How to Get into Every Single MFA Program of Your Writerly Dreams

  What, like it’s hard? Just like September meant when you were prepping for those undergrad years, September means application season has begun: and this time, for grad school. And not just any kind of grad school, but the writing kind. The arty kind. The hey-mom-don’t-cry-I-might-make-some-money-some-day kind. Like to write? Cool. Like fiction? Poetry? Creative non-fiction? Something with some kind … Continue reading How to Get into Every Single MFA Program of Your Writerly Dreams

Movie Renditions of Books: Yay Or Nay?

Let’s face it—there was once a time when we read a book and fangirl’d hard, waiting for the movie version to come out for Harry Potter, Twilight, or even books geared toward an older audience like Silver Linings Playbook or The Room. After watching the movie we get flabbergasted by the simple fact that Jacob … Continue reading Movie Renditions of Books: Yay Or Nay?

Greetings From Blacksburg

It’s finally that time of year again—the time some of the most rabid Americans have been not-so-patiently waiting for since February: football season. The paint on the gridiron is barely dry, but the concession stand is already out of mustard, the line for the bathroom is wrapped around the building, and the traffic has turned … Continue reading Greetings From Blacksburg

Can Literature Make Sense of War?

Whenever I read literature about war, I'm left with a feeling I can't quite explain. It's something difficult to reify, or even contemplate. One can envision war, see it dramatized, or listen to firsthand accounts told by a relative. But none of that really does any justice to the true experience. Instead, it creates a … Continue reading Can Literature Make Sense of War?

A Complete, Totally Definitive Guide to Short Story Craft

1. Start the story with an intriguing first line, something that propels the reader forward, captures their attention, makes them feel compelled to read on. Do not start with something boring or commonplace. This is the worst thing you can do. This will make the reader throw your story into a trash compactor and compact … Continue reading A Complete, Totally Definitive Guide to Short Story Craft

Making Those Last Words Count

Hopefully you already read this wonderful piece on first lines in fiction. Those sentences are important because, of course, they color a reader’s perception of the rest of the story. Daniel discusses a “solicitation of trust”—“a chance for the author to communicate that the reader is in capable hands.” And he’s right: I’ve put down … Continue reading Making Those Last Words Count

One Reader’s Not-Quite-Manifesto on Poetry Selection for the Lit Magazine

Magazines have outlines for the kinds of work they want – format, delivery, length, and maybe a few general dos and don’ts (no genre pieces, no previously published, no rhyming, please do rhyme, etc.). Beyond that, the only indication anyone usually writers is to “read our previous issues” – which, while not bad practice, doesn’t … Continue reading One Reader’s Not-Quite-Manifesto on Poetry Selection for the Lit Magazine