Read Like A Writer

There are two ways to learn how to write fiction: by reading it and by writing it. Yes, you can learn lots about writing stories in workshops, in writing classes and writing groups, at writers' conferences. You can learn technique and process by reading the dozens of books like this one on fiction writing and by reading articles in writers' magazines. But the best teachers of fiction are the great works of fiction themselves. You can learn more about the structure of a short story by reading Anton Chekhov's 'Heartache' than you can in a semester of Creative Writing 101. If you read like a writer, that is, which means you have to read everything twice, at least. When you read a story or novel the first time, just let it happen. Enjoy the journey. When you've finished, you know where the story took you, and now you can go back and reread, and this time notice how the writer reached that destination. Notice the choices he made at each chapter, each sentence, each word. (Every word is a choice.) You see now how the transitions work, how a character gets across a room. All this time you're learning. You loved the central character in the story, and now you can see how the writer presented the character and rendered her worthy of your love and attention. The first reading is creative—you collaborate with the writer in making the story. The second reading is critical.

John Dufresne, from his book, The Lie That Tells A Truth: A Guide to Writing Fiction


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Friday, September 2, 2016

The Best Short Stories of 1916, and the Yearbook of the American Short Stories


Introduction. By the Editor i

The Sacrificial Altar. By Gertrude Atherton . . 7

(From Harper's Magazine)

Miss Willett. By Barry Benefield 37

(From The Century Magazine)

Supers. By Frederick Booth 52

(From The Seven Arts Magazine)

Fog. By Dana Burnet 58

(From McBride's Magazine)

Ma's Pretties. By Francis Buzzell 75

(From The Pictorial Review)

The Great Auk. By Irvin S. Cobb 85

(From The Saturday Evening Post)

The Lost Phoebe. By Theodore Dreiser 115

(From The Century Magazine)

The Silent Intare. By Armistead C. Gordon . . 133

(From Scribner's Magazine)

The Cat of the Cane-Brake. By Frederick Stuart
Greene 149

(From The Metropolitan Magazirte)

Making Port. By Richard Matthews Hallet ... 162

(From Every Week)

"Ice Water, Pl—!" By Fannie Hurst 181

(From Collier's Weekly)

Little Selves. By Mary Lerner 212

(From The Atlantic Monthly)

The Sun Chaser. By Jeannette Marks 226

(From The Pictorial Review)

At the End of the Road. By Walter J. Muilenburg 262

(From The Forum)

The Big Stranger on Dorchester Heights. By Albert Du Verney Pentz 272

(From The Boston Evening Transcript)

The Menorah. By Benjamin Rosenblatt 275

(From The Bellman)

Penance. By Elsie Singmaster 282

(From The Pictorial Review)

Feet of Gold. By Gordon Arthur Smith 294

(From Scribner's Magazine)

Down on Their Knees. By Wilbur Daniel Steele . 322

(From Harper's Magazine)

Half-Past Ten. By Alice L. Tildesley 349

(From The Black Cat)

The Yearbook of the American Short Story for 1916  357

The Roll of Honor for 1916 359

Volumes of Short Stories Published During 1916   365

Fifty American Short Stories of 1916 : A Critical

Summary 374

Necrology for 1916 388

Magazine Averages for 1916 389

Index of Short Stories for 1916 394

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