As we enter the last few days of 2013, perhaps it’s a good time to offer some thoughts about ending a piece of fiction or nonfiction with resonance. Before I do, though, please let me thank all of you who have read my blog this year, have taken time to leave comments, and offered me…

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Running through the neighborhood this morning, I came upon a young mother playing roller hockey with her two sons at the end of their court. She wasn’t just going through the motions. She was committed, in all the way, and her kids were loving it. My own mother was never a young mother. She was…

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I’m reading Russell Banks’s new story collection, A Permanent Member of the Family, and a few of the stories have reminded me of a good lesson for the writer of short fiction. One of our challenges is to make our stories fresh. To do that, we need to consider how we handle our material. How…

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I wasn’t sure I’d be able to run this morning. A light snow was falling, and the streets already had patches of ice on them from yesterday’s storm. I walked a ways and had just about decided to play it safe. Then I saw a stretch of pavement with no ice on it, and I…

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Last week in my undergraduate fiction workshop, I found myself talking about the value of mystery in the opening of a short story. Of course, there are a number of ways to open a story, but let’s say you’re desperate for one. Let’s say you’re in the pre-writing stage of a new story, and not…

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