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Art of the Opening: Peter Selgin and YOUR FIRST PAGE

May 4, 2021

  Suzanne Grove: On your list of “Seven Deadly Sins: Common Errors,” creating false suspense via the withholding of information earns the second spot. I appreciate the distinction you make between what you call “plot questions” and questions that tease…

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Conversations Between Friends: Sadie Hoagland and John McNally

April 13, 2021

  SADIE HOAGLAND: John, I so enjoyed reading The Fear of Everything. Each story balances humor and darkness so well, and each piece held the sort of “good surprises” I love in fiction—the unexpected turns. I think one of my…

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Conversations Between Friends: Nancy Au and Olga Zilberbourg

March 30, 2021

  At the beginning of October, 2019, Nancy Au and Olga Zilberbourg celebrated the publication of their books Spider Love Song and Other Stories and Like Water and Other Stories. The E.M. Wolfman General Interest Small Bookstore of Oakland, CA,…

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Time Stamps: Eleven Ways of Managing the Clock in Memoir

March 23, 2021

  By Beth Kephart • All memoirists are ultimately marking time. They denounce or embrace chronology. They deploy fragments or amaranthine circles to supersede the clock. They suggest, by their very storytelling structures and frames, that the sequence of remembering…

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Interview: Jo Ann Beard

March 16, 2021

  Jo Ann Beard’s third book, Festival Days, is a truehearted work of art. Nine pieces lean into life’s difficult decisions and the daunting beauty within moments of uncertainty. Her writing masters precision in language, emotional urgency, and grief’s complexities.…

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Character Revealed Indirectly in Emma Cline’s “A/S/L”

March 9, 2021

  By Jessica Lampard • Revealing character—not just how a character serves the story, but who they are beneath their public persona—is the bedrock of all good fiction. It’s how real truths about human nature take hold within our imagination.…

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Art of the Opening: Move Fast and Make Things Happen

March 2, 2021

  When flash fiction works in fabulist ways “The speed is exhilarating,” Philip Pullman says of fairy tales in Daemon Voices: On Stories and Storytelling, a collection of his perspectives on literary craft. Indeed, in little to no time at…

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Nonfiction Explosions: THE BEST OF BREVITY

February 16, 2021

  By Jacqueline Doyle • Flash fiction has gradually come to be recognized as an important literary form, though there are still writers who dismiss flash as a passing fad, less important than the short story. Often, they are the…

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Art of the Opening: Close Reading I

February 2, 2021

  If something nearing a primal pleasure skitters high up beneath your ribs and low in your gut when you read the first page of a story—if you experience a flume of anticipatory longing for the ways in which diction…

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Blood and Agency in Raven Leilani’s LUSTER

January 26, 2021

  By Candace Walsh • Raven Leilani’s Luster is a craft and theme kaleidoscope, every turned page yielding a new configuration of angles and juxtapositions. What happens in this novel—twenty-three year old Edie, a Black woman artist manquée working slackly…

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