On Writing the Short Story: A Mad Tea Party

By: Tickled By Thunder  09-12-2011
Keywords: Writing, Writer


QUINN TYLER JACKSON has been writing since he was twelve years old. His short stories have appeared in Amoret, The Ampersand, Apotheosis, The Commuter Monthly, Distant Worlds, Drop the Buddha, Hauteurs/L’Être, The Kudzu Monthly, Noesis-E, Perfection, Tickled by Thunder, and Ubiquity. His three novels, Abadoun, The Succubus Sea, and Janus Incubus, are available on http://www.amazon.co.uk/.

In early 2003, Jackson was awarded the first annual Mega Foundation Literary Award for the body of his work. Mega Press will soon be announcing release of Shatterlines: The Collected Literary Works of Quinn Tyler Jackson at http://www.megasociety.net/MegaPress/.

At various times in his life, Jackson has been a gas jockey, silkscreener’s apprentice, bookstore clerk, freelance editor, literary agent, research programmer, computer consultant, professor of information technology, and stay at home father. He lives with his wife and three children in Port Coquitlam, Canada, where he continues to nurture his lifelong fascination with language.


A brain surgeon and a writer are sitting over drinks at a fundraising dinner for their local art gallery. Upon learning what his drinking companion does for a living, the brain surgeon says to the writer, “I plan on writing one day. Any pointers you can give me?” and the writer replies, “Hey, that’s great! I plan on doing brain surgery one day. Any pointers you can give me?”

This book is not a compilation of rules that will somehow turn a lumberjack, grocery clerk, dentist, lawyer, or even a brain surgeon into a writer. This is not to say that it is not my hope that a lumberjack, grocery clerk, dentist, lawyer, or brain surgeon will get something useful out of what will be presented. They simply will not get a list of Dos and Don’ts about short story writing. Writing does not work that way.

This book is also not about how to get your short stories published. Marketing of writing deserves its own book, and so I shall not speak on it here.

Instead, this book will examine in some detail the art of writing tight, coherent, meaningful short fiction, however that applies to you as a writer of the form. New ideas offered, old ideas re-examined, and suggestions for artistic growth, but no hard and fast formulas or rules will be offered.

Enjoy the drink.


To come . . .


.. of Abadoun, Jackson's first novel:

"What impresses me about Jackson’s work is that he recognizes the role of work in art and seriously works at it with thought and sensitivity. It is also scholarly: like a mathematician, addressing all the possibilities critically." – Fred Candelaria, Founder and Editor of The West Coast Review (1966-1986), Poet

"With great precision and attention to detail, the author makes this complex area of the world come alive in the reader's imagination – but this is merely one amongst several strokes of authorial genius which fall between the covers of this fine book; there also occur intriguing and beautifully-rendered sidelong shifts and actual reversals of time, space, and perspective, many of which allow for different interpretations of the main characters' thoughts and deeds, and all of which defy easy description but are consummately achieved. The author is particularly adept at conveying the strangely altered and slippery nature of a person's conception of Time during periods of psychological and social upheaval. [..] [The character of Ahmad Mehrdadi], who by his eccentric though charming reliance on always remaining 'practical', while retaining a complete and blissful unawareness of any future consequence that might result, reminds one in a pleasant and stimulating way of V. S. Naipaul's Mr. Biswas. And such a creation is exactly what is meant by many modern, professional critics when they clamor for more 'living, breathing, and fully-realized' characters.

"Without exaggeration, one is reminded by the main narrator's drifting about the streets of Abadoun of the wanderings of an altogether different kind of outsider, one named Bloom, amongst the far-off streets of Dublin.." – Review in Drop the Buddha

"I have read famous books less well written than Abadoun. The book is dense with meaning and gives a feel of a very different culture. In addition, it has a strong element of suspense. The reader ends up caring for the people in the novel. In a time where thin stories are presented as 600 page books .. Jackson’s gift of brevity is refreshing and most appreciated." – Dr. Bjarne Stroustrup, Inventor of C++

"Jackson's technique of viewing the events from the .. perspectives of multiple characters without the intrusion of [third] person narrators, and within the unique voice of each character, gives the reader multiple and unique perspectives on the same events along the timeline, as these lives intersect with brief finality. If Picasso had brought his concept of multiple concurrent viewpoints to literature instead of painting and sculpture, a brief tableau akin to Abadoun might be the result." – Keith Krebs, Persistence-of-Vision Image Services, Formerly a Campaign Consultant and Policy Analyst in areas of: International Relations, Military Policy, and Technology

