Risingshadow has the honour of publishing an article by Duncan McGeary.

Duncan McGeary's Wild Pig Apocalypse series (Tuskers, Tuskers II: Day of the Long Pig and Tuskers III: The Omnivore Wars) is published by Ragnarok Publications.

He recently self published The Manic Pixie Dream Girl Murders: Blood of the Succubus (February 2016).

Click here to visit his official website.

Click here to visit his official blog.


Here's a scene I've seen played out in many a movie or TV show.

The beginning writer cloisters himself (or herself), typing away, while the worried significant other waits anxiously. Finally he emerges with a clutch of paper in his hands and give it to her, nearly trembling in anticipation.

She goes off and starts reading while he paces the floor nervously. Birds chirp, the sun goes down, the sun goes up, more birds chirp...you know, time passes.

Finally, she comes to him, straight-faced, giving no clue to what she's thinking.

He is crestfallen, certain she hates it.

Her eyes fill with tears, "It's wonderful," she says.

I love that fantasy. My wife is at this moment reading the last 25 pages of my newest book, The Darkness You Fear: Ghosts of the Lost Blue Bucket Mine. I'd love it if she looked up at me with tears in her eyes and said, "It's wonderful."

Instead, when I sneaked a look around the corner, I caught her scribbling something in the margins.

What? She found something wrong?

The immaculately inspired manuscript is a lovely fantasy, but I doubt it has ever happened in the history of the world.

First of all, if the first thing he/she says is "It's wonderful," take the manuscript back, say "Thank you, dear" and then go and find someone who will really critique it.

Secondly, the chances of the first thing you write being "wonderful" or even very good are slim to none. Mostly likely it will be...how do I phrase this delicately?

It will most likely be a piece of crap.

I don't care if you're a talented genius, you are going to need to learn how to do it. In what other activity would we expect the apprentice to become the master without learning?

"Hey, I know how to toss a baseball and I can swing a bat! I think I'll go try out for the Yankees!"

I've seen this happened dozens of times at writer's group. A new writer reads his manuscript. He not only doesn't expect criticism, in his heart of hearts he wants us to say, "My God! You're the next Hemingway!"

Never happens that way. Sometimes it's pretty good, but if it's a first effort it probably still needs work.

Most often, it isn't that good.

So the writer can leave in a huff, assuming I guess that he really is a genius and those of us who dared to criticize him just don't recognize it. This actually happens a lot. I'm not sure whatever happens to them, but as far as I know none of them have popped up later as best-selling authors.

Or he can take the criticism to heart, go back and try again...and again...and again. In fact, of the published authors in our group over the years, there was one common characteristic. The writer went off after that first critique and came back two weeks later with something that was ten times better.

I still love that fantasy of the tearful wife saying, "It's wonderful."

I'm still hoping that in about half an hour Linda will hand me back those 25 pages and say, "You're the next Hemingway."

But I'll be very grateful and happy if she points out a few problems and gives me a few suggestions on how to improve.

That's real love.

About the author:

I've lived in Bend, OR, my whole life (which is becoming increasingly rare in this boom town.) After graduating from the U of O in the '80s, I wrote the fantasy novels Star Axe, Snowcastles and Icetowers. While trying to write full time, I started filling in at a local book/comic book store called Pegasus Books and eventually became manager—then 30 years ago, I bought the store from Mike Richardson, who is now the publisher of Dark Horse Comics.

In the last few years, Pegasus Books has become stable and I've returned to writing like crazy. I sold a four-book deal to Books of the Dead Press, followed by another trilogy, The Vampire Evolution, which consists of Death of An Immortal, Rule of Vampire, and Blood of Gold.

I've been very busy with several other books in the works, and I'm proud to have sold my Wild Pig Apocalypse, Tuskers, to Ragnarok. I hope you guys will check out all my books, as I try to make them entertaining, fast reads.

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