Take Your Stories From Good to Outstanding: Introducing the Short Story Incubator with Ron MacLean

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In advance of our inaugural Short Story Incubator program, instructor Ron MacLean explains what fiction writers can get out of six-months intensive study, describes his ideal Incubator student, and lays out the program's "ruthless and joyous focus on taking stories from workshop good to publishable." 

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Interviews The Workshop

The Power of Scary Stories

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Why am I drawn to scary stories? Because they're hard to write well, and challenge is always attractive to me. But also because fear is primal. Fear is part of who we are (or at least part of who I am), and I'm interested, more and more, in how people respond to what terrifies them. Psychological terror intrigues me most. I'm less interested in blood on the page than I am in perceived danger that might or might not be true

Ron MacLean

Craft Advice

Unity of Opposites: A Storytelling Model

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(Part 3 in an erratic series)

Structure is something many writers, especially short story writers, aren’t conscious of. If we are, most likely it’s in the form of the story curve – the classical approach to defining narrative structure – that’s been burned into our consciousness

For decades, the Fichtean curve almost exclusively defined the short story

Ron MacLean

Craft Advice

What Is Story? A Journey of Understanding, Part 2

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Like any evolving human, my perspective changes with time on some of the questions that preoccupy me. One of those that’s been changing (again) recently is my engagement with the question, “what is story?”

It’s been a long time since I fully subscribed to the Fichtean curve, or to a purely plot-based Aristotelian vision of conflict-complication-climax as the only (or even primary) definition of story

Ron MacLean

Craft Advice

Four Characteristics of Any Successful Story

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This begins a three-part series, written in reverse: this installment is the conclusion; over the next two months (on fourth Fridays), I’ll trace that conclusion back to its roots. It all swirls around an ongoing exploration that’s at the core of my writing (and teaching) practice: what is story – and how can we continue to make story new while honoring what it has always been?

Ron MacLean

Craft Advice