craft Archive

Fiction Responding to Fiction: Flannery O’Connor and Alice Munro

Author: | Categories: Reading, Series No comments
Munro has spoken about her debt to American writers from the South, including O’Connor, and we can clearly see how “Save the Reaper” is responding to O’Connor’s story by touching on similar themes and even moments, and yet spinning off from the original in true Munro fashion.

On Intimacy: Elena Ferrante & Stacey D’Erasmo

Author: | Categories: Reading, Writing No comments
It seems as though people do not want to believe that fiction can be intimate—that is: detailed, personal, private, sacred, something with which readers feel closely acquainted or familiar. It is especially surprising if it is also broad, and that one book can accomplish both apparently astounds reviewers.

Time and Opening Chapters: Gaining Trust

Author: | Categories: Reading, Writing, Writing Advice No comments
Lately I’ve been thinking about time in novels. How to manipulate it, whether it should be linear or nonlinear, and what that choice means for a story. I began to examine it more closely after a recent weekend novel workshop I took with Lauren Grodstein.

On Sentimentality: Zoe Heller, Leslie Jamison, Nate Pritts, & Mary Ruefle

Author: | Categories: Reading, Writing No comments
When we talk about sentimentality in literature, we talk about the “contemporary, pejorative sense of the word,” Zoe Heller writes for the New York Times. A word defined by Merriam-Webster as “the quality or state of being sentimental especially to excess or in affectation.” A word with synonyms such as

Fiction Responding to Fiction: Raymond Carver and Jonathan Durbin

Author: | Categories: Reading, Series, Writing No comments
Raymond Carver’s “What We Talk About When We Talk About Love,” is the classic titular story in his collection published in 1981. The original story, entitled “Beginners,” was famously edited by Gordon Lish, and it is longer, containing more hope and introspection.

Our Ladies of Perpetual Sorrow

Author: | Categories: Reading, Writing No comments
There’s something happening with the personal in writing, and Jason Guriel’s highly circulated Walrus essay “I Don’t Care About Your Life” wants to warn us about it. “I Don’t Care About Your Life” isn’t as polemical as it sounds. For one, its title doesn’t so much reveal Guriel’s hand,

Fiction Responding to Fiction: James Joyce and John Updike

Author: | Categories: Reading, Series, Writing No comments
One of John Updike’s early and most anthologized stories, “A & P,” from Pigeon Feathers and Other Stories, is a modern retelling of James Joyce’s “Araby” from The Dubliners. While almost 50 years pass between their publications, both stories consider how a boy’s romantic crush leads to heroic deeds

On the Art of Perspective: Christopher Castellani & Maggie Nelson

Author: | Categories: Reading, Writing, Writing Advice No comments
“I want to tell you what happened on the way to dinner.” Christopher Castellani‘s The Art of Perspective: Who Tells the Story begins with that simple phrase, the driving force of storytelling: the author has something they want to convey. Which quickly leads us to the issue of how

Who Speaks How

Author: | Categories: Reading, Writing No comments
I love when people ask my friend Jenny and I how we know each other, because long before we co-taught a queer theory elective and drove cross-country and made parallel moves to Pittsburgh, she was one of my first writing teachers. It was in her Xeroxed handout of eclectic

Writing Travel: A Process of Unmooring

Author: | Categories: Reading, Writing No comments
Sara Majka‘s debut story collection, Cities I’ve Never Lived In, begins with movement: “Maybe ten or eleven years ago, when I was in the middle of a divorce from a man I still loved, I took the train into the city. We were both moving often during this time,