Bob Gillen

I write short fiction

Mannequin Monday – Let His Characters Speak

Mannequin Monday – Let His Characters Speak

Two mannequins behind a store window
Credit: Sempere Mannequins

A defining characteristic of Ernest Hemingway’s writing style: “His decision to let his characters speak.” So says writer Justin Rice on Hemingway’s use of dialogue.

This week I also look at Elmore Leonard. He writes dialogue rich in action and light on description.

And I offer another sample of my own writing, my own attempt at writing decent dialogue.

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Mannequin Monday – Come See Where I Live

Mannequin Monday – Come See Where I Live

Robert Frost once said about writing: “a poem is never a put-up job—it begins as a lump in the throat, a sense of wrong, a homesickness, a lovesickness.” Mannequin Monday this week looks at the brokenness at the heart of any impactful poem or story.

I include a sample from my upcoming book Surfrider, the second in the Film Crew series.

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Mannequin Monday – It’s Just as Well

Mannequin Monday – It’s Just as Well

“Show us a world we’ve never seen before.” A sense of place in writing. Not simply setting. A place. A world. Almost a character in itself. This Mannequin Monday finds us working on creating worlds with our words. I visit one of Louise Penny’s novels, The Long Way Home, for descriptors of a unique world.

I include a piece of my own writing. “The Rain is a Thief.” A short story of tragedy – and release – set in a black night of rain.

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Mannequin Monday – I’ve never felt any magic before

Mannequin Monday – I’ve never felt any magic before

image of mannequin hand with broken index finger

A tiny yellow flower in a sidewalk crack brings hope to a boy and an old man. The story “City of Silence” comes from Teen Ink to open another week of Mannequin Monday. In the ashes of a devastated city, “one day there will be life and love and laughter again.”

A joy-filled story of hope rising out of the ashes. Today we dress the blank form with a flower, with hope.

And – Cabe Wray walks away from his lucrative sales job to follow his obsessive search for his long-lost twin sister. I offer chapter one of my novel Apart for your reading enjoyment.

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Mannequin Monday – Who Tells Your Story

Mannequin Monday – Who Tells Your Story

Once again, creating the word on Mannequin Monday. This week, Africa-based fantasy fiction, with Nnedi Okorafor sharing her stories and her journey.

And viewing Hamilton this weekend got me thinking about some of the show’s lyrics. George Washington sings of Alexander Hamilton, “You have no control who lives, who dies, who tells your story”.

To close, I offer my own story, “The Kiss.” You have no control after a word is spoken.

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Mannequin Monday – Sit Quietly in a Room Alone

Mannequin Monday – Sit Quietly in a Room Alone

Monday rolls around again. I dress the bare mannequin with words I found from novelist Louise Penny. I’m re-reading How the Light Gets In. Also, I again take inspiration from Austin Kleon, who quotes Blasé Pascal: All of humanity’s problems stem from man’s inability to sit quietly in a room alone.

And for my own current writing, I add my short story, The Marsh. Jack and Dyann sit in a boat talking about death…and life.

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Mannequin Monday – I Never Liked You

Mannequin Monday – I Never Liked You

Post #19 for Mannequin Monday. Join me as I dress the blank page. As I highlight others who drape the blank form with their words.

Today, a short story I like from Alex Kidman, titled The Beach. “Behind me, I could hear the noise of another bottle being opened and the bubbles of laughter I just had to get away from.”

And my story Remember Me. All about a breakup video a woman posts on YouTube. “I never liked you, Chase.”

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