Guide A Fine Cast of Characters: A Short Story Collection

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But before Jon can declare his love for his soul mate, he is kidnapped, and his plans for a normal life are permanently dashed. Four years later, Jon reappears. He is different now: bigger, stronger, and with no memory of the time he was gone. Jon wants to pick up where he and Chloe left off—until the horrifying instant he realizes he possesses strange powers that pose a grave threat to everyone he cares for.

Afraid of hurting Chloe, Jon runs away, embarking on a journey for answers. Meanwhile, in Providence, Rhode Island, healthy college students and townies with no connection to one another are inexplicably dropping dead. But when he starts asking questions, Eggs is plunged into a shocking whodunit he never could have predicted. With an intense, mesmerizing voice, Caroline Kepnes makes keen and powerful observations about human connection and how love and identity can dangerously blur together.

It has been optioned for film by Jessica Chastain's Freckle Films. Raised in the Midwest, she lives with her family in Washington, DC. Woman 99 When Charlotte Smith's wealthy parents commit her beloved sister Phoebe to the infamous Goldengrove Asylum, Charlotte knows there's more to the story than madness.

Ford County by John Grisham

She risks everything and follows her sister inside, surrendering her real identity as a privileged young lady of San Francisco society to become a nameless inmate, Woman The longer she stays, the more she realizes that many of the women of Goldengrove aren't insane, merely inconvenient—and that her search for the truth threatens to dig up secrets that some very powerful people would do anything to keep. A historical thriller rich in detail, deception, and revelation, Woman 99 honors the fierce women of the past, born into a world that denied them power but underestimated their strength.

The Burning Girl Julia and Cassie have been friends since nursery school.

3 Tips for Writing a Large Cast of Characters - Writing Advice

They have shared everything, including their desire to escape the stifling limitations of their birthplace, the quiet town of Royston, Massachusetts. But as the two girls enter adolescence, their paths diverge, and Cassie sets out on a journey that will put her life in danger and shatter her oldest friendship. Her next novel, Waisted, will be released May 21, Eventually, he creates a financial dynasty, and she trusts him without hesitation—unaware his hunger for success hides a dark talent for deception.

Maura is also the great-granddaughter of Eleanor and Franklin D. Word of his death travels from the longtime family lawyer to his clan of children from four separate marriages and the news isn't good.

“The Stone Boy” by Gina Berriault (1957)

And Nick is nowhere to be found. Brooke, the oldest of the children, who is unexpectedly pregnant, leads the search for Nick, hoping to convince him to let her keep her Boston home and her fragile composure. Soon, all three siblings are faced with the question they have been running from their whole lives: What do they want their future to look like, if they can finally escape their past? He lives in Portland, Maine.

Warm, funny, wise, and poignant, the essays included here traverse Russo's writing life, expanding our understanding of who he is and how his singular, incredibly generous mind works. An utter joy to read, they give deep insight into the creative process from the perspective of one of our greatest writers. She co-edited the anthology Wanting a Child. Her new novel, Come with Me , has just been published to considerable critical acclaim. Donny is a baby genius, a junior at Stanford in his spare time. Donny wants Amy to be his guinea pig.

Who would she be if she had made different choices, loved different people? Where would she be now? Her latest work, The Night Before , will be released on May 14, She has sold rights to her books in twenty-three languages as well as film and television options. Prior to her writing career, Walker practiced both corporate and family law, having earned her JD from Georgetown University Law Center and her undergraduate degree from Brown University.

She is currently finishing her fourth thriller and managing a busy household in Fairfield County, Connecticut, where she lives with her three sons. She falls too hard and too fast, always choosing the wrong men. Rosie Ferro has spent most of her life worrying about her troubled sister. Fearless but fragile, Laura has always walked an emotional tightrope, and Rosie has always been there to catch her. When Laura does not return home the following morning, Rosie fears the worst.

As Rosie begins a desperate search to find her sister, she is not just worried about what this man might have done to Laura. The painting into which Roman inserts the likeness of his murdered brother becomes a leitmotif that wends its way through the volume, as do a mixtape that the ill-fated mercenary, Kolya, carries with him, and a cut-rate espionage thriller called Deceit Web , which the ballerina's granddaughter is cast in after she hooks up romantically with a corrupt Russian oligarch.

