Allan J. Emerson

Allan Emerson's Blog

Great Leaps Forward--the stuff you skip...

June 30, 2015

Clara twisted feverishly in her bed as she attempted to escape the voices that chanted her name. She was running down a long hallway with doors that appeared open, but through which she could never pass. Behind her the voices grew louder, more threatening. She tried to scream, but no sound emerged. She felt the surface beneath her giving way, and then she was falling, fallingÖ

I made up the previous paragraph as a (bad) example of a dream description. Even if it were well done, Iíd likely never read about what poor Clara was running from, since I always skip dream sequences when Iím reading. (more…)

When fictional characters eat...

June 23, 2015

Sooner or later, even in the most fast-paced thriller, the characters have to stop and eat. Sometimes itís a gourmet meal described in loving detail, other times itís packaged convenience store stuff. I often think you can tell how much the writer enjoys food or cooking by the way the details are handled in these scenes. (more…)

Today is Guilty Pleasures Day: Stuff I canít resist reading Ö

June 16, 2015

My favorite headlines from supermarket tabloids:

1) Famed Psychicís Head Explodes
2) Baby Born with Wooden Leg
3) Talking House Cat Stuns Scientists
4) Titanic Survivor Found Clinging to Iceberg (more…)

Working: Earning a living vs writingÖ.

June 10, 2015

Did you ever figure out what you wanted to be when you grew up?

I never did. I knew I wanted to write, but it was clear that I wasnít going to make a living that way. That left the professions, which required going to university, and that didnít happen either. So I didnít choose a career; I got a job.

The first one was at a car wash, and it was as thrilling and richly remunerated as you can imagine. Then there was a stint as a waiter. That was marginally better; at least I wasnít in danger of being accidentally spray-waxed all day, but working nights and every weekend got old fast. (more…)


June 2, 2015

Have you ever known someone who doesnít read fiction? Not because they canít read, but because theyíre just not interested, or donít have time.

When I run into someone who says they donít read fiction, I have to fight the urge to try to convert them. I can feel the fervor rising in me as if I were an old-time street-corner preacher:

Brothers and sisters! Fiction expands your horizons, entertains you, fills idle or lonely moments, primes the pump of your creativity--hallelujah!--gives you an emotional experience you might never otherwise have. It makes you think and gives you a passion to share with othersóitíll heal you! Can I have an Amen!

Mostly though, I just smile and nod. (more…)

Short Story
Ellery Queen Mystery Magazine