.. of Janus Incubus:

".. beautiful narrative that surpasses James Joyce in clarity and hunger." – C. Wigtil, Reviewer

"[Jackson's] work shows a ruthless and critical eye and artistic judgment at work – with resulting powerful effects.." – Marc Ponomareff, formerly editor of Drop the Buddha and The Ampersand

"[Janus Incubus] offers readers a unique cautionary perspective that can only be accurately portrayed by an insider.." – Dr. Gina Lynne LoSasso, Neuropsychologist, Director of the Mega Foundation, in her afterword to the novel

"Mark, the protagonist of Janus Incubus, is a gifted young writer struggling with the double edged, double faced nature of his talents, confronting sometimes overwhelmingly intense feelings. [..] Part of the value for the reader is that Mark is willing to keep asking questions about his creative work and his both charmed and conflicted life. An often charismatic charmer, he gains the affection and support of others on his journeys, but is also led at times to act in dangerously self-defeating, even self-destructive ways. [..] This combination of sensitivities and behavior can be symptomatic of borderline personality disorder, though some therapists are saying that label is too reductive and stigmatizing. In an interview, author Jackson said it was his intention to 'humanize this often misunderstood problem.' In creating the story of Mark, he has done so, helping us glimpse it from the inside." – Douglas Eby, MS, in review on Talent Development Resources

.. of Jackson's writing in general:

"Quinn’s extraordinary mind reveals its many striking facets through his impressive command of language. His prose varies effortlessly from lean to well-marbled, his characters often seem to emerge out of the reader’s own lost memory, and although his stories go down as easily as springwater, they leave in the mind a sweet and haunting aftertaste. His poetry is unique in the way it stimulates the neurons, capturing rare moods like exotic butterflies in artfully-woven nets of word and concept. The work of Quinn Tyler Jackson comes very highly recommended." – Christopher Michael Langan, President, Mega Foundation, upon announcing Jackson's winning the 2003 Mega Foundation Literary Award.

"Quinn Tyler Jackson’s writings are always full of mind-boggling images and ideas, wreathed in beauty, subtlety, breadth, and insight. The eclectic Jackson is both a technologist and poet, and with the cold logic of the one and the inspired vision of the other, he is sure to stimulate your imagination and sense of wonder at the incredible vastness of our universe." – Dr. Cliff Pickover, author of The Paradox of God and The Science of Omniscience and many other books

"Quinn Tyler Jackson is truly a phenomenal individual. He has talents in so many areas and is a literary genius of Nobel caliber." – Dr. Gina LoSasso, Executive Director and Vice President of the Mega Foundation, on hearing the news of Jackson's entry into Phenomenal Men of the Web.

"'The Vitruvian' is  absolutely fabulous. Well conceived, nicely written. I have a theory about stories.. We write them to find the gems hidden in the idea. Sometimes there is only one, sometimes there are many. Once in a great while – we find a nearly perfect one. I think this story is one of those.." – Lisa Binkley, Submissions Editor, Distant Worlds: Science Fiction On-Line

"[Jackson's stories] have been instrumental in helping this publication uphold the literary aspect of its mission.." The Kudzu Monthly

Keywords: Writer, Writing

Other products and services from Tickled By Thunder


Chap Books (or Chapbooks

Now take a minute and think about this: When you pay for stamps and send your fiction or poetry off to a magazine just once, you may have already spent all the money that manuscript will ever earn. Tickled by Thunder offers chap books at a reasonable cost -- all designed, illustrated and proofed by the author AND our staff. Chances are, if you don't mind a little hassle, you may even get your money back in sales around your community..


Tickled by Thunder's Poet for Hire -- (Poet-4-Hire

Tell us who the poem is for, why you want it written, and anything else you can think of to help our poet compose your original poem. J ust fill out this form or print it out and include it with your payment. If you have a photo we can use.


Tickled by Thunder Rocky Mountain Muffins

M uffin recipes in this chap book are titled with main ingredients listed alphabetically, making it much easier and faster to find what you're looking for. H ow about 471 Muffin Recipes with countless variations?!. One recipe is titled: Onion Parmesan Spinach.


Tickled By Thunder Critique Service

Critiques include a written evaluation on character development, plot, settings, transition, marketability, suggestions for improvement and much more. Practical advice from a proven small press editor and former journalist / editor of the Similkameen Spotlight. C ritiques are completed by former journalist and now Tickled by Thunder editor. T ickled by Thunder offers critiques on your creative writing. FICTION CRITIQUE - Under 2000 Words.