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Story and Plot: Finding Meaning

January 18, 2018

In studying the craft of fiction, story and plot seem like simple enough concepts: story is the chronological sequence of events while plot is those same events, reordered by the author. In an attempt to consider how to construct meaning…

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Linked Story Collections: SWALLOWED BY THE COLD

January 10, 2018

Linked story collections often seem like that halfway point between a collection of unconnected stories and a novel. Done well, a linked collection can add up to something more than its parts, a reading experience that expands beyond the limits…

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NAMING THE WORLD, Bret Anthony Johnston

December 14, 2017

Naming the World, Bret Anthony Johnston, editor Penguin Random House, 2007 Naming the World is a craft class in a book. Edited by the writer Bret Anthony Johnston, the book is broken into typical craft chapters: Plot and Narration, Dialogue…

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10 Writing Tips for the Holidays

December 13, 2017

Or, How Good Writing is Just Like Good Conversation By Natalie Serber Much to my delight, The New York Times Magazine recently published a feature on “The Art of the Dinner Party.” Along with recipes (try this one for my…

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Mixtapes

December 11, 2017

I have heard more than one writer say that they have created mixtapes while they were working on a story or novel and listening to that music, and that music alone, while they were writing was hugely helpful. If you’re…

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Interview: Mary Kuryla

December 6, 2017

Holly Willis: You are both a filmmaker and a fiction writer: how do those two very different vocations influence each other and in turn impact your work? Mary Kuryla: I started as an English major in college — though I…

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First Person Direct Address

December 4, 2017

Most of the time, our narrators are speaking directly to our readers. We may not do so as directly as Charlotte Bronte (“Reader, I married him.”) but it is implied, no matter the voice that we’re using. Second person can…

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On Ending Polyphonic Novels

November 29, 2017

On Ending Polyphonic Novels by Rachel King I write multivoiced fiction, a technique also known as writing polyphonically, from the musical technique polyphony, where two or more melodies are played at once. However, in writing, unlike in music, different voices…

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Crafting Suspense

November 27, 2017

On Crafting Suspense: Keep the Bodies Hidden By Dustin Heron Suspense is an important element of fiction—and not just for stories where things go bump in the night. Suspense is “the feeling of excited or anxious uncertainty about what might…

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Object Lesson

November 20, 2017

So often in crafting fiction we think about character, plot, and setting. But thinking about specific objects and placing those objects in our fiction can be a great way in to a character and even a plot point. An object…

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