A friend of mine, an excellent poet, was talking to me recently about plot. He didn’t understand, he told me, how we fiction writers did it. It was beyond him how we string a series of events together into a story. So here are ten tips for constructing a plot. 1. Plot always begins with…

Read More

In the aftermath of the recent presidential election, much blame has been put on the voters from the rural Midwest, my native land. I’ll admit this is a complicated time for me. Like many of you, I’m angry about a Trump presidency and fearful for what lies ahead. The election has made it clear how…

Read More

Let’s say you’re at a public event and you run into a couple, who also happen to be your dear friends, and let’s say you look at the man and then say with great solemnity, “You have my condolences,” and the woman says as a joke, “Why? Because he’s with me?” And let’s say the…

Read More

Over twenty-five years ago, I was working on a story that ended up being called “The Least You Need to Know.” I’d reached a point in the composition of the story where I didn’t know what would come next. This happened to me often in those days and still does to a certain extent. I’ve…

Read More