Plot & Structure Exercise 8.9: Flipping a Genre

Today’s exercise stretches our imaginations just a little bit further. It tasks us with picking a well established genre. Then flipping it upside down. The example it gives is of George Lucas setting a western story in outer space. In my case, we’re going to pick the Romance genre, but […]

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Plot & Structure Exercise 8.8: Steal, Burp, Grow

Remember. These 8s are exercises in generating ideas for plot. Also a great way to keep the mind limber. It absolutely sucks to drag your heels through hell, when it comes to writing. I speak for all writers when I say, preferable is it to write without thought, empty of […]

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Plot & Structure Exercise 8.7: Lead with the Lead

We are back to cropping ideas for plot. Today’s, claims Mr Bell, works like this: Develop a dynamic character, and see where it leads.   I think Cortázar claimed this method. He was always interested in the people populating his stories. The story could be about anything, so long as […]

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Sustenance, Sex, & Safety

It’s the morning, and I wake up with a terrible ache in my stomach, my wife gone, and darkness all around me. I don’t know the time, but surely she’s gotten up earlier to make coffee in the kitchen. I have to get there.   My eyes don’t work, however. […]

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The Guy in the Self-help Section

There once was a handsome man, with a big jaw and strong hands, a great job and many good years ahead of him. But, despite these blessings, there was one thing about him not so great, something odd and embarrassing. The minute he opened his mouth, he became aware of […]

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In an unlit break room, at the end of lunch, two coworkers chat. The first tries to comfort the second, because she has just had a miscarriage. The worst part, she admits, is that while she has accepted the loss, her body hasn’t, awaiting something that will not come.   […]

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snow impatient

Snow Impatient

There’s nothing I hate more than wasting time, except talking about it. Yet I knew there was a pointless fight to be had as soon as I got home from the office. So I took the highway, hoping to speed down the left lane, get to my wife quicker than […]

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fairy tale

George and Hannah

There once was a secretary and a school teacher who loved each other very much, but they seemed to always argue over the children. They were hers, he said. She should do more to take care of them. Yeah, but I’m more busy than you, and you live in my […]

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Birthdays of Levinov

Birthdays of Levinov

2018. Julia sat at a table alone with a birthday cake. Stuck to the creamy icing were six wax candles and a red letter A. She had spent the morning mixing chocolate and eggs for her son, to see him enjoy the three or four slices he was capable of […]

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the man who no one loved

The Man Who No One Loved

I.   Leroy was an exceptional man. Except, for one reason or another, no one wanted to date him. It led to much confusion, then suffering. Why?   In answering this question, he began to consider his mother. The cause of his loneliness might be in her. Only, she was […]

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reflex reflux

R E F L E X + R E F L U X

With my inner wrist, I wiped the last dregs of vomit from my lips. The sickness was finally gone. Inside that toilet bowl was Bali, my dysentery, was Singapore, our sorrow, yesterday’s night out. I flushed, and washed my mouth, felt healthy. Sam was swinging his head to a song […]

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Lunas u Moons

“Lunas и Moons (Un Voyage Fantastique)”

? To be in any form, what is that? If nothing lay more developed the quahaug and its callous shell                 were enough. Mine is no callous shell, I have instant conductors all over me whether I pass or stop, They seize every object and lead it harmlessly through me. […]

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The Summer Abroad a novel

Deleted Scene: “The Summer Abroad: in Norway”

The twins left. It was only Morgan and me in the apartment—Oslo ice blue as ever, sweet; distant Earth—we woke up late, scrambled up some sardines for breakfast and sat around all day watching videos on YouTube. There was stillness in that apartment, stillness and the occasional laugh from a […]

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first date

Excerpt from thesis: “First Date”

It is as hot as last Sunday. The air smells like sand and seafoam. There she is.   The same waitress works today. She wears an apron, but who cares. Ilya is distracted. He can’t look straight at the woman he is meant to join. He sees her table has […]

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ojos de malaquita

Excerpt from “Ojos de Malaquita”

I’ve realized that there is no point in occulting any more on this page, or any page really. After all, I can always delete the extremes, though I’ll try not to. Yeah. This’ll be the only fully autobiographical work I’ll write. The truest to the details. But for that reason, […]

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I Am Ana

(Excerpt from “I Am Ana”) Short: “Cigarette”

Later that night, Ana walked to the bar to prove to Lindsey that the lighter still worked. She had called the lighter broken. “Fill it up then,” Lindsey replied, with her usual big smile, “and bring it tonight.” The gravity of these words did not escape Ana, who muttered, “T-tonight, […]

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Sore-throated and restless, our hero today discovers the root.   He moved to a new city last week, and has been learning the language. Technically, it’s an old city, old language, since his family is from here originally. For this, something tells him he has returned to the city, although […]

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short story

“Forever, for ever, or never”

The restroom was occupied.   So Margot danced to the center, where Gaspar and Linda were wrapped in a single embrace. When the couple noticed who was approaching, they made room.   “Happy birthday,” shouted Gaspar.   “You throw cool parties,” followed Linda.   Margot thanked the new couple, handing […]

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human sacrifice

Blanco Brown: a story of sacrifice in Aztlán

for Gloria Anzaldúa   Open your eyes. Over you stands an eagle-looking priest with an obsidian knife in his hand, ready to cut open your chest from throat to stomach. It’s for a god you do not believe in, but because your hands are tied, you better believe.   Dizzy, […]

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