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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 Art of Time in David Gates’s “Banishment”

October 30, 2018

By Amber Wheeler Bacon • David Gates doesn’t recommend flashbacks to new writers when he’s teaching fiction. When line editing a student’s piece, he cuts pretty much every flashback he sees. I know because he cut plenty of mine when…

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Daisy Johnson’s Cauldron: Realism & Fairy Tale Logic in “Albatross”

October 26, 2018

By Amelia Brown • Daisy Johnson is quite obviously inspired by folklore in her debut collection of stories, Fen—her pages are home to sentient objects, immortal monsters, and animal transformations galore. In fact, Johnson’s stories pledge their allegiance to two narrative…

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Reaching Out: Endings of Joy Williams

October 15, 2018

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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The Art of Description in A.S. Byatt’s “The Chinese Lobster”

October 11, 2018

By Chaya Bhuvaneswar • The display is brightly lit, and arranged on a carpet of that fierce emerald-green artificial grass used by greengrocers and undertakers. Round the edges on open shells, is a border of raw scallops, the pearly flesh dulling,…

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Artifacts: On Revising Older Stories

September 17, 2018

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

August 27, 2018

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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Interview: D. Wystan Owen

August 20, 2018

CRAFT: Linked collections are so often the best of both worlds: the beauty of a short story combined with the scope of a novel. At what point as you were writing the stories for Other People’s Love Affairs did you…

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The Hook: More Than The Opening Line

August 17, 2018

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

August 13, 2018

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

July 25, 2018

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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