Tag Archives: The People’s MFA

Creating a Character Template

Dr. Johnson called remarriage “the triumph of hope over experience.” The same might be said of writing a second novel before selling the first. Yet here I stand at the altar again, veiled, clutching a bouquet, arrayed in the sleek second-wedding ivory suit, tuning … Continue reading

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Alligators and Flash Fiction

Flash fiction is a strange beast, isn’t it? It’s compressed like a poem or a joke. It tries to do many things in a tight space: create a tiny narrative arc, suggest fully-formed characters in a gesture or two, allude … Continue reading

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The People’s MFA

I have a new essay on Neil Fein’s Magnificent Nose today about the People’s MFA, and about a particular session taught by Professor Michael Chabon. I’ve been thinking for some time about the process by which writers consciously and unconsciously model, … Continue reading

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“The Goldfinch”

Now that Donna Tartt has won the Pulitzer for The Goldfinch, I should probably link to my review of her beautiful novel on Neil Fein’s Magnificent Nose. A time-honored axiom among screenwriters and novelists is “Chase your character up a tree and … Continue reading

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What Would Dashiell Hammett Do?

In its 2013 summer fiction issue, The New Yorker magazine ran a Dashiell Hammett story called “An Inch and a Half of Glory” written in the 1920s, but previously unpublished. Parked at the station, waiting for my daughter’s train, I … Continue reading

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“Popping the Hood”

Over on Neil Fein’s Magnificent Nose, I have a post up about reading like a writer, including the tragic tale of how I lost my magical reading powers and what I got in exchange. Read the essay here.  Thanks!     … Continue reading

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