. Please be aware that there are a few instances of coarse language during the interview. The following is an excerpt from this interview with a self-described crazy old hippie.

‘Most Important Thing I Teach My Screenwriting Students,’ UCLA Prof. Richard Walter, June 11, 2013

Red City Review for Tragic Wonders

Tragic Wonders by Ninja and Adolphus Writer

RCR 4 Stars

Tragic Wonders 1 by 1_6 quarter scaleTragic Wonders, edited by Ninja and Adolphus Writer is a collection of short stories, essays and poems that ponders over the difficult notions that life so often delivers to us. The words written on the page deal with situations which put the characters in distressing circumstances, often forcing them to face their deepest fears in order to overcome the problems at hand. This book causes the reader to evaluate how they view themselves and the world around them through these collected narratives. The title is fitting for the elements that make up this book, as most of the stories combine both components of wonder and tragedy. Through twenty-one stories, two poems, and eighteen essays, the voices of all of the contributors collide in one massive heap, resulting in a delectable conversation about how things are, and if there is any real way to change how things are meant to be.

This is not your average book, as the stories and essays contained within vary a great deal in tone and theme. Nevertheless, the overall messages of trying to search for meaning, and going out into the unknown to find something more than what has already been discovered here on Earth, permeate the words that are constructed delicately on every page. The two poems that are sandwiched between the beginning section of fiction, and the ending portion of writers’ opinions are reflective points, which balance the collection nicely. This isn’t an easy read, but it is a rewarding one, as the stories are crafted with great care. All in all, if you are the kind of reader who likes to have their own assumptions on how reality truly exists questioned by the written word, then this is sure to be an enjoyable book for you.

This title has not yet been released, check for it soon!

(Reviewed November 23, 2013 by Red City Review, used by permission.)

New Title in the Works

Now that Ms. Smith’s work is done and in production, we at Mandated Memoranda Publishing LLC are taking on a new fiction book. This is a collection of short stories with the tentative title: “Horrors of the Heart”. Adolphus Writer will again explore how we deal justly or unjustly with the experiences we are dealt in this life. He has a stable of contributors that are composing horror and science fiction stories plus specific essays on this theme. The authors will post excerpts from their stories and essays over the next few months. Please read them and comment. Thank you.