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Author: Guest Author

Reaching Out: Endings of Joy Williams

By Elizabeth Mayer Death and loss and decay pervade the stories of Joy Williams’s collection Escapes. If a character is not facing the immediacy of their own death, often they are mourning the loss of someone close to them. Yet…

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Artifacts: On Revising Older Stories

By Laura Rock Gaughan Faced with the happy prospect of preparing Motherish, my short story collection and first book, for publication, I panicked. Not only did the task demand a decisiveness I lack, but I wanted to be moving on:…

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Mystery vs. Confusion

By Sarah Stone In writing fiction, we’re always looking for ways to manage the release and restraint of information, introducing our characters and situations while avoiding the dreaded exposition junk pile at the beginning (many of us do have a…

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The Hook: More Than The Opening Line

By Tommy Dean Think about your favorite verbal storytellers, those people in your family who have passed down the history of the joys and tragedies, the small coincidences, and the shared DNA that results in a similar nose, an ornery…

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Object Lessons: An Exploration

By Laura van den Berg This summer, I spent five weeks at an artists’ residency in Italy, where I had the good fortune of crossing paths with a Swedish composer-performer and visual artist named Charlotte Hug. Known for her musical-visual…

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Toward Inspiration as Craft

By Mercedes Lucero Until recently, I had a very clear notion of what craft meant. It meant technique. Literary devices. Structure. Figurative language. Setting. Point of view. In short, it meant what happens on the page. It meant careful construction.…

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Five Craft Books Off the Beaten Path

By Katharine Coldiron Writers at all stages of their careers need help understanding where they’re going. Sometimes, when a writer gets stuck, a craft book can help unstick her. Many craft books offer general information about how writing works, or…

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Realistic Absurdity in DeLillo’s WHITE NOISE

By Christina Ward-Niven There is so much to admire, craft-wise, in Don DeLillo’s classic novel White Noise: compelling, empathetic characterization; sharp dialogue; handling of theme through plot and subtext; a tone that consistently weaves wryness with heart. In this essay,…

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