Structure

Mystery and Reversal: The Art of a Story’s Middle

I’m thinking today particularly about those of us who write short stories. I know from my own experience, as well as from that of my students, that we often begin a story with a good deal of enthusiasm only to find it faltering in the middle. We spend so much time talking and thinking about the beginnings and endings of stories that we neglect strategies for what to do between the two. This is a post, then, about what to do in the middle of a short story. We first have to think about what the middles of our stories [...]

By | 2017-12-04T08:01:27+00:00 December 4th, 2017|Uncategorized|0 Comments

One Way to Shape a Narrative

Here we are on the other side of the Fourth of July. We’re in the heart of summer now, but I can feel its end and the coming of the crisp days of fall and then the biting winds of winter within the hot, sunny days that will still be ours for some time. Book-length narratives—whether we’re talking novels or memoirs—are like that. The end is always contained in the beginning. Think of The Great Gatsby, which opens with Gatsby longing for Daisy, with Tom Buchannan’s affair with Myrtle Wilson, with Nick Carraway’s romance with Jordan Baker. In Chapter 7, [...]

By | 2017-07-10T07:12:30+00:00 July 10th, 2017|Blog|12 Comments