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Ugly Love: Character as Plot in Mary Gaitskill’s DON’T CRY

January 21, 2020

  By Melissa Benton Barker • The stories in Mary Gaitskill’s collection Don’t Cry are like tiny mirrors held close, all the pores and blemishes of her characters offered up for the readers’ inspection. Published in 2009, the collection scrupulously…

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Dialogue as Character (and Narrative) Complexity in Monica McFawn’s “Out of the Mouths of Babes”

January 14, 2020

  By Gwendolyn Edward • I’ve often battled with how to better develop secondary characters in short stories that use a limited, third-person point of view. While I’ve learned how to use my main character’s memories and current thoughts to…

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Hybrid Interview: Dustin M. Hoffman

December 17, 2019

  By Jesse Motte • When I read Dustin M. Hoffman’s first collection, One-Hundred-Knuckled Fist, during undergrad, it felt like I’d been suddenly gut-shot by some invisible, benevolent entity. The shock excited me. I prefer my writing like that: unforgiving…

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Repetition and Evolution: Structure in Robert Boswell’s CROOKED HEARTS

December 10, 2019

  By Amber Wheeler Bacon • In the third draft of my novel, I’m still messing with structure. It feels like I’ll always be messing with structure. To experiment, I’ve tried copying the frameworks of different novels I love: Purity…

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Hybrid Interview: Cathy Ulrich

November 19, 2019

  By Kate Finegan • The Pieces Left Behind In Cathy Ulrich’s debut flash fiction collection, Ghosts of You (Okay Donkey Press, 2019), the murdered lady sets the plot in motion. These forty stories are all named in the same…

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Diane Williams and a Taxonomy of Flash Fiction Endings

November 12, 2019

  By Matthew Duffus • In a June 2014 interview with The White Review, Diane Williams described one of her writing goals as “to provide some mystery, a place to meditate, where I might be nearing a new insight, if…

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Suspense in Flannery O’Connor’s “The River”

October 29, 2019

  By Alyson Mosquera Dutemple • Long before we discover that the main character, a little boy named Harry, will drown in the final moments of Flannery O’Connor’s “The River,” we are unsettled while reading the story. On the surface,…

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Hybrid Interview: Shane Jones

October 22, 2019

Essay by J.A. Tyler • There was something about Shane Jones’s new novel Vincent and Alice and Alice that held me at bay. I’m a huge fan of his work, loved his previous novels, have admired his style for years.…

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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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