Tag Archives: short story

What I Learned from John Keeble

Share

I attended the University of Alabama’s MFA program between 1991-1995. During that period, I took two workshops with writer John Keeble, a visiting writer who taught at Eastern Washington University. He made a great impression on both my writing and my … Continue reading

Posted in Teaching | Tagged , , | 2 Comments

Novels vs. Stories in MFA Programs Survey Results

Share

My plan was to release the survey results one question at a time via ruminative blog posts like this one on whether MFA programs are “anti-novel” or not and this one on the “professionalization” question. But I’ve changed my mind. Many people … Continue reading

Posted in CW Programs, Teaching | Tagged , , , , , , | 2 Comments

Take My Survey about Novels in MFA Programs

Share

“Of all the ambient commonplaces about MFA programs, perhaps the only accurate one is that the programs are organized around the story form.” Chad Harbach said this in his n+1/Slate essay, “MFA or NYC?” Do you think he’s right? I … Continue reading

Posted in CW Programs, Teaching, Writing | Tagged , , , , , , | 14 Comments

Novels to Stories, Stories to Novel

Share

If you’re looking for a way to turn a novel into short stories or (more likely) turn stories into a novel, try these activities. First, novel into stories.  1.) Read “The Beau Monde of Mrs. Bridge,” a short story by … Continue reading

Posted in Teaching, Writing | Tagged , , , , , , | 9 Comments

Aesthetic Diversity + Imitation = My Short Story Class

Share

In honor of National Short Story Month, I thought I’d share this course with you, a short story survey that focuses on imitations. I always include this picture on my syllabus, a visual representation of my pedagogical approach. In the … Continue reading

Posted in Teaching, Writing | Tagged , , , , | 9 Comments

You’re Not Ready to Write a Novel: by Rebecca Rasmussen

Share

If you would like to write a guest post for “The Big Thing,” by all means, let me know. Maybe we could trade? That’s what debut novelist Rebecca Rasmussen and I did. My essay on “Literary Citizenship” appeared on her … Continue reading

Posted in Teaching, Writing | Tagged , , , , | 14 Comments

How I Taught Myself to Write a Novel

Share

My first book, The Circus in Winter, a novel-in-stories, was written over the course of twelve years-one story at a time-and thus provides a wide-ranging experience as the reader observes me trying on different aesthetic approaches. There was one narrative … Continue reading

Posted in Writing | Tagged , , , , | 1 Comment

MFA vs. NYC = Team Short Story vs. Team Novel

Share

In his book, The Program Era: Postwar Fiction and the Rise of Creative Writing, Mark McGurl says that it’s time we paid attention to the “increasingly intimate relation between literary production and the practices of higher education.” So. This is … Continue reading

Posted in CW Programs, Teaching | Tagged , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

The Virtual Teacher’s Lounge

Share

Over the weekend, I responded to a Facebook status update. “KYLE MINOR notices that MFA programs are producing more good short story writers than good novelists. Many of my friends from many different programs have had difficulty, post-graduation moving from … Continue reading

Posted in Teaching | Tagged , , , , , , | Leave a comment

It’s not a story. It’s a manuscript.

Share

I know someone who took a Novel Workshop in college. This is how it went down. First, they studied the first sentences of a bunch of novels and wrote one of their own, then workshopped it. Then they studied first … Continue reading

Posted in Teaching | Tagged , , , | 3 Comments