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Withholding Information in Nathan Englander’s “Reunion”

October 15, 2019

  By David Saltzman • As students of fiction, we’re often taught that in crafting a story, the writer should rigidly mete out information, ensuring that a reader is always, without exception, situated as to speaker, scene, and story. When…

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Self-Salvation, Structure, and Sex Part II: Intertextuality in Carmen Maria Machado’s “The Husband Stitch”

October 8, 2019

  By Candace Walsh • In Jess Walter’s “Famous Actor” and Carmen Maria Machado’s “The Husband Stitch,” the authors use intertextuality as a structural element: a rhythmic, outside-of-time interruption of the chronological main story. Simultaneously, each of the female narrators…

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What Tells You

September 24, 2019

  By Gabriel Brownstein • For years, I’ve assigned Joan Didion’s essay “Why I Write” to my fiction writing workshops. For me, as a short story writer, there are two crucial sentences in the essay. Didion precedes these sentences with…

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This Story Would Make a Good Essay

September 17, 2019

  By Paul Crenshaw • As an undergraduate I wrote a lot of autobiographical fiction in which narrators from small Southern towns attempted to escape the confines of their region, all the conservative culture and Christianity that wrapped around them…

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Unsayables and Invisibilities

September 10, 2019

  By Nancy Au • In the title essay of The Empathy Exams, a 2014 collection by Leslie Jamison, the author writes about her time as a medical actor playing Stephanie Phillips, a fictional patient who experiences seizures as a…

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Self-Salvation, Structure, and Sex Part I: Intertextuality in Jess Walter’s “Famous Actor”

August 27, 2019

  By Candace Walsh • In Jess Walter’s “Famous Actor” and Carmen Maria Machado’s “The Husband Stitch,” the authors use intertextuality as a structural element: a rhythmic, outside-of-time interruption of the chronological main story. Simultaneously, each of the female narrators…

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Naming Makes Visible: Building a Craft Vocabulary

August 20, 2019

  By Caitlin Horrocks • I was well into my MFA in creative writing before I encountered anything that might be called a craft essay. The previous writing-on-writing I’d encountered consisted of inspirational texts, collections of writing exercises, or literature…

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Hybrid Interview: Molly Gloss

August 13, 2019

  Essay by Nicole Barney • “Your opening line is a throwaway,” Molly Gloss said during workshop, not unkindly, just matter-of-factly. “An editor wouldn’t read past it.” Granted, my first sentence was no Dickensian gem. It presented no intriguing riddle…

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What We Talk About When We Read Submissions

July 30, 2019

  by David K. Slay • Since the beginning of this year, I have been on a team of first readers for CRAFT, a literary journal with a mission to “explore the art of fiction with a focus on the…

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If You Can Name It, You Can Fix It: A Craft Glossary

July 16, 2019

  By Jody Hobbs Hesler • “It seems like you don’t really care about your main character,” someone once told me in a workshop. Maybe they sensed an underlying issue with the character’s authenticity? A nebulous not-rightness about the prose?…

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