craft Category

Fighting Title-Block

My FFC column this month is inspired by this post by Thomas Kearnes, where he discusses his five favorite and least favorite titles. I think we all struggle with finding the right title for a story at some time or another. The title is the story’s first impression and there are naturally feelings of pressure […]

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Describing Your First Person Narrator

Re-blogged from my monthly column over at Flash Fiction Chronicles. Among the challenges presented by writing in first person point of view, one of the toughest (for this writer at least) is describing your first person narrator. Offering details about a character’s age, physical appearance, and clothing is a great way to build that character, […]

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Fixed Form Narratives

Reposting this piece on Fixed Form Narratives from my monthly column over at Flash Fiction Chronicles. I have a new column there on the first Monday of every month. Here’s April’s! In my English classes in high school, I was never one for sonnets or villanelles. I found them to be a bit too restrictive […]

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Making Metaphor

First of all, very glad to even be able to type the word “metaphor” today. On Saturday, I poured a very full glass of water directly into the keyboard of my shiny new laptop. It was mostly fine, but not all of the keys recovered. I had to spend the next 24 hours using the […]

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A Fiction Writer’s Guide to Poetry

I consider myself to be primarily a prose writer, but I have dabbled a bit in poetry. It’s fun. It’s short. And publishers can fit more of it on the same number of pages, so I’ve found it to be easier to market (not “easy,” just “easier”). Plus, it’s good to be versatile: Sometimes something […]

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Dzanc Day! Dzig it!

I’m very happy to be co-leading a workshop for this year’s Dzanc Day, a day when writers, editors and teachers donate their time and talents to raise money for some of Dzanc Books‘ more charitable endeavors. These include the Dzanc Prize, which recognizes one writer annually for literary excellence and service to his or her […]

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How to Avoid Avoiding Plot

I wrote the brief craft essay below, about common traps that keep writers from writing well-plotted flash fiction, for Flash Fiction Chronicles. I’m currently teaching a flash fiction course and my students and I have spent a fair amount of class time discussing the borderlands between flash fiction and prose poetry. While I agree that there’s […]

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Never Again & Word Choice

Doug Nufer’s book Never Again has only just come to my attention, despite being published in 2002 (apparently). As the title hints, Nufer uses any given word only once—never again. I only read enough of the book to see how this constraint would work, and I have to say that I was pleasantly surprised. Most of […]

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