>

Exploring the art of fiction

Menu

CRAFT

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…

Read More

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,…

Read More

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.…

Read More

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…

Read More

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…

Read More

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…

Read More

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…

Read More

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…

Read More

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…

Read More

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…

Read More