>

Exploring the art of fiction

Menu

CRAFT ARTICLES and ESSAYS

I Love The Bad Ones Best

By Guest Author | April 11, 2018

By Louise Marburg There is perhaps nothing more annoying to hear from an editor that they find a character too unsympathetic to be believable. Part of me wonders if the character in question might in fact be all too believable,…

Read More

What Makes a Collection?

By CRAFT | April 3, 2018

You’ve amassed some stories. Maybe you have enough for a collection, maybe you’re still a few shy. It’s not an obvious grouping of stories: there are no common characters or recurring places or a clear theme. How do you organize…

Read More

Obsessions

By CRAFT | March 26, 2018

Obsessions lie at the heart of most of the things we do well. And figuring out what your obsessions are in writing may well be the key to figuring out that next short story or novel. Poet Natalie Diaz talks…

Read More

Author’s Notes

By CRAFT | March 23, 2018

A note from the author accompanies each of the stories we publish. We ask the author to write something—anything—about the craft in their story. We love these Author’s Notes, as they shed an important light on each story. Every time…

Read More

Opening Lines

By CRAFT | March 2, 2018

The start to a story is so important. It’s what draws the reader in, it’s what sets the stage for everything to come. When we read stories (and especially when we read submissions!), an arresting first line can capture our…

Read More

Character Research

By CRAFT | February 26, 2018

When it comes to doing research for a novel or story, the resources are endless. We typically turn first to non-fiction sources, writers documenting the history of the time. Often, though, these accounts are written after-the-fact as the historian makes…

Read More

Favorite First Sentence: WAYS TO DISAPPEAR

By CRAFT | 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,…

Read More

Switching Tenses

By CRAFT | February 19, 2018

Most writers, it seems, prefer one tense over another. Many of us use the past tense as our default, as it allows for foreshadowing, and, conversely, it allows reflection from the present “telling” moment.  We’re telling a story of which…

Read More

Map Research

By CRAFT | February 12, 2018

I will confess: I like maps. I like understanding where I’ve been, where I am, and where I’m going. And I love Google and/or Apple Maps. The satellite view, the street view, directions, walking distance, the whole thing. I can…

Read More

Collective Voice: WE THE ANIMALS

By CRAFT | 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…

Read More