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CRAFT ESSAYS, ELEMENTS, and TALKS

Multiple Storylines

June 27, 2018

Novels almost always include multiple storylines. But when it comes to short stories, whether it’s due to the brevity of space, or the intense focus on the primary storyline, we often see stories that only travel one path. This tendency…

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Interiority Complex

June 20, 2018

by Rebecca Makkai It’s hard enough to make our characters act, make them do and say interesting things. You know what’s harder? Well, lots of stuff. Coal mining, for one. Come on, writing is a pretty cushy job. But here’s…

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Character’s Imagination

June 18, 2018

Exploring the imagination of a character is a wonderful way to allow the reader insight into the way a character thinks and behaves. How characters behave with others—their actions and their words—can move a story forward and, of course, are…

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A Closer Look: RESTLESS SOULS, Dan Sheehan

June 7, 2018

A novel that follows a trio of childhood friends from Dublin to northern California, Dan Sheehan’s debut novel, Restless Souls, nicely investigates male friendship as well as the impact of trauma. Strong first-person voices provide a narrative that flows easily, with…

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What is a Short Story?

May 24, 2018

For Short Story Month, we asked: What, exactly, is a short story? How is different from the novel? How can a definition help you to construct a piece, help you to decide whether your fiction is short or long? We’ve…

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Punctuation as Art

May 17, 2018

By Ariel Lewis I. For a long time I was under the belief that punctuation was of secondary interest to the writer, a micro-concern only for the truly fanatical snob or the lowly copywriter. I held this belief, as a…

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Best Intentions

May 7, 2018

What is an intention? We know it, mostly, as an aim or a plan. When you begin to write a short story or a novel, you have a general sense of something that’s guiding you forward. It might be a…

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A Closer Look: “Meet Behind Mars,” Renee Simms

May 3, 2018

“Meet Behind Mars” is the title story in Renee Simms’ debut short story collection, published by Wayne State University Press this month. The story, which you can read here in a slightly altered version, is in the form of a…

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I Love The Bad Ones Best

April 11, 2018

By Louise Marburg There is perhaps nothing more annoying to hear from an editor that they find a character too unsympathetic to be believable. Part of me wonders if the character in question might in fact be all too believable,…

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What Makes a Collection?

April 3, 2018

You’ve amassed some stories. Maybe you have enough for a collection, maybe you’re still a few shy. It’s not an obvious grouping of stories: there are no common characters or recurring places or a clear theme. How do you organize…

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