Taipei Writer’s Group launches new anthology; Critics call it, “The most important book of our time.”

by Laurel Bucholz

        Voodoo doughnuts was hopping on the evening of Saturday, October 1st, as the Taipei Writer’s Group launched their newest creation, Twisted Fairy Tales, an anthology for adults. Lines wrapped around the block as fans of TWG waited with bated breath to get their hands on the book one critic proclaimed as, “the most important work of fiction since Kafka’s Metamorphosis.”

         Tensions were high as fans understood that there were only a limited number of books available, and some were even desperate enough to attempt violence to obtain a copy.

         CK Hugo Chung was the diva host of the evening, rivaling the likes of Angelina Jolie for top diva status as he modeled his fairy tale costume designed by Vera Wang.

         As the audience took their seats, Jenny, ‘J.J.’ Green was called to read an excerpt from her Carrie Hatchett novels, which prompted every audience member to get on their phones and order the series. Some even fainted as if she were a member of the Beatles. Thankfully no one was hurt.

          Unfortunately, anthology participant Laurel Bucholz tripped on her princess dress while approaching the stage and fellow writer L.L. Phelps was forced to cover her ass and read two story excerpts. The crowd was at their feet cheering at Ms. Phelps’ public speaking capabilities. She was certainly the hero of the evening.

          Hugo McGlinchey, Patrick Whalen, Brian Quentin Webb, and Emily Brooks’ readings were so successful, some fans had to be removed for trying to touch the writers, in hopes that some of their essence would rub off on them.

         Up next was writer Whitney Zahar who brought a special guest to accompany her story – a version of Sleepy Hollow. The audience gasped as Edgar Allan Poe walked in to do the sound effects on her reading. Literary members were more confused as to why Poe was there instead of Washington Irving, than they were seeing a ghost act as a foley artist.

          As the confusion settled, Brad Williams – who was the most beautiful woman in the room that night – walked up to the stage and gave a rousing sermon about the falsity of free will, to which the audience was confused and angered as they came for a book launch…

There was a moment when the audience became sad as CK Hugo announced that TWG anthology contributing writers Pat Woods, Erisa Apantaku, and Nick Vaky weren’t going to be able to make it. Short lived sadness was changed into elation as the trio of authors managed to be the first humans ever to use a teleportation device they had jointly invented together just to be at the event. The light from the floor beamed almost as bright as their personalities as each of them read their excepts from the anthology that another critic proclaimed, “Stephen King’s writing seems like a tenth grader’s compared to TWG’s  Twisted Fairy Tales – though he is only one man, and they had nine brilliant brains. Maybe that’s an unfair comparison? Nah, screw that – it’s fair.”

           Finally, as the excitement was winding down, it was time to give out TWG’s raffle prizes. Third prize was a box of calorie-free doughnuts that still tasted like the real thing – won by the talking squirrel named ‘Mr. Squeakers’, who also purchased four copies of the book.  Second prize was a beer – which was mistakenly drunk by an audience member when the establishment ran out of alcohol. First prize was a million NT dollars and a copy of the anthology. It was given to the Buddha, who showed up to the event disguised as a homeless man. He promptly donated the money to saving trees, and urged the crowd to support the anthology on Kindle. He was quoted as saying, “This book will certainly make all of humanity more compassionate and kind – it is a must read.”

If you weren’t able to make it to the event of the year, you can go to these sites to purchase our new anthology:

Create Space:


If you’re interested in joining TWG for their next meeting, check out the details at:


***Disclaimer: Nothing written in this article is true except for the part about there being an awesome book you can get from Amazon or create space called Twisted Fairy Tales, an anthology written for adults, and that there was a launch of the book at Voodoo Doughnuts on October 1st. TWG takes no responsibility for the accuracy or content contained in this article. Brad being the most beautiful woman in the room that night is subject to interpretation.


Comics, Part 1: Writing in Two Dimensions

A confession for my writing group friends: I tried my hand at prose in middle school, starting my own fantasy series with sword fights, strong women, and shamefully overwrought love stories. Eventually I realized that I would have to start writing political intrigue, this being a fantasy story, and the thought of writing political intrigue was distasteful enough for me to abandon the project altogether.

About the same time I stopped drawing swords, I started reading Scott McCloud’s Understanding Comics. With comics, I could tell stories, but I could tell them visually. Before you think your story would never work as a comic (or think that comics are just for superheroes), let’s look at some of the advantages to telling your story in two dimensions.

Point of View

Consider the problem of “head-hopping”, when an author constantly switches between different point-of-view characters. It’s very difficult to keep the distinctions between the characters clear enough for the reader to follow. In David Mazzucchelli’s Asterios Polyp, each character’s point of view is drawn in a different style, showing very literally how people “see the world” differently.

There is also the possibility of giving each character a distinct font to speak in, which help the reader keep track of complicated, even overlapping, conversations.

Quick! Set a scene!

Setting a scene in prose can be difficult, since you don’t want to spend too many words or too much momentum on it. A skilled writer can make the description interesting enough to hold the reader’s attention, or weave details throughout the story. Let’s take a look at how we could set a scene in, say, a pink, shining clockwork palace on Mars in a comic: (yes, a wallpaper site, I’m sorry.)

You’re on Mars! OK, that’s a silly example. And I am not trying to say that writing a beautiful passage is any easier or more difficult than drawing one. Look at those clockworks in there! This is taken from writer Alan Moore, artist Dave Gibbons, and colorist John Higgins’ Watchmen.

While big panel like this does function as a “pause” in a story, people can read images quickly.  The artist doesn’t have to waste panels or beats establishing the scene, and the reader can spend as much time staring at this panel as they like, and move on whenever they’re satisfied.

Especially fun is how an artist can put in details people know by sight but don’t necessarily have the vocabulary for. If you’re an architecture buff who loves writing about Gothic buildings but get frustrated at the average reader’s mental image of “Gothic,” an image can be as specific as you need it to be without spending words on it.


Changes in style, color, and framing accomplish complicated tasks like flashbacks with ease. Lucy Knisley’s autobiographical webcomic, Stop Paying Attention, is full of stories aobut her childhood and adolescence. In “Think Back,” I count three ways she draws flashbacks. The comic is very big, so I’ll use a link for this one.

How many flashback techniques did you find? I found these:

Panel 6: 22-year-old Lucy, with slightly shorter hair, stands in the same panel as 25-year-old Lucy.

Panels 11-13: The flashback panels recede inside each other, each receding memory drawn with lighter, washed-out lines.

Panel 15: Lucy sits on a bench with a transparent self in the same place, seven years earlier.

Check out Lucy’s other comics while you’re there!


Of all the image-word interactions in comics, my favorite is how the images can either support or hold a debate with the words.

Bill Watterson’s Calvin and Hobbes occasionally switches to a “serious” soap opera style, the joke being the splendid dissonance between the pictures and the words.

Sometimes the contrast is a bit more subtle. In Chris Ware’s Jimmy Corrigan, a sad story about two painfully shy men is set against the 1889 Chicago World’s Fair and the 1989…Michigan.

The story is a long series of awkward encounters and heartbreak, but the backgrounds are drawn in such gorgeous detail that the reader might decide that, despite everything, the world is still a beautiful place.

So what do you think? What tricks do prose and poetry have up their sleeves? What tricks in comics would you like to try?

Next week, the difficulties of comics! How do you “show, don’t tell” when comics are all about “show”…but don’t always have a lot of “tell” to back it up?