When I heard the news of LitReactor Co-Founder Kirk Clawes passing away, it really floored me. It totally caught me off guard, as death often does. I held up the pottery of his I had sitting on my desk, admiring his ability—the art, the vision, the craft. It got me thinking about my own work, my own life, as I am about to turn 50 (and will have when this column comes out). When Kirk talked about his pottery—the artwork he spun out of clay—his eyes lit up.
Today I’m going to be talking about how to establish the length of your story, and while I’ll be focusing on horror, you can probably apply all of my comments to any genre. Sometimes the story decides what it wants to be, but for now, let’s pretend like we’re in control. One of the first things I look at when trying to figure out how long my story will be is the depth of plot. If you’re going to write a novel, there had better be a lot of details—the internal and external conflicts fully developed.
Wander your local graveyard after dark. Sit near the most decorative mausoleum you can find. Or the oldest one. Perhaps the most ornate. Talk to the resident of that tomb, and ask it questions. Offer it forgiveness. Say you’ll keep its secrets. Leave a flower, or maybe spill a bit of wine into the earth. Sprinkle breadcrumbs around the edges of the tombstone. Recite incantations to the moon. Light a stick of incense, or a candle, and close your eyes.
Muck Rack makes it simple to find people, tweets, or articles that mention any name, keyword, company, hashtag etc. We've compiled this guide to help you make the most of your search.
Selecting a term
Start searching tweets, articles from media outlets, articles mentioned in tweets, journalists'
names, titles and bios with some suggested searches:
Companies or Topics (e.g. iPhone, Microsoft)
Phrases (e.g. "cloud computing") — use quotes to keep the terms together
Twitter handles (e.g. @username) — returns those who have mentioned or replied to
Names (e.g. "David Pogue")
Hashtags (e.g. #sxsw, #london2012)
Bio details (e.g. vegan, Olympics, father)
Muck Rack's Advanced Search allows for many boolean operators.
Find results that mention multiple specified terms, use AND or
+. For example, ensure each result contains both Elon Musk and Mark Zuckerberg by
searching Musk AND Zuckerberg or Musk + Zuckerberg.
Use the operators OR or , to broaden your search when you'd like either of
multiple terms to appear in results. (This is the default behavior of our search when no operators
are used). For example, results will contain either cake or cookie by searching cake OR cookie or cake,cookie
Use NOT or - to subtract results from your search. For
example, searching Disney will yield results about the Walt Disney Company as well as Walt Disney
World Resort. To exclude mentions of Disney World, search for Disney -World or Disney
When using one of these operators with a phrase, enclose it in quotation marks. For example, you can
find results about smartphones excluding Apple's iPhone 4S by searching smartphone -"iPhone
Exact case matching or punctuation
If you're searching for a brand name or keyword that relies on specific punctuation marks or capitalization, you can
find results that match your exact query by adding matchcase: before the keyword you're searching for, like matchcase:E*TRADE .
Use parentheses to separate multiple
boolean phrases. For example, to find journalists talking about having fun in Disney World or
Disneyland, search for ("disney world" OR disneyland) AND fun.
An asterisk can be used to search for any variation of a root word truncated by the asterisk. For example, searching for admin* will return results for administrator, administration, administer, administered, etc.
A near operator is an AND operator where you can control the distance between the words. You can vary the distance the near operation uses by adding a forward slash and number (between 0-99) such as strawberries NEAR/10 "whipped cream", which means the strawberries must exist within 10 words of "whipped cream".