Story Structure Reflects Your Worldview

So last week I tried this wacky writing exercise I came up with. Wacky, because it’s time consuming. (If you’re feeling wacky, too, you can check it out on the Fiction Workshop syllabus under Week 4). Basically, I took a short story that wasn’t working. Well, okay, fine. It sucked. It really, really sucked. ButContinue reading “Story Structure Reflects Your Worldview”

Forget Finding Your Voice, Find Your Subject

All this hand-wringing over writers finding their voice. Find your voice, writing instructors told me. Here’s how to find your voice, craft talks assured me. Once you find your voice, it will unlock everything, writing books promised. I’m starting to question, though, that voice is the big deal everyone seems to think it is. I’mContinue reading “Forget Finding Your Voice, Find Your Subject”

Fiction Seminar Textbooks: Part 2

Well, it took me long enough! But I did finally get around to finishing and reviewing my final three textbooks from last semester’s fiction seminar in the Accessible MFA. If you’re looking for books on writing craft and philosophy, check out the titles below to see if any of these sound good. (And by theContinue reading “Fiction Seminar Textbooks: Part 2”

Ableism and Classism Underlie the MFA Model

Every few years, a white man in the mainstream literary community publishes a curmudgeonly piece about how entitled, lazy, and whiny creative writing students can be. They often point to these qualities as the only things that hold back writers, aside from another likely possibility: a lack of talent. Recently, I came across just suchContinue reading “Ableism and Classism Underlie the MFA Model”

Three Literary Journals to Try If You’re New to the Neighborhood

Nineteen years ago, I served as literary editor for my college’s literary journal. It was a fun, demanding job that gave me a deep appreciation for the slush pile. For those new to this, a slush pile is a stack of writing that nobody asked you to send. But you sent it anyway. And backContinue reading “Three Literary Journals to Try If You’re New to the Neighborhood”

Fiction Seminar Textbooks: Part 1

It’s been a whirlwind of a semester. I had six textbooks, so today I’m going to share my thoughts on the first three. These are from the Art of series by Graywolf Press, edited by Charles Baxter roughly 14 years ago. Since an MFA student first recommended The Art of Subtext to me, I’ve beenContinue reading “Fiction Seminar Textbooks: Part 1”

Three Elite Literary Journals for Your Bucket List

Before you get all hopeless about breaking into literary journals, let’s do a reality check. If you’re getting nothing but rejections, it might not be you. Well, I mean, it definitely is you. Literary journals aren’t responsible for breaking down our doors (or failing to do so) when they sense we’ve just hit “save” onContinue reading “Three Elite Literary Journals for Your Bucket List”

Three Literary Journals I’m Reading Right Now

One of my Accessible MFA assignments this semester is to read more literary journals. It’s a no-brainer: If you want to publish, you should read outlets where you’d like to see your work printed. But it’s also something I’ve just never got around to. Mainly because there are just SO. MANY. GODDAMN. LITERARY. JOURNALS. IContinue reading “Three Literary Journals I’m Reading Right Now”

Five Literary Theories and Their Limitations

This is going to be one of my last posts on literary theory, I promise. At least for a bit. Well, maybe until I finish reading David Herman’s essay “Narrative Theory after the Second Cognitive Revolution” (fascinating stuff about the mind itself as a product, as well as a producer, of discourse). We’ll see. ButContinue reading “Five Literary Theories and Their Limitations”

Fiction Seminar Syllabus

Half the fun of doing an Accessible MFA in Creative Writing is planning it. It’s been a blast to put together this latest course, and I think it fits well with the rest of my program. So today I’m sharing my plan for this semester. Of course, with chronic migraines, my semesters are all outContinue reading “Fiction Seminar Syllabus”