fiction Archive

Experiments in Perspective

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  A crucial lesson I learned early on in my attempts at writing fiction is that every character is you–and not you. Characters have parts of you inside of them because you wrote them. But they are still not you. Chris Abani once said in a workshop that readers

I Have To Tell You

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I Have To Tell You Victoria Hetherington 0s&1s, 2014 69,000 words $6.00 Buy: ebook While reading Victoria Hetherington’s novel, I Have To Tell You, I occasionally found myself wanting to shake one or two of the characters for a host of self-destructive behaviors and dysfunctional relationships. And just as

Writers Do It Best: Robin McCarthy

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In the ‘Writers Do It Best’ series, contributors reflect on how their education and experiences as writers have uniquely prepared them for their lives outside the writing world. Today, we hear from Robin McCarthy, an MFA student studying fiction at Northern Michigan University.  You can follow Robin on Twitter

The Best Story I Read in a Lit Mag This Week: “Birthright” by Elizabeth Evitts Dickinson

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I believed in ghosts as a kid. Since then, I’ve wondered why I wasn’t ever fascinated by the lore of other supernatural creatures. I think it’s in large part because ghosts—unlike angels, demons, vampires, or werewolves—didn’t seem to have such a strict set of rules governing their existence. In

The Best Story I Read in a Lit Mag This Week: “Not Like What You Said” by Debbie Urbanski

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The older I get, the more I notice that my handwriting resembles my mother’s. Her cursive is so even, consistent, and precise that her letters and grocery lists look like they’ve been typed up on the computer and printed out. My handwriting isn’t like that—it’s sloppy and irregular—but when

The Best Story I Read in a Lit Mag This Week: “My Wife, in Converse” by Shelly Oria

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Stories written in the first person are supposed to be more intimate and allow us greater access to the emotions and thoughts of the narrator than second or third person. But what about the characters who aren’t eager or able to articulate their feelings? What happens when we give

Voice and Chorus: Cristina Henriquez and “The Book of Unknown Americans”

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I saw Cristina Henriquez read just a few weeks ago at Book Court in Brooklyn, where my poet buddy, Sally Wen Mao, took me after a long day in the city. Generally, I’m horrible at readings.  I’m the guy seated in the front row, probably running on three hours of

The Best Story I Read in a Lit Mag This Week: “An Animal Under the Ground” by Steven T. Gibbon

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I think most of us who have ever had customer-facing jobs can say: dear god, it’s exhausting. Human beings, while resourceful and tenacious, are made of meat and therefore susceptible to all manner of physical and mental abuse. There’s only so much we can handle. After long enough, having

The Best Story I Read in a Lit Mag This Week: “Fear Itself” by Katie Coyle

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There’s a lot to love about Katie Coyle‘s story “Fear Itself,” published in the most recent issue of One Story. To start, Coyle is so spot-on in her depiction of teenage girls that about a page in, I took out my phone and snapped a quick picture of a

The Ploughshares Round-Down: Three Things Writers Can Learn From Solange and Jay Z

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Between Jill Abramson’s indecorous firing and Amazon’s ongoing vendetta against Hachette, the publishing world gave me a lot of potential topics for the Ploughshares Round-Down this week, which I’m covering for Tasha Golden while she takes some well-earned time off. And yet there’s another, completely non-publishing-related story that I