In the first story of Zachary Tyler Vickers’s remarkable new collection, Congratulations on Your Martyrdom!, an origami hobbyist with pathologically stubby fingers is stuffed like the roadkill he prepares for children. If you’re looking for the fiction about married people drinking lattes, this probably isn’t the book for you.
How do great authors begin their fiction? With a line or a character, a memory or a mission? This year, as Ploughshares’s unofficial origin-story archivist, I’ll investigate. Because I’m a teacher, I started by looking for stories that grew out of writing assignments. Here’s what I found. 1. Amy