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

The Novel is Back! (Well, sort of.)

I’m so excited I might split my pants. This fall, the literary world gets two giant releases: Jonathan Franzen’s Purity and Avenue of Mysteries, John Irving’s fourteenth novel. I might very well drive to Barnes & Noble, pluck these novels from the shelf, and stand in the checkout line. I might take my time with … Continue reading The Novel is Back! (Well, sort of.)

Things You Will Learn From Spending A Day With Percival Everett

You will learn that Percival Everett’s favorite word is No. You will learn that the gizmo used to castrate a horse is called – somewhat appropriately – an emasculator. You will learn the importance of reading forklift manuals. You will learn that Percival Everett doesn’t believe in the ‘craft’ of writing. You will learn about … Continue reading Things You Will Learn From Spending A Day With Percival Everett

Contributor Update: Sam J. Miller

Sam J. Miller's "Operation Skunk," excerpted below, first appeared in Issue 70 (2008) of the minnesota review. Since its publication, Miller has also released Horror After 9/11 (2011), a critical anthology co-edited with Aviva Briefel, along with pieces in The Rumpus, Slice Magazine, Arts and Letters, Strange Horizons, and Electric Velocipede. Miller also has work … Continue reading Contributor Update: Sam J. Miller

The Best Books We Read in 2013: Fiction Roundup

TMR's fiction readers have a few recommendations up our sleeves—here are the best books we read in the last year. Amy L.'s pick: The Accursed, Joyce Carol Oates (Ecco, 2013) I've been hyping Susan Steinberg's Spectacle a lot this year, but as much as I love that collection, I can't earnestly call it my "favorite." In sort of … Continue reading The Best Books We Read in 2013: Fiction Roundup