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M. J. Milner writing contest
Tweets by M. J. Milner
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Author Interview

M. J. Milner

You can see the story of my life in my face. I'm of the opinion that the writing must carry its own weight regardless of my story- or anyone else's. This story has taken on an odd, nice life of its own. I know I'm up against Generation C and the social network they have at their command. Who doesn't love an under dog? There are a number of ways to take the internal action that develops in this story. I love the reviews and comments- is the character changing or reverting? Over the past month many readers have responded to my story in a positive way. I hope the story of a person's economic struggles and their resolution ring true. I do enjoy hearing from readers! My story has steadily risen in this contest. Humbly I have to thank each of these voters. I appreciate your help. The you tube video I have posted on this page was based on a song I Co-Wrote with the performer Fermionic. "Make Money:Listen" like my short story "But Wait, There's More" is fiction based on knowledge of the stock market. Jane Wells, of CNBC reviewed the song in a blog titled "Dominican Contango". I believe each piece of writing should stand on its own merits. Who wrote it or any other information is irrelevant. I would greatly appreciate an honest review! I spent a lot of time crafting this story- I wrote it for you. I need your continued support! Thank you all so much. I write from time to time. I read ALL the time. I appreciate the feedback and would love it if you reviewed this story!

Story: But Wait ,There's More...


Each week authors will be given a new question to answer which will lend additional insight into their story and writing process. Do you have a question you'd like to see the authors answer? Tweet it to @aNextAuthor!

What is the best writing advice you've ever heard?
"The first 250,000 words you write are about finding your voice." All writers hide from their very creative core, they dance around themselves- write as close as you can to your very center and your words will ring true.
When you start a new story do you prepare an outline in advance or do you just jump right in?
I jump in and after the first three drafts write the outline and then check the story for all kinds of continuity. If I am willing to believe the story I then let it write itself
How do you deal with writing criticism, apart from just ignoring it?
I never ignore any criticism. Even the rude or the skimmers. I don't write for myself but I write of the readers- ALL of them. Any response can be useful.
America's Next Author has been running for almost 8 weeks. If you could re-submit now, would you change anything about your story?
I would put in just a smidge more of humor. Its nice to know that your writing has made someone laugh or the word play has caught them off guard and for a brief minute you directly connected. :-)


J.R. Verwey

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This story resonates with me. I've been there. A good rags to riches tale. Methinks there is a bit of truth to it?

Margaret Alice

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Your writing is very intriguing. Everything seems deliberate and well thought out. I like that can see that you're invested in your story; where some of the other stories I've come across here seem too thrown together. Great job! Could you please take the time to read my story, "The Fate Continuum?" Good luck!

Kat N

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This is a compelling, well-written story. The main character's riches to rags to riches wave riding is conveyed in such a way that it touches a nerve. For anyone who has ever lost anything of value, this story will resonate. Thank you for sharing this piece.

Colleen Raymond

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I read your story because of all things, I found your "tweets" to be intriguing. I can tell from your writing style (which I found to be pretty unique) that you are really well-read, and your writing is so intelligent. It's an incredibly respectable story. The anguish of your main character was palpable, and I found myself rooting him on. As far as criticism, I would say that some of the paragraphs are a little too convoluted and suffer from over-writing. Overall, your word play was kind of delightful. I enjoyed it.

Lisa Rose

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If you only have one slice of bread and a fishing pole, do you use the bread for bait or do you eat it? If you use it for bait you might catch something even beter or you might go hungry. That is the choice the character in your story had to make and I liked it. If you have the time please read my story 'Drift Away' and leavea a review to let me know if you liked it.

Susan Gale Wickes

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This was an interesting read. It creatively shows the lengths some people will go to when it comes to personal survival in a bad economy. I especially liked the disclaimer on the author page. Well done.


