Tag Archives: characters

Retelling Tales: A Writer’s Guide

So much of modern cinema and fiction revolves around the anti-hero and the sympathetic villain. Our culture seems to need our protagonists to be damaged or troubled in some way. It’s as if in some grand pursuit of Nietzsche’s rejection … Continue reading

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The Ploughshares Round Down: How To Tell People What Your Book Is About

Last week, I received a fiction pitch I knew I would reject a few lines in. It contained the phrase, “after he discovers a family secret long since buried.” (Or something like that.) I wrote back to the author and … Continue reading

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Fictional Writer Master Class: Fowles and the Fiction Bender

“But rather, what the devil am I going to do with you?” In John Fowles’s The French Lieutenant’s Woman, the unnamed narrator poses this question to himself about the character sleeping before him. Only he isn’t just the narrator; he’s … Continue reading

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Fictional Writer Master Class: The Bamboozlers

One of the perks of working in academia is ordering desk copies of books. While more often than not these things are tedious tomes that would put me to sleep, never mind my students, sometimes I happen upon gems, such … Continue reading

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Fictional Writer Master Class: the King’s Men

Stephen King has a particular knack for fictionalizing the tortured lives of writers. Scribes of varied success people the pages of his works, from protagonists to supporting characters. (Under the Dome’s Thurston Marshall is a recent Ploughshares guest editor!) Many … Continue reading

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Fictional Writer Master Class: The Wisdom of J.B. Fletcher

Writers love to create writer characters, so much so that fictional writers are their own sub-character set. Maybe it’s because we understand the torture of the artistic monkey better than anything else; creating fictional writers is one way of following … Continue reading

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The Revenge Society

A few weeks ago, I was furious at someone on a level normally reserved for politics. For about three days I didn’t know how to defuse my anger; I just complained and ranted to any poor person who came within … Continue reading

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Episodia 1.11: Character Differentiation

During the first creative writing class I ever taught, a student approached me with a particular challenge. She had a wonderful premise for a novel that revolved around a pack of women who worked in a 1970s factory in the … Continue reading

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From the Slush Pile: Speak to Me

In his introduction to the most recent issue of Ploughshares, guest editor Peter Ho Davies says that the thrill he found in each selected story was the sense that it spoke to him alone.  But how do you make that happen? We’ve … Continue reading

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Writing Lessons: Rose Waldman

In our Writing Lessons series, writing students will discuss lessons learned, epiphanies about craft, and the challenges of studying writing. This week, we hear from Rose Waldman, a student in the MFA program at Columbia University. —Andrew Ladd, Blog Editor … Continue reading

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