the official website for the writings of
ralph robert moore

contents copyright © 1998-2016 by ralph robert moore, all rights reserved

Download Father Figure for free

My novel Father Figure, a bestseller for its publisher in trade paperback, is now available for free in PDF format. Click here to go to a page where you can download the complete text of the novel.

frequently asked questions

faq about sentence | faq about me | faq about my writings

I sincerely appreciate all the questions I get e-mailed.

Since some of the questions get repeated fairly often, I thought it might be a good idea to answer the more popular ones here, as well as a few of the less frequently-asked questions that might also tell you more about me and my writings.

If you have a question you'd like to ask me, please click on the button below.

frequently asked questions
about sentence

May I post one of your stories on my website?

Everything on SENTENCE is copyrighted, and cannot be used without permission.

You can include an excerpt from my writings on your website, or in a discussion group, or for review purposes (whether the review is favorable or unfavorable), or for any other purpose, provided you identify me as the author, include a link to SENTENCE, and the excerpt posted does not exceed ten percent of the complete work. There must also be no fee to access my excerpt. If your total quoting from a work would exceed ten percent, please contact me for permission to use a greater portion of a work.

Photographs of mine may be used on websites, CD covers, in magazines, etc., provided I give my express written permission, I'm identified as the author of the photograph, with a copyright notice in my name, and there's a link to SENTENCE.

frequently asked questions
about me

Can I get your autograph?/Can I get your autographed picture?

Unfortunately, I no longer provide autographed pictures. The autographed pictures I used to give out were taken with a film camera and printed on film stock. Nowadays, given the digital revolution in photography, it's just too time-consuming trying to find a place that still makes copies from film negatives. Sorry.

I no longer mail my autograph to overseas addresses. It just takes up too much time waiting in line at a local post office. If you reside in the United States and would like my autograph, please send me a request in an e-mail, and include your full name and the full address of where the autograph is to be sent. I will pay the postage to send the autograph to you. All autographs are on heavy stock paper. I apologize to overseas readers. Mary and I only go out once or twice a month now, and we have so many errands to run by then, standing in line for half an hour at the post office just takes up too much time. This same restriction also applies to autographed book plates. I'm truly sorry. I look forward to the day when all of us, across the globe, use the same stamps.

Will you speak to our creative writing class? Are you available for speeches?

It's not possible for me to honor these requests. Sorry.

May I interview you?

You may interview me if there is a reasonable chance the interview will appear in print or on the Web, or if you are interviewing me for a paper you're writing. Interviews are by e-mail. If you wish to do a telephone interview, please contact me by e-mail.

I have a story I'd like to tell. Would you be interested in authoring it?/Would you collaborate on a book with me?/Would you do an English version of my novel?/Would you consider ghostwriting my life story?

Respectfully, I don't have enough time to write my own ideas, much less someone else's. I appreciate the offer. I wish you the best with your project.

frequently asked questions
about my writings

There's something obviously going on beneath the surface [in a specifically-named story of mine], but I don't get it. Help!

I think a writer does a disservice to his or her readers explaining a story. The clues are all there. You just haven't found them yet. There can be an exciting moment in the rereading of a story when its true meaning suddenly becomes discernable, and all at once, rereading paragraphs, you see shapes emerging you never knew were there. I wouldn't want to deny you that moment.

Why is there so much violence/sex in your stories? How do you justify it?

I write what's in my mind. What I write doesn't need to be justified.

What are your writing habits?/How many words do you write a day?/Do you use drugs while writing?/How much do you write in a year?/How much do you edit?

I write mostly in the early morning and in the evening. I seem to be most in the mood to write when the nearby window is pink or black, rather than yellow.

My writing output varies. When I wrote As Dead As Me in early 2001, I turned out about 2,000-3,000 words a day, almost none of which had to be edited. That's a lot for me (I can sometimes spend an evening going over and over the same half page). The writing went so well it was almost as if the keys of the keyboard kept depressing, advancing the story, even as I lifted my hands off to light a fresh cigarette.

I always use nicotine while I write, and when I'm writing in the evenings, some alcohol, and on the weekends, caffeine. As an experiment, I tried writing drunk, and I tried writing high. The results each time were a mess. I smoked a joint once and sat down to work on a story called Reflections of a Model. At the end of the evening I had five pages, heavily crossed-through and written over, meticulously describing someone's hairstyle. It gave me a good laugh the next day, but it was otherwise worthless.

