Archive for March 2007

New Format for Blogging

March 30, 2007


Because new schools are beginning to read THE PURLOINED BOY I think a new format is necessary.

Each school is at a different point in the story and some folks don’t want to know what’s going to happen further on in the story. So I’ve set up a new page to the right for each school.

Now you can talk away. It’ll make it a little easier to find the thread of conversation you’re interested in too. Lastly, if you want to look ahead you can. Even though you may be looking in on another school’s conversation — feel free to jump in! That’s half the fun of having a blog!


P.S. More schools are joining all the time. Two more public schools and one more private school are looking to join the fun!

How to Blog

March 29, 2007

The Troth

One of the really fun things about this site is getting to talk with me and with other people from different schools about THE PURLOINED BOY.

For the last couple of weeks only one school has been reading the book. This week three more schools are joining and in the weeks to come even more will be coming on board!

Almost every day I’ll be posting new posts on the site. Any time you see something you want to respond to you can post your thoughts for me and the rest of the PURLOINED BOY blogging community to see.

Below you’ll see the word “comments”just click on that. The first time you do you’ll be asked to make up a screen name and a password. After you do you’ll be able to post your thoughts to any place you’d like on the website!


A Great Time Had by All at Mansfield Middle School!

March 27, 2007

The Troth

Thanks for the great time guys! 52 of you have signed up to read the book!

I’m looking forward to reading your blogs!

Also, thanks for your great work Mrs. K! And thanks for the invitation to talk to the classes. You’re a super teacher.


It’s a Big Week for Mortimus!

March 26, 2007

The Troth

I’ll be at the Mansfield Middle School on Tuesday and Wednesday mornings this week. Tuesday afternoon I’ll be at The King’s School in Bolton and Thursday afternoon I’ll be at The Captain Nathan Hale Middle School in Coventry. Whew!

I’ll be distributing about 100 books!


How do you come up with this stuff?! Part 3

March 25, 2007

The Troth

Now, keep in mind, that what is going on here is largely unconscious. I’m not deliberating with myself like I am presenting here. I’m proceeding largely by feel — intuition.

Indeed, I think that linear, deliberate, conscious thought is almost useless to writing a story. Its helpful a bit in evaluating a story, but not in making one. And I say that as a friend of logic and linear thinking.

So there I was, I had the story situated. Now I needed some characters. I felt I needed two. Because the very notion of advertising real estate in space is absurd, I needed a funny man to champion the notion. So I made a nutty Realtor. But because the twists I felt the story would go through would be best served by a kind of contrast with the out-look of a more vanilla, rational, conventional sort of person — I needed a straight-man. So I made one of those.

Then I needed a plot. Now, because the story literally begs for a real alien to show up I knew that that had to happen — but it couldn’t be the punch of the story — or as the French call it the “denouement.” It was too obvious. There had to be a subtle twist somewhere that cast the whole crazy story in another light.

It took me a couple of days to come up with that. It came to me at the dinner table with my family. I was explaining the story to them and then it hit me. I knew the twist I needed and I had the story.

After I had the end in mind the story just flowed. Lots of subtle twists and turns and amusing asides just came to me as I went along — almost on their own, you could say. I would.


How do you come up with this stuff?! Part 2

March 23, 2007

The Troth
So, there I sat, thinking pleasant thoughts: bankruptcy, starvation — stuff like that. Then a dark humor came over me and I started laughing maniacally.

After some slaps across the face (Thanks, I needed that.) I realized the problem was economics 101 — it was a supply and demand problem. Too much product, not enough buyers. We either needed to torch some houses or get some more buyers into the housing market.

Then it hit me. (My face was still stinging.) What about space aliens?! Advertise in space!

That’s how I arrived at the setting, or the occassion, of the story BUYERS’ MARKET. It was quirky — something I like — had potential for dark humor — something I was feeling at the time — and I knew the subject — I could write about it. (Not the alien part — the real estate part!)

Next, I needed some characters and a plot.

To be continued. . .


How do you come up with this stuff?!

March 22, 2007

The Troth
Every so often someone will ask me incredulously, “How do you come up with this stuff?!”

I don’t really know.

What the question may be driving at is the creative process. I have thought about that and here are some ruminations for what they are worth.

I’m currently working on some short stories that I hope to see published in various places and eventually become part of a collection with the working title of: Captain Larry’s Amazing Bag of Whiz Bang!

One of the stories is called “Buyers’ Market” and is about a couple of Realtors (kind of an Abbott and Costello pair) who accidentally sell the entire planet earth to space aliens.

The idea came to me initially in a real estate office I know well. There I sat with a couple of other Realtors waiting for the phone to ring.

To be continued. . . .


Fiction as Autobiography

March 21, 2007

The Troth
You don’t create fiction out of nothing — ex nihilo, like God creating the universe. Rather, you use the stuff of life, mostly the life you know best –your own life.

I’m not saying authors never write about things they disagree with or that every scene is somehow a mirror of an author’s soul. I’m merely saying that authors, to a greater or lesser extent, reveal themselves in their work.

At a basic level an author of fiction reveals his story telling skill: use of plot, character, suspense, etc. But at a deeper level he reveals what he cares about — what he loves enough to work at communicating — usually for months and years, often alone and overlooked — and if noticed at all — puzzled over — like a strange bug unearthed by a shovel.

So where is the author in the story? Can we spot him like we can spot Alfred Hitchcock in a cameo in North by Northwest or Vertigo? No. I think the whole work — the entire story — is the revelation. Moby Dick reveals a Melville bereft of faith, despairing and bitter. Metamorphosis shows a Kafka full of self-loathing and suicidal.

A question worth asking is — does the work tell a truth, even an unwelcome truth? If so, it’s worth reading.


Mortimus to Appear at the Mansfield Middle School — March 27 & 28

March 20, 2007


I’ll be meeting with five (count ’em!) — five different classes. Three on Tuesday between 8:50 a.m. and noon and on Wednesday 2 more classes between 10:25 and noon. And I’ll be bringing books! Lots and lots of them.

I’ll be teaching the kids to blog right there! They’ve got computers in the classroom.

Looking forward to it, I am!


Pre-Publication Marketing & Review Coming Along Nicely

March 19, 2007

The Troth

To date there are 7 public and private schools participating in the pre-publication and review campaign for THE PURLOINED BOY. Likely, in the near future, the traffic on this blog will increase markedly. Hopefully in the next few weeks there will be three or four more schools in the mix bring the total to 10 or 11.

Some folks have asked me why a pre-publication campaign is necessary. Here are some reasons:

1. It’d be nice to know if the story is a winner. I think it is; people close to me say it is; but there’s nothing like getting it out there and letting people who don’t know me and who don’t care about my feelings have at it.

2. Feed back could make the story even better. I’m not one of those lonely misanthropic artist types who despise the public. I like feed back — the bad and the good. It helps my creative process. Without it I get into a rut.

3. There’s nothing like a ready fan-base to receive a book to help sales along. Nothing succeeds like success, and if people really like it and are already willing to buy it an tell friends, and so on. You see what I mean?

Some folks are wondering when it will see commercial publication. Well, it definitely will. I can promise that. But whether it is 9 months from now or 18 months I can’t say. My agent will help with that — he’s working on it. Also, I want as strong a release as possible and this little experiment will help this along greatly.