fiction Archive

When Do I Have Enough Back Story?

Author: | Categories: Writing No comments
I had a great idea for a story. The main character is a 32-year-old actor who lives in Brooklyn. He is looking for his runaway sister, and… Wait. Actor? What kind of actor? What has he been in? Did he always want to be an actor? Most actors can’t

Compassing the Truth: Language in the Historical Novel

Author: | Categories: Writing 3 Comments
Writing a novel set in 17th Century London, I wrestle regularly with understanding my characters’ world. Have I done a good enough job comprehending their relationship to time? To daylight and darkness, to religion and mortality? I worry about getting the physical details of daily life right in the

Joshua Howes

Author: | Categories: Contributors' Notes No comments
Joshua Howes’ short story, “Run,” appears in our Winter 2011-12 issue, guest edited by Alice Hoffman. “Run” begins with these lines: This is a story about pretending. Imagine my father, a boy, not the old man who bought this shuttered house I have just cleaned out, here at the

William Giraldi

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William Giraldi’s short story, “Hold the Dark,” appears in our Winter 2011-12 issue, guest edited by Alice Hoffman. “Hold the Dark” opens with this passage: The wolves came down from the hills and carried away the children of Chinook. The village lay wedged into a horseshoe beneath those white

One Man’s Approach to Writing Women Characters

Author: | Categories: Writing 11 Comments
“How do you write women so well? “I think of a man, and I take away reason and accountability.” – As Good As It Gets. The above, often-cited quote about how to write female characters is quite funny, but at least for me, not true. As a man, I

Glaciers

Author: | Categories: Book Reviews 1 Comment
Glaciers Alexis M. Smith Tin House Books, January 2012 112 pages $10.25 Isabel, the protagonist in Alexis M. Smith’s new novel Glaciers, was only a month old when her family departed Seattle by ferry, returning to their roots in Alaska. She can’t recall the trip, but as an adult

Writing Fiction, Writing Plays, Writing Voice: an Interview with Carol Gilligan

Author: | Categories: Writing 2 Comments
I first met Carol Gilligan in 1994. I’d read In a Different Voice in college, and had been intrigued by that book’s observation that women’s voices change the moral conversation…so when I met Carol I was prepared to see her through the lens of that groundbreaking work and all