Rebecca Makkai Archive

Our Summer 2015 Issue, Guest-Edited by Lauren Groff, Now Available!

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We are excited to announce that the Summer 2015 issue of Ploughshares, guest-edited by Lauren Groff, is available for purchase! Acclaimed novelist and short-story writer Lauren Groff (The Monsters of Templeton, Delicate Edible Birds) guest-edits this all-fiction issue. As Groff writes in her introduction, “I am searching for work

Giving, Not Taking: Expectations of Author Interactions

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In 2009, I was at the annual AWP conference in Chicago, heading into a panel session about flash fiction. Coming out of the room from the last session was Audrey Niffenegger who, even without her name tag, would have been distinguishable by her auburn hair. “Excuse me,” I said.

Novelists, You’re Doing It Right

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You’re trying to write a novel. Sometimes, it’s exhilarating: characters wake you in the night, yammering, springing into action. Sometimes, it’s excruciating: you stare into blankness, and finally, when the words arrive, they reek of your incompetence. It’s taking forever, this novel of yours. It’s ugly. It’s full of

One Year In—Writing the Novel: Rebecca Makkai

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After one year of writing my novel, I took stock of what I’d accomplished—which seemed like very little. Would writing always feel like flailing? How do novelists find their way through? For guidance, I turned to published novelists, whose interviews are presented in the One Year In: Writing the Novel series. 

The Thirsty Games

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It’s so cold in Chicago that the temperature isn’t even negative; it has one of those calculus sigmas in front of it, and there’s some kind of logarithm involved. Maybe you’re sitting in the sun on your California balcony, you ingrate, but here in the Midwest there’s little to

Roundup: End of the Year

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In our Roundups segment, we’re looking back at all the great posts since the blog started in 2009. We explore posts from our archives as well as other top literary magazines and websites, centered on a certain theme to help you jump-start your week. The end of the year is a season of

One Gift Guide to Rule Them All

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It’s getting late, people. And your literary friends expect brilliant Festivus gifts from you. So let’s get cracking! Here’s something for everyone on your list. For the English major: These fake blood page markers and some hipster glasses. (Remember: your goal is not to educate the English major. Your

Write As If…

Author: | Categories: Writing, Writing Advice 6 Comments
I have a problem with inversion. I’ve never been able to do a cartwheel, a handstand, or a headstand. On my high school swim team, I was consigned to the backstroke because I couldn’t dive off the blocks. (I balk, I panic, I freak out, I fail. It might

Writers Behaving Badly

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I’m at that stage in editing my second novel where I’m confronted with my own bad habits. It’s much like cleaning out your closet only to discover you still own not one but three pairs of those chunky clogs that were popular in 1996. How have they hidden this

The Coffeeshop You Meet in Heaven

Author: | Categories: Writing 4 Comments
The New York Times blog recently highlighted a website called Coffitivity that plays ambient coffee shop noise on an endless loop to help you work more productively from home. I can only assume they previously deduced, through the same vigorous scientific trials I myself have undertaken, that Barista Noise