February 20, 2015

Lessons for Beginning Novelists: To Outline or Not

This is the second of three posts offering help to beginning novelists Writing can be like falling in love. It’s on your mind day and night, and you can’t wait to sit down at your computer and type out the next scene. For many beginners the problem comes in when you “hit the wall” which can lead to writer’s block and result in your story never being published. The phrase “hit the wall” comes from running. Anyone who’s ever run cross-country knows the feeling. As the race begins, you feel excited and energetic, and you may start out too fast. Suddenly, however, you feel out of breath and can barely move your legs. That’s the proverbial wall. Runners learn how […]
January 8, 2015

House Divided Preview Available

House Divided, my 90,000-word thriller, will not be available until February 2nd, but you can preview the book and read the first three chapters at https://www.createspace.com/Preview/1162232. Then, if you own a Kindle or read books on your PC or iPad using the Kindle app, you can pre-order a copy of House Divided at http://www.amazon.com/House-Divided-Peter-Pollak-ebook/dp/B00R3SQEQQ/. What My Editor Said About House Divided Here’s what the woman who did the final edit on House Divided wrote after she’d finished the book: “I must say that you tell one terrific story. I really enjoyed reading it. Your use of dialogue to tell the majority of the story still amazes me. You also did a great job with characterization, plot, the outcome, and the […]
December 21, 2014

Press Release introducing House Divided, my forthcoming thriller

ELKRIDGE, MD – December 17, 2014 – House Divided, Peter G. Pollak’s 88,000-word fifth thriller, is now available for pre-order purchase on Amazon.com. Although fiction, this novel paints a very real picture of the devastating impact that the Palestinian-Israeli war could bring to America’s shores. “House Divided depicts my genuine concern about terrorists using naïve young people to achieve their goal of destroying Israel,” said Pollak. “It also shows how families can be torn asunder in a world where truth can be hard to come by.” House Divided will become available in print and e-book format February 2, 2015. About the Novel In House Divided, Alison and Leonard Robbins disagree about how big a mistake their  college student daughter is […]
December 1, 2014

The story of a story yearning to be free

Fact: It is taking me as long if not longer to revise my forthcoming novel, House Divided, than it did to write the first draft. Here’s why. The focus in writing a first draft is the story. When I finish a draft and pull the cork out of my favorite Cabernet, I’m very happy, but I don’t have something I would show even my most faithful reader. That first draft is full of grammatical, spelling, syntax and other errors, including typos, bad word choices, repetition, dull exposition, and disjointed dialogue. Yet, in the midst of all that, exists a story yearning to be free. During the first round of revisions I’m still focused on the story. This is when I […]
September 21, 2014

Reviews of Cherryth’s “Angel with the Sword” & McKillip’s “Winter Rose”

C.J. Cherryth, Angel with the Sword (1985) Caroline Janice Cherryth is an award winning science fiction/fantasy novelist whose oeuvre exceeds sixty books, including Hugo winners Downbelow Station (1981) and Cyteen (1988). Angel with the Sword is the initial book in the Merovingen Nights series to which other authors contributed. The setting is a fascinating city modeled somewhat on Vencie as it consists of Islands connected by canals and bridges. It is also a city dominated by class. The higher you live from the water, the wealthier and more powerful you are. The story is about Altair Jones, a 17-year old young canal rat whose life changes dramatically the day she rescues a man who is thrown into the river next […]
May 10, 2014

A Review of Jane Smiley’s 13 Ways of Looking at the Novel

13 Ways is three books in one. The first nine chapters offer a unique discussion of the the novel form referencing novels from “The Tale of Genji” (written in 11th century Japan) to the end of the 20th century. Part two contains three chapters targeted to would-be novelists and the third part of the book consists of short reviews of 101 novels. I highly recommend parts 1 and 3 to students of the novel and to novelists of the would-be and already-are mold. As someone who took lit courses as electives at Oberlin and the University at Albany during my student days and who has read relatively widely ever since, I still found chapters as “What is a Novel?” “The […]