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Reflecting the Interior

September 30, 2017

Some of the great writers use little interiority. They focus, instead, on showing us how the character views the world. Through these moments—when we are looking through the character’s eyes at a room, a character, a landscape—we learn almost more…

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SEVERAL SHORT SENTENCES ABOUT WRITING, Verlyn Klinkenborg

September 26, 2017

Several Short Sentences About Writing, Verlyn Klinkenborg Penguin Random House, 2012 There is much good advice in Klinkenborg’s book, and the way that it is written—in a series of sentences and passages—makes it an easy book to read. It feels…

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Conflict in Dialogue

September 15, 2017

The word “conflict” is from the Latin verb confligere: con, together; and fligere, to strike. Many writers seem to be at home with the idea of togetherness: we usually create multiple characters in our fiction; we write stories with more…

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Novel Structure: Multiple Points-of-View

September 13, 2017

In The Gypsy Moth Summer, Julia Fierro uses six different narrators to tell us the story of the inhabitants of a small island in New York during the summer of 1992. The novel is broken into five parts, with a…

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THE MAKING OF A STORY, Alice LaPlante

September 13, 2017

The Making of a Story, Alice LaPlante W.W. Norton, 2007 At a whopping 642 pages, LaPlante’s craft book is extremely comprehensive. Each of the fourteen chapters includes well-developed essays on elements of craft, exercises, and readings. The chapters cover plot,…

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Favorite First Sentence: THAT NIGHT, Alice McDermott

September 5, 2017

Favorite First Sentence: That Night, Alice McDermott That night when he came to claim her, he stood on the short lawn before her house, his knees bent, his fists driven into his thighs, and bellowed her name with such passion…

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Book Review: DADDY ISSUES by Alex McElroy

September 1, 2017

Alex McElroy’s chapbook, Daddy Issues, consists of seven short fiction pieces, and each story tackles the role that boys and men play in their families and in the world, paying particular attention to the relationship between fathers and sons. By…

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Book Review: WHAT WE LOSE by Zinzi Clemmons

September 1, 2017

Much of What We Lose, an innovative and engaging debut novel by Zinzi Clemmons, is about being stuck in the in-between. The protagonist, Thandi, is of mixed-race, with an American father and a South African mother. Although Thandi is brought…

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Interview: Aimee Bender

September 1, 2017

Who do you like to read? Who are your influences? There are many—and I do love the magical realists: García Márquez, Cortázar, Borges, Leonora Carrington (more of a surrealist), Calvino, Barthelme, Murakami, if you’d call him that. Kelly Link. Then…

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Interview: Steve Almond

September 1, 2017

Your stories make great use of traditional narrative structure. By this I mean: a strong tension builds until they reach a climax. A few stories from God Bless America—the title story; “Donkey Greedy, Donkey Gets Punched”; “A Jew Berserk on…

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