The Ripcot Fiction Factory

Q: What is it?
A: It is an ultra-low cost, pay-as-you go manuscript mentoring service working one on one with the internationally published, and ever-so-odd, Bosley Gravel.

Q: Who is Bosley Gravel and what does he know about fiction?
A: Okay, okay, finesssh, this is a secret: Bosley Gravel is the alter ego of George Brehm, who does very boring things with computers somewhere in north New Mexico. That's me, one and the same. I've been writing fiction since circa 1990 and I've been regularly publishing since 2006 (I took a decade to hone my craft and to start a family and get some real life suffering. Despite having been accused of being a horror writer, my bibliography is actually quite diverse. I've published in nearly every genre, and crossed over many genres. I read broadly, enjoy visual art, film and music–in short I pull inspiration from (pop) culture. I do not have only one spring I return to. I am a fan of the Hero's Journey school of storytelling, but I also believe in innovation and experimental forms of writing, such as cut-ups, bizarro, and the nameless and infinite variations of word stew we authors sometimes create.

Q: What does ultra-low cost mean?
A: About $10. Here's the ground rules–nothing over 2000 words (soft limit); I reserve the right to refuse service to anyone, anytime for any reason. Sorry, that's the way it is, folks. If $10 is not in your budget, pay what you want. (Or just commit a random act of kindness and post it to my Facebook wall.)  Fees are a sliding scale based on the length of your manuscript, the depth of the critique. Fiction is funky voodoo, there is no way for me to guess how much I can help you without just doing it. I'll accept Amazon wishlist purchases. I will let you decide the value of what I provide. Including if you believe it to be worthless advice.

Q: Okay, I'm listening. That does sound affordable! But what do I get for my hard earned cash?
A: A critique, specifically addressing structure, failures and errors in plot, mark up of gross mistakes in grammar and punctuation, but NOT final proof line editing. You need to learn to do that yourself. On occasion, I will rewrite sentences that are awkward as an example of what I would do. That sort of thing is meant as an example. Multiple exchanges of polishing would be considered 'workshopping' and I would simply love it if you'd respect that and drop me another few bucks. In addition, I will do some brief market research for markets that might be a good fit (two or three). Money: Whatever you can afford is fine. As stated I reserve the right to refuse service and cut off communication, this most definitely includes the context of being taken advantage of. Sorry, life is hard. Suck it up, cowboy/cowgirl. Here is an example of some stages of my own work on Rattlebone

Q:Why are you doing this for so little monetary gain when competing services go for $1 a page, $45 an hour, and even more. Are you some kind of hack or something?
A: I enjoy helping new and emerging authors. I worked very hard for years to develop skills and I did not do that alone. I am keeping the prices ultra-low to keep the service accessible to new/young authors.  And yes, I am some kind of hack; I do not believe that there is any difference between Charles Dickens and Stan Lee. People want stories, and I think there are only two kinds of stories that exist: stories that work and stories that don't.

Q: How do I know you won't steal my story?
A: Oh, hush your mouth!  If you think I might, go away. Seriously.

Q: How would we interact?
A: Short answer: Any way you want. I run an 'invite only' exclusive forum; I am familiar with just about every method of exchanging documents. That's your call. You'll have access via email, IM, Facebook, Google Docs, or Skype ... it really doesn't matter to me. (I do have some methods I've developed over the years that seem to work pretty well.)  I do not care much for MS Office and strongly suggest See here for what I actually do. (You probably don't want to do this.)  I also wrote some scripts that can convert certain simply marked up manuscripts into to standard format for submission. Be generous and I might do that for you.

Q: What about poems and non-fiction or a chapter from a novel?
A: Short answer is, just pitch it to me, whatever it is; if I feel like I can help, I will.  My focus is storytelling; however poetry, essays and articles often depend on story arcs, so perhaps I can help, perhaps not.  Your risk is minimal. 

Q: Any caveats I should know about, CYA language you just have to add to cover yourself?
A: Oh, yes, plenty: First of all, I run a site called "The Cavalcade of Terror," my fiction factory clients are ineligible to submit stories I've worked on. Sorry, this is what legal eagles call a conflict of interest. On rare, and very rare occasions, indeed and please don't ask because then you will just make it weird if I fall madly in love with a story I may offer to pay you for it and not the other way around. However, if you do publish elsewhere I will link to the published copy on the third party site via CoT.

All clients' should be over eighteen years old and they should be willing to send a check or use Paypal. Clients should not be jerks; hearing something negative about one's writing can cause some prickly behavior. Don't do that; or if you do, understand you risk an immediate termination of our working relationship. There is no contract; this is all spit and handshake stuff (and trust me, I have awesome magic super happy spit). Clients names will be confidential. Clients are welcome to informally mention my pen name in association with the story, but under no circumstances should I be listed directly on the publication or manuscript as a contributor, editor, or co-author.
This is MENTORING; there is no guarantee of any particular result. It is meant to help you learn; perhaps your story will never be published. It's meant to be fun, it's meant to inspire and stir up your creativity and help you work through the process. Please make sure you are ready to hear the truth. I know the right language to use to keep you from running off like a jilted Disney princess, but be prepared to hear the bad along with the good. If you want your ego stroked, then your mom, your significant other or your BFF is probably your best choice.  Not me.

Q: This sounds just like what I'm looking for–how do I get started?
A: Email me with a brief outline of your project (couple hundred words or less), I will either ACCEPT, REJECT or ACCEPT with a queue number and an estimate of time it might take to start. I will only accept three active projects at a time to keep response times snappy. Put "Fiction Factory" in the subject line and the working title of your story in all correspondence. Don't worry about payment until we are done or reach a set milestone we've agreed on.  By you pitching the project and me accepting it you are agreeing to the rather loose and informal terms found on this page.

Q: I want to self-publish, can you help?
A: In the scope of what I've described, yes. If you want to go the distance, you'll need a line editor, cover artist and marketing advice. Self-publishing, for most people, does not mean you'll do it all yourself. Be prepared to pay experts real money if you want to compete. I've been networking with creative types for years, and can probably find you the resources you need.

* * *

Bosley Gravel, eclectic hack writer, was born in the Midwest, and came of age in Texas and southern New Mexico. He writes in a variety of genres. His fiction focuses on the absurdly tragic, and the tragically absurd. He likes good black coffee, nightmares, Billie Holiday, and that hour just before the sun comes up.

Questions? Email me at

* * *

Ripcot Fiction Factory

  Last updated: 4/13/2014