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Hi Marty- I've been poking around the contest since the beginning and decided to give yours a read. It's quite literary in its choice of language and description. But it feels like it was written for you, almost like you were venting, and you forgot about your readers. I had to laugh to myself and wondered if the menial job was with FEDEX. Your description of the job and the surroundings sounded mighty familiar. But truly, your story isn't very reader friendly. It's loaded with flowery language and tons of exposition but there isn't much of a plot or action- something to hook the reader and entice them to keep turning the pages. After enjoying the first five or six descriptive paragraphs, I found myself speed reading through entire middle of the story because nothing of interest happens. Then something does happen at the end, but you've already lost me (the reader). You need plot, pacing, action, dialog, exposition, crisis, theme, storyline, resolve (and a few I'm probably forgetting) to engage a mass audience. If you place too much weight on just a couple of these elements you've lost your reader's attention.

Pixie # 3

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The first part of the story read in my mind like a colorless futuristic movie, like "Soilent Green, Mad Max" etc. It was my life and a hurtful reminder of what my life has become. But life is what you make it and theres always a light at the end of that tunnel. Makes you want to get up and do something about it. But really - this character couldn't spend $500 on a laptop?

Rose Burke

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I love the descriptions in this piece, they're so creative and fresh. This character was easy for me to connect with, and he gives hope to the idea of never giving up. I got lost a bit when he was buying stocks, but I was still able to understand what direction the story was going in. Overall, a great read! If you get a chance, check out my story This Girl and a Bartender. Thanks!

Summer Beth

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It was a little hard for me to get into this story as I don't know much about stocks, but good read. I think many people can relate to your story. Well done.

Ricky Fermin

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This is an Amzing story! as soon as I read the first a piece of it, I was hooked! I can relate to this story and I'm sure a lot of people out there can too. Great work MJ! I can't wait to read more of your work. The world needs to read this as well, this is awesome bro!


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This story has a lot of promise; the voice is very strong and the metaphors are good--I love the silver minnows. In my opinion a stronger title would be "Time Decay," which is used as trader jargon and also evokes the almost total deterioration of the narrator. I would prune out all the passive-voice sentences except when THE SYSTEM is wreaking its havoc upon the narrator, because that is truly passive. Also, the ending needs to have a tangible symbol of recovery--perhaps some better sandwich than crusty pb & j, perhaps the narrator putting his feet up for the first time in months, you get the drift. The actual money amount is too abstract to evoke the total change of heart that recovering from a catastrophic fall causes. The story would be best at about 5/8 its length, but it's a great rough draft. (I'm sorry this is so editorial, but I'm an editor!)


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The first half is an apropos commentary on the state of financial affairs in the developed world right now. While the story is partly tragic, it also makes me want to find the courage to improve my future- maybe it's never too late if you're clever enough.

Library Reader

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Was at the Library checking my email and a friend sent me the link to this story. I had no idea anyone had put a story about this topic up. More than a little bit freaky. I'm going to print it out later and save it as a souvenir of these times. Glad I read it but it was a little too close to home...

Hard Edge

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Saw the tweet on line-thought I'd give it a browse. I was delighted to find a story with character development, plot line and a sense of writing voice. Obviously the author spends a lot of time doing things other than writing fiction but I learned a few new things from this story. Browsed a few of the others but this one was worth finishing. I reread parts of it as well and wrote down a few notes.. didn't expect to find something this good -out of the blue. Keep writing- interesting voice.


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The American Dream isn't over.


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Ralph Ellison meets Dostoyevsky meets Kafka. This is Ralph Ellison's invisible man within Dostoyevsky's "Notes from the Underground. Milner's narrator lives and breathes in the existential of Kafka. Milner is an author who gives voice to the hundreds of thousands of disenfranchised Americans whose terrible bankruptcy gives rise to heroic struggle. Here is a fresh, raw voice that risks sentimentality but never crosses its line. It is both a brave and authentic voice that slings heartbroken arrows across our land of opportunity.


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Interesting read, though maybe you are more of a writer of longer form stories?


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Excellent story- a very fast read. Pulls you right in...

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December 18th, 2012
The winner of America's Next Author 2012 has been announced! [...]
December 7th, 2012
Questions and answers about the Battle Round. [...]
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#ANA2012 | What Fans Have To Say


America's Next Author is the first social writing contest. Friends, family, fans and publishing industry experts will read authors' submissions and nominate their favorite to be America's next major author. Everyone can participate!