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ANNOTATIONS, REVIEWS, and CRAFT BOOKS

A Closer Look: ORCHID & THE WASP, Caoilinn Hughes

August 3, 2018

In Orchid & the Wasp, Caoilinn Hughes has created a singular character in Gael Foess. From the opening pages, set in Ireland in 2002 when Gael is only 11, to the conclusion, when 20-year-old Gael is back in Dublin in…

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Five Craft Books Off the Beaten Path

July 19, 2018

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

July 16, 2018

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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A Closer Look: RESTLESS SOULS, Dan Sheehan

June 7, 2018

A novel that follows a trio of childhood friends from Dublin to northern California, Dan Sheehan’s debut novel, Restless Souls, nicely investigates male friendship as well as the impact of trauma. Strong first-person voices provide a narrative that flows easily, with…

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Book Review: CREDO

May 22, 2018

Credo: An Anthology of Manifestos & Sourcebook for Creative Writing Editors: Rita Banerjee, Diana Norma Szokolyai Reviewed by Katharine Coldiron   Often, writing reference books labor under a single focus, but Credo, a collection of essays assembled by members of…

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WRITING IN GENERAL, Rust Hills

April 23, 2018

Writing in General and the Short Story in Particular, Rust Hills Mariner Books, 2000 Originally published in 1977, this book examines the elements of craft, with an emphasis on the short story, examining the components of a successful short story…

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LIGHT THE DARK, edited by Joe Fassler

March 21, 2018

Light the Dark, edited by Joe Fassler Penguin Books, 2017 A collection of craft essays from a series in The Atlantic, this is a book to treasure, one to read again and again. The online series, called “By Heart,” is curated…

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Favorite First Sentence: WAYS TO DISAPPEAR

February 21, 2018

“In a crumbling park in the crumbling back end of Copacabana, a woman stopped under an almond tree with a suitcase and a cigar.” Ways to Disappear, Idra Novey’s debut novel, is about a South American writer who has disappeared,…

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Collective Voice: WE THE ANIMALS

January 31, 2018

We the Animals, by Justin Torres, is a wonderful example of the use of the collective voice in fiction. There are, of course, many other classic works that use this voice, including the novels The Virgin Suicides by Jeffrey Eugenides…

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Linked Story Collections: SWALLOWED BY THE COLD

January 10, 2018

Linked story collections often seem like that halfway point between a collection of unconnected stories and a novel. Done well, a linked collection can add up to something more than its parts, a reading experience that expands beyond the limits…

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