Black and white photograph of person facing away in ocean

Relax! Relax! Relax!

At my daughter’s swim lesson a few years ago, an enthusiastic teacher stood hip-deep in the pool with a plastic clipboard, laminated sheet, and wax pencil.  The eight-year-olds water-wheeled by, chins awkwardly raised above the surface in desperate attempts to doggy paddle their way through the crawl.  As they passed he shouted, “Relax! Relax! Relax!”  …

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Craft in the Real World book cover

The New Plot

I’ve read two books recently that are knocking over some of the great pillars of craft supporting my writing practice.  I’m both disconcerted and thrilled. First, Craft in the Real World: Rethinking Fiction Writing and Workshopping.  Matthew Salesses, a Korean American novelist, explores how culturally bound our contemporary literary standards are, which is why they …

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