fiction

Mary Catharine Martin | On Writing Characters Who Don’t Look Like You

For the last few years, I’ve been conflicted about something integral to fiction: writing characters with different backgrounds and experiences from me. I am white, and though I now live in Alaska, my family has deep roots in the south. I have benefited in pretty major and obvious ways from white privilege. I don’t want …

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Guest Blogger Mary Catharine Martin | What Makes a Fascinating — or Endearing — Character?

I recently finished Tales of Burning Love, by Louise Erdrich. The book centers around a man named Jack Mauser, the women who love or have loved him, and their families. Jack is a womanizer—a woman-lover, one might say, as he approaches all his encounters with as pure a heart as a womanizer could. One of his (successive) wives is …

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49 Writers: Guest Blogger Mary Catharine Martin | On Research, Berries, and Living a Writerly Life

Mary Catharine Martin cooks dinner along the Nisutlin River in the Yukon in September 2014. (Photo: Bjorn Dihle) Six years ago this summer, I hiked up Juneau’s Granite Creek Basin with my partner Bjorn, looking for berries. It was my first season of gathering in Alaska, and everything about it was thrilling. Red, yellow, and …

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Guest Blogger Lucian Childs | After the Soufflé Falls

Some thoughts on revision  with quotes from Mrs. Dalloway by Virginia Woolf    “Mrs. Dalloway said she would buy the flowers herself.” Call me Clarissa. I like to give a good dinner party. I like a smart table full of good food, conversation, and laughs. What are the elements of a successful dinner party? Setting, a …

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49 Writers: Guest Blogger Lucian Childs | Writing and Nostalgia

“He says, narrative is the aftermath of violent events. It is a means of reconciling yourself with the past. He says,  the violence in the Odyssey is a story told afterwards, in a cave.” —Rachel Cusk, Aftermath: On Marriage and Separation I find it difficult to write about the present day. Specifically, it’s been hard …

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Mary Catharine Martin | The Perils of Writing Wilderness: On Dave Eggers’s ‘Heroes of the Frontier’

In the last few months, Alaska has been brutal to people I know. A friend who’s so knowledgeable about the wilderness he teaches college classes on the subject got mauled by a bear on a mountain outside Haines. The outdoors-savvy boyfriend of a friend disappeared while running or hiking outside Nome. A bush pilot I …

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Guest Blogger: Kim Heacox wants you to Set Your Fiction on Fire!

I know a dedicated woman who worked for years on her first novel. Over and over again she tried to sell it, always revising it to meet publishers’ expectations. Finally she burned it. She threw a big party, invited her friends over, served up food and drinks, and tossed her masterpiece into the flames, page-by-page. …

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