Craft Corner

Craft Corner: Collaborative Writing Exercises

A massive ugly face sits on a long neck, attached to a mess of tentacles for arms and the skinny legs of a flamingo. You might see a drawing like this on the walls of an art classroom: an exquisite corpse. Most of us remember this activity from our childhood. You begin by folding a...

Craft Corner: Character Counterpointing

Characters lie at the heart of many great stories. The things that happen to them, or their desires, are often the impetus for plot to take shape. The way we give information about these characters: their wants, their likes and dislikes, their backstories, etc., are all part of characterization. This is the process of making...

Craft Corner: An Argument for Non-Linearity  

Eggs for breakfast. Turkey sandwich for lunch. Spaghetti for dinner.   Short stories and novels tend to use the same structure over and over again: linear. Probably because linear stories make sense. The story starts somewhere, character A makes a mistake or changes their life or meets character B, and then conflict arises out of that...

Craft Corner: Code-Switching as Shapeshifting in Poetry

A poem that moves between languages has a special mystery. As a Mexican American writer, the Spanish/English code-switch speaks to me in a personal, almost mystical way. Through its agility, I feel the fluidity and tension of dual language, culture, myth, and perception. I sense the poem’s exploration of “otherness,” but also its “both-ness,” which...