Latest Entries
What Can We Steal From Katie Chase’s “Man and Wife”?
Short Story

What Can We Steal From Katie Chase’s “Man and Wife”?

Title of Work and its Form: “Man and Wife,” short story Author: Katie Chase Date of Work: 2007 Where the Work Can Be Found: The story originally appeared in the Summer 2007 issue of The Missouri Review, one of the best journals for fiction.  TMR has been kind enough to post the story on their web site for … Continue reading »

What Can We Steal From Charles Baxter’s “Bravery”?
Short Story

What Can We Steal From Charles Baxter’s “Bravery”?

Title of Work and its Form: “Bravery,” short story Author: Charles Baxter Date of Work: 2012 Where the Work Can Be Found: The story debuted in the Winter 2012 issue of Tin House and was subsequently chosen for Best American Short Stories 2013. Bonuses: Here is an interview Mr. Baxter gave to Bookslut.  Here is what Karen Carlson … Continue reading »

What Can We Steal From Erika Anderson’s “Never Write From a Place of Despair”?
Creative Nonfiction

What Can We Steal From Erika Anderson’s “Never Write From a Place of Despair”?

Title of Work and its Form: “Never Write From a Place of Despair,” creative nonfiction Author: Erika Anderson (on Twitter @ErikaOnFire) Date of Work: 2014 Where the Work Can Be Found: The piece debuted in Issue 1 of Midnight Breakfast.  You can find the work here. Bonuses: Ms. Anderson is very kind; she offers a collection of her publications … Continue reading »

Why’d You Do That, Jim Ruland?
Novel

Why’d You Do That, Jim Ruland?

Writers are asked many general questions about their craft. …”What is your overarching philosophy regarding the inherent power of fiction?”…”What IS–character–to you?”…”What is the position of place in your work?”… These are great and important questions, but I’m really curious about the little things.  In the “Hey, Why’d You Do That” series, I ask accomplished … Continue reading »

What Can We Steal From Jim Ruland’s Forest of Fortune?
Novel

What Can We Steal From Jim Ruland’s Forest of Fortune?

Title of Work and its Form: Forest of Fortune, novel Author: Jim Ruland (on Twitter @JimVermin) Date of Work: 2014 Where the Work Can Be Found: Tyrus Books is responsible for publishing the book; why not buy a copy directly from them?  Independent bookstores would also appreciate your business.  The book is also available from Powell’s and … Continue reading »

Sheila Kohler’s Dreaming for Freud and Stealing from Case Studies
Novel

Sheila Kohler’s Dreaming for Freud and Stealing from Case Studies

Friends, after writing my piece about her story “Magic Man,” Sheila Kohler was kind enough to bring her novel Dreaming for Freud to my attention. (Do I wish I already knew about every cool book out there? Yes. Is it possible to read or even to know about every great novel out there? Sigh…no.) Great Writers … Continue reading »

GWS Essay: “The Tough Shit I Learned from Kevin Smith” by Peter Melnick
Creative Nonfiction / Feature Film

GWS Essay: “The Tough Shit I Learned from Kevin Smith” by Peter Melnick

Dear reader, teaching is often as frustrated as it is rewarding.  A teacher cannot force students to care or to learn or to grow…that desire must come from within.  Well, Peter Melnick is a former student of mine, and a fascinating young man who has that internal desire.  The gentleman was kind enough to think … Continue reading »

What Can We Steal From Sheila Kohler’s “Magic Man”?
Short Story

What Can We Steal From Sheila Kohler’s “Magic Man”?

Title of Work and its Form: “Magic Man,” short story Author: Sheila Kohler (on Twitter @sheilakohler) Date of Work: 2012 Where the Work Can Be Found: The story debuted in the April 2012 issue of Yale Review.  Elizabeth Strout and Heidi Pitlor subsequently chose the piece for Best American Short Stories 2013. Bonuses: Here is the New York Times … Continue reading »

GWS Video: What We Can Steal From Great Opening Passages? (Best American Short Stories 2012 Edition)
Video

GWS Video: What We Can Steal From Great Opening Passages? (Best American Short Stories 2012 Edition)

Starting a story can be very difficult, but it’s equally important to craft an opening passage that captures your reader’s attention and gets the narrative humming along.  In this video, I examine how some of the authors whose stories are immortalized in The Best American Short Stories 2012 fulfilled their responsibilities in their opening sentences. Continue reading »