What’s the secret of success for a story? That’s the mystery I tried to solve when I interviewed Weike Wang this past weekend at the Gotham Writers Conference. The answer may vary depending on the story, but I hoped to find insight that would be useful to other writers.
Weike released her novel Chemistry in 2017. She got written up and reviewed in all the good places (New York Times, New Yorker, etc.). The novel won a Whiting Award for emerging writers and the PEN/Hemingway award for debut novels (awards that have been won by the likes of Jhumpa Lahiri and David Foster Wallace). Most importantly, lots of people read and loved her novel. Continue reading “A Story’s Chemistry”
Note to writers: This letter contains spoilers of the film Fatal Attraction. Be forewarned!
Back when I was single, I accidentally scared off a few dates by mentioning that I sympathized with the character of Alex in the film Fatal Attraction.
Hear me out.
You may recall — Alex (played by Glenn Close) has a weekend fling with her married co-worker, Dan (Michael Douglas), and when Dan spurns her for his wife, Alex loses it. She tries to win Dan back (one appeal involves a suicide attempt), and when she realizes he’s gone for good, she destroys his car, kidnaps his daughter, and in the movie’s most iconic scene, boils the family’s pet bunny. Continue reading “The Shadow”
We all live in fear. Some of us more than others, but we all have secret dreads lurking in the corners of our mind. Fear of growing old, or letting our children come to harm, or not making the grade, or perhaps a ghostly presence we sense late at night.
Look for the fears in your stories, and bring them to life in ways so we, too, feel that fear.
Fear can play a role in any kind of story, but it’s especially prominent in those stories with a touch of horror. A really scary story—one that scares Stephen King and Neil Gaiman—is Shirley Jackson’s novel The Haunting of Hill House (now adapted into a TV series). Continue reading “Be Afraid”