Author Archive

Do-Overs: Worth doing?

It isn’t cool to like archetypes anymore. Utter a name like Carl Jung or Joseph Campbell out loud at your MFA program and you’re likely to get a healthy dose of side-eye. Or, a knowing look that says oh, cute. I remember when I thought it was that simple,

Do-Overs: Star-Crossed

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Romeo, take me somewhere we can be alone. I’ll be waiting; all that’s left to do is run. You’ll be the prince and I’ll be the princess, It’s a love story, baby, just say, “Yes.” Taylor Swift left out the part about Romeo and Juliet dying, though. Why does

Do-Overs: The Bad Guy Has a Moment

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Complicated bad guys are nothing new. There’s something delicious about complex entertainment; we’re able to envision ourselves in the shoes of the antihero and exact revenge or serve righteous justice, but we’re also able to vicariously live through their actions that lie outside the boundaries of acceptable behavior. When

Do-Overs: 5 Books that Tell The Untold Story

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Some of the best rewrites of classic stories come to us through the author’s imaginings of what the original doesn’t say. Through original work that transcends “fan fiction,” these stand-alone novels and plays work best when they have their own story to tell. Whether this is done through expanding narrative

Do-Overs: A Little Serial to Tide You Over

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Last year’s wildly popular podcast, Serial, will be back this fall with a new case. Looking for something to fill the time while you wait? Why not check out some of the original serials—novels that were doled out in dribs and drabs. Serial follows in a long tradition of

Do-Overs: The Meursault Question

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Kamel Daoud’s The Meursault Investigation is getting a lot of attention. This retelling of Camus’ classic The Stranger imagines the eyes that stare down Meursault’s gun. The unnamed Arab from the original is given a name, Musa, and a brother, Harun, who tells the family’s story in a bar.

Do-Overs: Summer Odyssey

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Each June, my thoughts turn toward home. Toward my kids, bare feet, homemade dinners, and naps. Toward real life. I’ve taught high school for 13 years, I’ve learned to ride the waves of feeling that come during each season of the school year. June means home, and as my

Do-Overs: Four Strong Female Protagonists

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Historical Fiction isn’t just a man’s world. In fact, several recent historical novels have featured, successfully, stories of bold women who defied odds. In April, I moderated a panel of these writers at the LA Times Festival of Books. Their novels are vastly different, but each presents an old story—a

Do-Overs: Critical Fiction

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Can a story be truly inspired by a classic while serving as a literary critique of that work? Does critical fiction help us to understand our common archetypes? Absolutely. East of Eden, by John Steinbeck is, perhaps, the model for literature as critical writing. Steinbeck structures Eden around the

Review: GUTSHOT by Amelia Gray

Gutshot Amelia Gray FSG Originals Published: 4/14/15 224 pages $14.00 If Amelia Gray’s collection, Gutshot, was choreography, it would be comprised of violent, animalistic phrases: bodies smashing into each other and hands clawing into skin. But on the page, these assembled short stories use a vocabulary of the body