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Exploring the art of fiction

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THE CLASSROOM CORNER

We often hear from creative writing instructors that they find CRAFT to be very useful in the classroom. We listened, and we've made this corner as a quick resource, a curated list of some of our favorites. This list is NOT exhaustive—our pages are full of short fiction, flash fiction, critical essays, interviews, book reviews and annotations, roundups of all things literary, and more. This is a handy place to start!

We will continually update this list, so check back when making those syllabi, and for quick inspiration anytime.

The Grind: Revelatory Repetition in Edward P. Jones’s “An Orange Line Train to Ballston”

June 30, 2020

  By Alyson Mosquera Dutemple • In the very first line of his story “An Orange Line Train to Ballston,” Edward P. Jones signals to readers to expect repetition and recurrence throughout the rest of the piece: “The first time…

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On (Not) Writing the Bar Story Part II: The Instructor

June 24, 2020

  By Mike Goodwin • In my brief career teaching fiction workshops, the bar story has appeared too often as a genre vying for literariness. Students have written about debauchery at house parties, barns, parks, cemeteries, and, of course, bars.…

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On (Not) Writing the Bar Story Part I: The Amateur Writer

June 23, 2020

  By Mike Goodwin • I once earned a well-deserved reaming for my writing an awful story involving who I viewed as lower-class patrons inhabiting a dive bar. The narrative too often emphasized these characters giving each other the business…

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Hybrid Interview: Gayle Brandeis

June 16, 2020

  “We want you to know how we lived. That we lived. That we were girls before we were game. That we were alive.”   Essay by Melissa Benton Barker • Gayle Brandeis’s recent novel-in-verse, Many Restless Concerns (a testimony):…

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Art of the Opening: Raymond Carver and Crafting a Hook

June 2, 2020

  I am heaving in the southwestern corner of an open-air outlet mall five days before Christmas. This is the desperate and empty sort of heaving required to stop a sob and close off the valve of emotion. A hiccuping…

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Empathy as Craft: James Baldwin’s “Sonny’s Blues”

May 19, 2020

  By Gerry Stanek • James Baldwin finds a unique way to interiority in “Sonny’s Blues,” which was first published in 1957. I say unique, because I’m not sure there’s another story like this; a character’s thoughts and perceptions are…

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An Extremely Disorganized Life: Osamu Dazai’s NO LONGER HUMAN

May 12, 2020

  By Peter Selgin • The older I get, the less interested I am as both reader and writer in things are that—or that feel—“made up.” Put in positive terms, the more attracted I am to stories and novels that…

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Hybrid Interview: Amber Sparks

April 28, 2020

  Essay by J. A. Tyler • Sure, 2019 gave us Greta Gerwig’s powerful Little Women and the heroine Rey dominating galactic folks in the final chapter of the Star Wars saga, but we’ve yet to see pay equalized between…

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Women of Conscience: On Alice Mattison

April 21, 2020

  By Leena Soman Navani • Alice Mattison has published a poetry collection, seven novels, four short story collections, and a book about writing fiction. She began her writing career more than five decades ago. Professionally, perhaps the only thing…

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Time and Interiority in David Means’s “The Chair”

April 14, 2020

  By Kent Kosack • Prose shines, comes into its own as a medium, when writers make the internal conflicts we all suffer through, each and every second, external. I don’t mean simply dramatization in the form of scenes. I…

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