Author Archives: Scott Parkin

E Pluribus Plures: From Many, (also) Many

Most of us count ourselves members of many communities, and feel both affinity with the totality of the community and distinction from many of its individual members. It’s the nature of the beast; we are complex beings with complex interests, so we pursue multiple memberships in communities of interest.

Except when we don’t. Continue reading

Posted in Community Voices, Storytelling and Community | 9 Comments

One Writer’s View: Confessions of a Reluctant Novelist

I was once considered a promising writer. I had written more than 150 short stories. Then it happened. The horrible realization that sapped my strength and crushed my heart and left me dazed and disoriented and despondent. I was a fake. A fraud. A pretender. I was not the spinner of brief tales I had always seen myself as.

I was not a short story writer at all. It seemed I was a natural novelist—an entirely different animal. Continue reading

Posted in Community Voices, Personal Narratives, Storytelling and Community, The Writer's Desk | 17 Comments

Reader’s Corner: That One Story…

I want to ask you to tell me about that one story—whether novel, TV show, song lyric, short story, poem, oral tradition, folk tale, or true-life experience—that has stuck with you far beyond its telling, that fired your imagination and made you either want to read or write more.

It’s often not the best told or generally approved story you’ve read or heard, but it is the one that simply won’t leave your head. The powerful ur-story that changed the way you thought most profoundly. It may be inspirational or banal, famous or obscure, true or fantastic, uplifting or condemning. Continue reading

Posted in Community Voices, Storytelling and Community | Tagged | 13 Comments

Discussion: Your take on the Four Centuries contest stories

James Goldberg’s Four Centuries of Mormon Stories contest was a fantastic opportunity to get a look at twelve excellent visions on Mormon short-short stories told from a wide variety of viewpoints and structures. Each story was posted online, and open … Continue reading

Posted in Community Voices, Storytelling and Community | Tagged , | 20 Comments

Observations: The Challenge of Recasting

As we age and learn, we often recast the things we experienced in earlier life in light of that new knowledge. We intentionally re-contextualize and re-index. We discover and formulate a larger—and hopefully more complete—story of that experience. Sadly, in the process we also tend to rob much of the vital essence from those experiences. Continue reading

Posted in Community Voices, Personal Narratives | 7 Comments

Windmill Variations: In Defense of Message-Driven Fiction

I suspect inopportune literalism is the primary limiting factor in my confusion as to why good fiction must not, dare not, shall not contain a message. I read the books that others tell me are “good” and I see messages aplenty, and more often than not I see aggressive arguments for particular viewpoints. Scout may pretend to be unformed and open-minded, but “To Kill A Mockingbird” leaves no doubts about what the author believes are better (and lesser) moral conclusions through her voice. Continue reading

Posted in Community Voices, Storytelling and Community, The Populist's Soapbox, The Writer's Desk | Tagged | 3 Comments

One Man’s Meditation: Merlin, Motivation and Letting Go

It seems to me that we are in the midst of a rather startling expansion of our traditional concepts of Mormon literature. There’s an active effort going on to expand the possibilities, to rethink what we can and should be doing with our unique voices and viewpoints. A lot of it makes me uncomfortable, but the more I consider it the more I think it’s a useful discomfort… Continue reading

Posted in Community Voices, Personal Narratives, Storytelling and Community | 17 Comments

Reader/Writer Connection: Get the Easy Stuff Right

It’s happened to all of us. We’re reading a story and a detail leaps out and slaps us in the face because we know that it’s just not true, and that even cursory research would have shown the folly of the claim. As a reader that drives me nuts because it breaks the illusion and jars me out of the story; it makes me wonder how many other details the author got wrong and undermines my trust in the story. As a writer I know that we sometimes play a little loose with certain facts to accomplish another literary task. Continue reading

Posted in Community Voices, SF&F corner, The Writer's Desk | 12 Comments

The Cranky Curmudgeon: Imagination Isn’t Everything

Maybe it’s an artifact of my odd reading selections, but in comparing classic works with many of the more modern stories I’ve been reading lately, I’ve noticed a trend toward highly imaginative (fantastic) settings with fairly simplistic philosophical underpinnings. It’s as if authors are selling out to cool visuals at the expense of challenging questions; as if pace is a substitute for substance; as if conflict is inherently interesting and requires no consequence.

I think I disagree. In fact, I’m pretty sure of it. Continue reading

Posted in Community Voices, SF&F corner, YA corner | 21 Comments

2e || !2e: One Reader’s First eBook Encounter

I’ve been reading books on computer screens for about two decades, starting with book-length manuscripts in a word processor, moving to PDFs and hypertext books, and even using the Kindle app on my PC to read classics. But this was my first full eBook experience for a novel on a handheld reader. And it was more jarring than I expected. Continue reading

Posted in Community Voices, Electronic Age | Tagged | 11 Comments