How much I write in a year varies tremendously. I started off 2001 by writing a novel, the afore-mentioned As Dead As Me, which came in at 85,000 words. Whenever I finish a novel, I tend to not write any fiction for a while. For the remainder of the year I only wrote about four stories. I also wrote several essays, and about 90,000 words for Lately columns. Usually, I don't write a story until I have at least the opening sentence in my mind, the closing sentence, and much of what is in between. I've found that the hardest part of any story or novel is the middle. A writer's greatest courage is to jump off an opening sentence and believe that somewhere, in the buffeting fall, inspiration will rise up to lift the artificial wings of the plot aloft. It's always worked for me, but it's always scary. Normally, as I write, new ideas come to me, which I scrawl on a turned upside-down legal pad, so I can easily tear off the inspiration. These long strips of curled paper form the story, much like, wetted with flour, they could be used to create a paper-mache sculpture.

I edit a great deal. I've never published, submitted or posted anything that hasn't been reread and changed by me at least several times. It's in the editing that a good story can become a great story.

In your stories, it's often very difficult to tell how you yourself feel about what's going on. For instance, in your story Big Inches, do you approve of what's being done to Pottah? Disapprove? It's impossible to tell. Most writers would tell us.

The reader has to decide on their own. I don't like writings where the reader is directed from one moral judgment to the other by the hand swingings of the writer's flashlight. I prefer to withdraw from any overt moral judgment about my characters, hoping they're written well enough to where the reader can figure out on their own what to think of them, much like they have to do in real life.

I've noticed you rarely use interior monologues in your stories. Why not? A lot can be revealed about a character if the writer lets us into his or her character's mind.

Interior monologues are the worse form of 'telling' rather than 'showing'.

I've read lots of fictions in which massive chunks of stream-of-consciousness have been dumped into a narrative, impeding the flow. If we get an occasional glimpse into a character's mental workings that's fine, but too many writers have used this device lazily, to avoid the proper setting-up of a scene where the reader must watch and listen in order to learn. To me as a reader, it's far more involving to have to discern a character's state of mind based on their actions, and what they do, and don't, say.

Why do you use the word 'cunt' so much to describe the female sex organ? Many people, especially women, find that term offensive. Alternative terms are available.

One of the most exciting subjects to write about is sex, not because of the subject itself, but because it's usually so poorly done, or over-done. Sex and humor are both dangerous additions to a narrative, because both tend to be not edited as severely as other passages.

I dislike euphemisms when it comes to sex. His 'ramming avenger', her 'tunnel of love', etc., are so corny they drip butter. When we speak of any other part of the body we say 'elbow' or 'back'. Why be any different when it comes to the sexual parts of our body? Too often, we get a narrative that's grittily realistic but suddenly, once the white sheets are pulled down, floats up into euphemism, like a purple balloon filled with hot air.

When I write a sex scene, I prefer to write it very plainly, describing positions and emotions, using common terms. The more common the term, the better. You mention available 'alternative terms'. I suppose you mean 'twat', 'vagina', 'pussy', etc. 'Twat' to me is negative towards women. There's a putdown between the t's. 'Vagina' should only be used when there's a pathology. 'Pussy' is far too friendly a term. It sounds like something you buy on a stick. 'Cunt' to me better conveys the mystery and capriciousness of a woman's sexual organ. I would like to rehabilitate the term 'cunt'. I've been pleased to notice that in recent years many feminists have also started using the more honest term, 'cunt', in lieu of the available variations.

How do you classify yourself as a writer? Are you a horror writer? Literary writer? Erotica writer? Experimental writer? Your work seems to cross boundries without regard to specific conventions.

My interest has always been in writing genre stories, whatever the genre, because genre stories have such a rich tradition of rules, which can easily be broken. It's in the breaking that something new and truthful might emerge.

I think your favorite words are 'white', 'dark', and 'wonderful'. Would you agree?

That's probably true, although I'd put 'wet' near the top too. My favorite alliteration, when it's the initial sound of a word, is the 'w' sound, which three of those four words have.