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Behind The Fiction, Past
A Fiction Column
By Michael G'Francisco


Fiction creates the image of fear in the minds of those who wish to look beyond or into the dark of the future. Let’s ponder this:

I am Fear. I am the menace that lurks in the path of life, never visible to the eye but sharply felt in the heart. I am the father of despair, the brother of procrastination, the enemy of progress, and the tool of tyranny. Born of ignorance and nursed on misguided thought, I have darkened more hopes stifled more ambitions, shattered more ideals and prevented more accomplishments than history could record.

Like the changing chameleon, I assume many disguises. I masquerade as caution. I am sometimes known as doubt or worry. But, whatever I’m called, I am still Fear, the obstacle of achievement.

I know no master but one; its name is Understanding. I have no power but what the human mind can give me, and I vanish completely when the light of Understanding reveals the facts as they really are, for I am really nothing.

Isn’t that what Fiction is? Really, isn’t Fear nothing but a figment of someone’s imagination.

Webster’s definition of Fear relates it’s being afraid; feeling that danger or evil is near, an uneasy feeling, anxious thought; and the concern that something bad is going to happen.

Webster’s definition of Fiction relates deals with the imaginary boogieman of someone’s mind creating accounts or stories. A thing acted upon as a fact in spite of its possible falsity.

Sad to say, I’ve found today’s fiction market to be beyond dark and gloomy. Oh, I know many fiction editors don’t share my opinion. Let me give my views why so few quality fictions get printed today:

(1) Acquisitions editors are looking for the next Steven King or Norman Mailer. They judge mega best sellers on the basis of their commercial appeal. Therefore, many good fiction novels never make the cut.

(2) There are far two many talented writers and too few available opening for the publishers’ Spring and Fall list.

Writers’ who attend conferences are in awe and pick-up optimism when they hear; “well- written novel will eventually be published. All it takes is perseverance.”

Well, hells bells don’t believe it. Good writing is not enough. There must be a market for the writing. The truth of the matter is that a publisher’s board of decision makers must have the belief that a sufficient number of books will be sold to recoup the publisher’s investment. Then, and only then, will the novel have a chance to be published.

Today, because of the widespread corporate downsizing within the publishing business, literary agents become “first readers” by default. Unfortunately, judging fiction (and non-fiction) is a highly subjective task. In most cases they look for a new idea or does it have that electrical spark of uniqueness.

So, now do you understand why Fear—enters fiction?


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