By Diana Savage, director of the Northwest Christian Writers Renewal conference
When Ben Wolf was in seventh grade, he watched the 1995 action adventure film Congo on television. The movie was so bad, it inspired him to become a writer. He wrote a parody, set it in Australia instead of Africa, and featured murderous kangaroos instead of gorillas.
Since then he’s written six novels, including Blood for Blood, the story of a vampire who gets saved. That novel won the 2015 Oregon Christian Writers’ Cascade Award for best speculative fiction book.
In addition to writing novels and working as a professional editor, Ben founded Splickety Publishing Group to meet the needs of people who appreciate great fiction but don’t have a lot of time to read. “You can enjoy our stories, always 1,000 words or less, and get your flash fiction fix without the time commitment of a novel,” he says.
His publishing group, where he serves as editor-in-chief, produces three quarterly periodicals:
Splickety Prime features quality flash fiction in multiple genres including (but not limited to) action/adventure, suspense, mystery, thriller, contemporary, women’s, young adult, and historical fiction.
Havok features speculative flash fiction that includes (but isn’t limited to) science fiction, fantasy, steampunk, cyberpunk, paranormal, supernatural, horror, techno-thriller, superhero, and more.
Splickety Love features romance flash fiction, including (but not limited to) the genres of romance, romantic suspense, historical romance, paranormal romance, contemporary romance, inspirational romance, women’s fiction, and more.
Ben will be available to meet with writers at the 2016 Northwest Christian Writers Renewal and listen to their story pitches. He will also teach three workshops:
1) Writing Flash Fiction that Sells – As an expert on flash fiction, Ben will show you how to excel at plot, structure, conflict, character development, and more while condensing your story down to strict word requirements. Learn what it takes to write compelling flash fiction, why you should write it, and how doing so can help your career. You’ll leave with ideas for several different approaches to writing a great flash-fiction piece.
2) Make It Weird: Speculative and Alternate Genre Fiction – Perhaps you’ve heard the term “Speculative Fiction” before, but, like many people, you’re not sure what it means. Join award-winning spec fic author and editor Ben Wolf as he discusses the ins and outs of speculative and alternate genre fiction, including dissecting what makes a speculative fiction story great.
3) How to Write Believable Fight Scenes – Are you a fiction author, a screenwriter, or involved in a creative capacity in visual media? As a former professional stage combat instructor, Ben can teach you how to block out your fight scenes with another person for maximum believability. Discover how to write actual stage combat for screenplays and what you can and can’t do in fiction fight scenes. As a bonus for folks tired of sitting all day, this interactive class will get you out of your seat and into some fun-but-safe action.
We’ve learned that Ben’s decision to write was inspired by a bad movie. But what was his motivation to work as a freelance editor?
“I’ve been frustrated by improper grammar, misspellings, and punctuation errors since I learned the proper way to use the English language,” he explains. “That bitter resentment toward those who dare to impugn the honor of our glorious language has since combined with a significant amount of study on the craft of writing, and now I get paid to make sure my clients wield their words effectively.”
During editorial appointments at the Renewal, Ben will be looking for flash-fiction stories— concise, poignant fiction between 300 and 1,000 words—that fit one of the magazines’ scheduled upcoming themes. Each magazine will also feature one Nano-fiction story of 100 words or fewer in its Nano Corner.
“We want stories that hit fast and strike hard––stories that, no matter the genre, can cut through the day’s troubles and grip readers with short attention spans,” he says. At the conference, when he hears pitches for suitable stories, he will encourage authors to submit those stories for consideration.
Here’s what Splickety is not interested in seeing: previously published flash fiction; scenes or excerpts or synopses from novels; excessive violence, profanity, or erotica in any form; and no thinly-veiled stories that preach from a soapbox of any sort—political, religious, or other. Additional submission guidelines are available on Splickety’s website.
To attend Ben’s workshops or to schedule an appointment with him or one of our six other editorial reps at this year’s Renewal, register today!
Diana Savage, a graduate of Northwest University and Bakke Graduate University, sold her first article when she was still in college, and she’s been writing ever since. Now the principal at Savage Creative Services, LLC, she also directs the Northwest Christian Writers Renewal conference. She is the author of 52 Heart Lifters for Difficult Times and the coauthor—with Dr. Dennis E. Hensley—of the inspirational suspense novel Pseudonym.