Tag Archives: quote

His prose, like the snow of good King Wenceslas, is deep and crisp and even, neither over-florid nor pedestrian…

James Harpur, judge of the 2012 Frank O’Connor short story award, commenting on Nathan Englander’s stories.

Editors and agents all say they are looking for a “fresh voice.” What they mean is a fresh voice they can actually sell. Everyone wants to land in that sweet spot where originality and commerce meet to make that ka-ching sound.

You will grow as a writer, and get closer to that sweet spot, if you take more risks with your writing. Push yourself past comfortable limits. Deepen your style and character work. Especially if you’re doing genre books where we’ve seen just about everything many times over.

James Scott Bell

When forced to work within a strict framework, the imagination is taxed to its utmost… and will produce its richest ideas. Given total freedom, the work is likely to sprawl.

T. S. Eliot

The Short Form Is Hard…

“The short form is hard. You need to have the scope of a novel on a canvas a fraction of the size. Your story should be something a reader will turn to from time to time in the same way that people listen to certain songs before they get ready to go out or fall asleep. You’ll need to be economical, and resist the urge of parable or one-act morality play. You need a beginning, middle and end, and a last line that resonates long after the story is over. “

— Max Dunbar, 3:AM Magazine, from a review of Sarah Hall’s short story collection “The Beautiful Indifference”