Stuff to Read for Next Monday, May 3rd

Hi folks,Well, midterms are over, so it’s back to work for us! Since only one of the stories for critique is online, we’re going to discuss this week’s topic, the Telling Detail, today. For this topic and next, I’d like you to read two stories — one a little shorter, and one a little longer — from Maureen McHugh’s short story collection Mothers & Other Monsters. The book is available as a Creative Commons download from Small Beer Press, so go to this page and choose whichever format you prefer. The stories to read are: “Ancestor Money” and “Laika Comes Home Safe.”

By the way, your writing exercise for next week — due Wednesday next week, though if I were you I’d try get it done for Monday — is titled The Telling Detail, and your job is to describe three places you know, using just a few specific details, so that the reader feels vividly what that place is like, or has a clear, vivid mental “picture” of the place. (But remember, “pictures” aren’t just visual. Other senses are great for building up the sense of a place. How does it smell? What sounds can be heard? How does the air feel?) The trick is: describe each place vividly in only 150 words per place.

This is a tight limit, so choose your details carefully. You can have a character in the place, doing something, or you can describe the place without a character in the scene. (I think having a character is easier, so feel free to work with the characters in your major project, writing about places he or she goes, or also feel free to create a new character if you want to explore other places.)

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