Author Archive

Review: THE VERSIONS OF US by Laura Barnett

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The Versions of Us Laura Barnett Houghton Mifflin Harcourt, May 2016 416 pp; $26.00 Buy: hardcover | eBook The Versions of Us, Laura Barnett’s tapestry romance, is in many ways Margaret Atwood’s “Happy Endings” fleshed into a full-novel. The novel’s main style device employs just what the title promises:

Book Review: MEMORY THEATER by Simon Critchley

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Memory Theater Simon Critchley Other Press, Nov 2015 112 pp, $15.95 Buy hardcover | eBook What I remember most from reading Thomas Harris’ Hannibal when it was first published in 1999 was not the graphic violence and strange character detour for which the book would be criticized; it was

Literary Blueprints: The Orphan

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  In the wide realm of literature, having parents is a convenience that escapes many characters. The Orphan is one of the most prominent characters in literature, in part because the absence of parental figures automatically fuels so many possible motivations. Origin Story: Unlike some blueprints, which can be

Literary Blueprints: The Monster

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Despite the simple title, the Monster is perhaps one of the most complicated, shifting characters in literature, past and present. Much of defining the Monster means defining ourselves and our views of the world. No other character relies so much on perspective to explain who (or what) the evil

Literary Blueprints: The Temptress

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If the Byronic Hero is the bad boy of literature, then the Temptress is his female counterpart. The Literary Blueprints series looks at dangerous ladies and their wanton ways.  “She looked slick as hell; polished, neat, and with that feminine deadliness that can drive you nuts. They work on

Literary Blueprints: The Wise Fool

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  After meeting Gothic characters the Byronic Hero and the Mad Woman, the time has come to visit periods before Romanticism in discovering a popular character known as The Wise Fool. Origin Story: The idea of the Wise Fool is somewhat hard to trace. Unlike some other character types,

Literary Blueprints: The Mad Woman

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In this second installment of the Literary Blueprints series, we’ll look at the Mad Woman. Don’t forget to read the first Blueprint, The Byronic Hero. Origin Story: Also referred to as “The Mad Woman in the Attic,” this character type hails from the dark side of Jane Eyre. Bertha

Literary Blueprints: The Byronic Hero

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Follow this new blog series in 2015, where we’ll delve into the background of character archetypes–the Mad Woman, the Detective, and the Wise Fool, to name a few. In this first installment, we take a look at the Byronic Hero. Origin Story: In literature, the Byronic Hero’s first embodiment is

Say Anything: A Case for Dialogue

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Recently I was reading the prose section of an online literary magazine’s fall issue when I could not overcome a nagging sense that something was lacking. The stories themselves were well-written; the style was cohesive with the magazine’s tone; the narratives were engaging. Yet it somehow felt incomplete. As

Welcome to the Literary Jungle

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Several times a year I am the recipient of emails or phone calls from friends, colleagues, parents, or complete strangers in search of writing guidance. Often the messages begins, “Hello, my name is Barbra. My daughter wants to be a writer. She’s very talented. Jill Matthews said you might