The Dramatic Arc

By Ray Foy How deliberately do you build your fiction from units of problem-complications-climax? Maybe you don’t think about it and write “by the seat of your pants.” Even so, a good understanding of this “unit of fiction,” better known as “the dramatic arc,” will only improve your storytelling. The dramatic arc is a vital… Read More The Dramatic Arc

Approaching Dickey’s “Approaching Prayer”

BY DAVIS ENLOE In the poem, “Approaching Prayer,” James Dickey takes on the dilemma of the irrational, or more directly, the soul. This poem, which Dickey calls his most “complicated and far-fetched,” appears in his fourth book, Helmets. Consider the five opening lines of “Approaching Prayer,”             A moment tries to come in             Through… Read More Approaching Dickey’s “Approaching Prayer”

Reading Malone Dies: How and Why Does it Work?

BY AMBER WHEELER BACON In Malone Dies, Samuel Beckett breaks many of the rules that writing teachers teach in workshop—regarding breaking sequence, reader confusion and plot. While reading it, I kept asking myself, “Why do I love this?” If there’s a plot, it’s barely there. The reader is confused from the beginning and stays confused… Read More Reading Malone Dies: How and Why Does it Work?

Dreyer’s English: An Utterly Correct Guide to Clarity and Style, Benjamin Dreyer

by Jayne Bowers At first it seemed amusing, or rather the Facebook banter about the book seemed amusing. Intrigued by a friend’s comments about her personal use of the exclamation point, I clicked the link she had posted to a New York Times article about Dreyer’s English: An Utterly Correct Guide to Clarity and Style.… Read More Dreyer’s English: An Utterly Correct Guide to Clarity and Style, Benjamin Dreyer