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CRAFT ESSAYS, ELEMENTS, and TALKS

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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Obsessions

March 26, 2018

Obsessions lie at the heart of most of the things we do well. And figuring out what your obsessions are in writing may well be the key to figuring out that next short story or novel. Poet Natalie Diaz talks…

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Character Research

February 26, 2018

When it comes to doing research for a novel or story, the resources are endless. We typically turn first to non-fiction sources, writers documenting the history of the time. Often, though, these accounts are written after-the-fact as the historian makes…

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Favorite First Sentence: WAYS TO DISAPPEAR

February 21, 2018

“In a crumbling park in the crumbling back end of Copacabana, a woman stopped under an almond tree with a suitcase and a cigar.” Ways to Disappear, Idra Novey’s debut novel, is about a South American writer who has disappeared,…

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