Throughout these stories — which can stand alone or be read as one continuous, interlocking narrative — Marra walks a precarious tightrope, balancing humour with pathos, and punctuating achingly human situations with the stark exigencies of politics and war. The author's use of violence is impressive and vivid: Bodies are rent and mistreated, not in any gratuitous way, but as a means of underscoring the degradations and depredations of war and its aftermath.

And the directness of the prose belies the range and depth these stories achieve: Marra's ability to inhabit characters as diverse as a Soviet-era censor and a contemporary adolescent girl is notable, as is his effective use, in the story Granddaughters , of the first-person plural voice. Only the brief final entry, The End , which adopts the perspective of Kolya after he has been killed by a rebel land mine, comes across as unconvincing.

This metaphysical reverie seems unnecessary after the carefully calibrated, grounded realism of the pieces that precede it. Readers might be advised to set the book aside having completed the penultimate story, after which they can marvel at the imaginative edifice that the author has created and sustained to that point. Toronto's Jess Taylor does not link the stories in her debut collection as tightly as Marra — though certain characters do reappear in successive entries, many of the stories in Pauls are discrete, united only by similarities in theme and subject, and the fact that they each contain a character named Paul.

Depending on the story, Paul may be male or female short for "Paulina" , and may serve as the central character or a figure on the periphery. What unites these characters — aside from their names — is their woundedness. They are all scarred, be it psychically, emotionally or physically, and they are all trying to navigate a path through life that will allow them to heal or, at the very least, find a way to live with the wounds they have accrued.

In Claire's Fine , the title character, whom we are given to understand has been the victim of a sexual assault, works in a greeting-card store, where she is in charge of the section devoted to sympathy cards.

This is one example of Taylor's penchant for playing her hand too obviously; another is Paul's affliction in Breakfast Curry — a blood condition that prevents cuts on his body from healing. The title of Claire's story is bleakly ironic, and she muses at one point on the various connotations associated with the word "fine": "When someone asks, How are you? You can say, Fine, and mean the opposite, or you can mean, I am like a careful line of stitching, how are you?

You can mean, I am delicate. Be careful that I don't get snagged and unravel. The characters in these stories are in constant danger of unravelling; Taylor is adept at capturing the anxiety-ridden tenor of the current zeitgeist. Paulina in Multicoloured Lights is a submissive who has suffered abuse at the hands of her cousin with whom she had a sexual relationship before he tried to kill her and is a victim of date rape after she goes home with a man who slips something in her drink she doesn't remember the assault, but comes to naked in an apartment hallway.

The policewoman who takes Paul's statement says there is not enough to follow up on: "As far as we know, you guys could have both just gotten retarded-drunk. All of this speaks to issues that are front-and-centre in the public sphere, and does so in a way that is frank and resonant. But the effect is diluted by a pervasive similarity among the stories — most of the narrators sound the same, an effect that is unfortunately heightened by the choice to use the same character name throughout — and a tendency toward heavy-handedness.

The ice storm that looms over the long final story, Degenerate , is too explicit as a reflection of the story's thematic concerns, even if it hadn't already been used in a similar capacity by Rick Moody two decades before. Get writing.

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It looks like this, according to bestselling Dean Koontz : Plunge your main character into terrible trouble as soon as possible. That trouble will mean something different depending on your genre. For a thriller it might be life-threatening. For a romance it might mean choosing between two suitors. Everything your character does to try to get out of the trouble makes it only worse. Eventually things appear hopeless. Finally, everything your character has learned through all that trouble gives him what he needs to win the day—or fail.

That structure will keep you—and your reader—engaged. Step 2. Aim for the Heart The most effective short stories evoke deep emotions in the reader. What will move them? Step 3.

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Combine characters where you can. Eliminate scenes that merely get your characters from one place to another. Step 4. Make Your Title Sing Work hard on what to call your short story. Step 5.


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Use the Classic Story Structure Once your title has pulled the reader in, how do you hold his interest? So use the same basic approach: Plunge your character into terrible trouble from the get-go. Of course, terrible trouble means something different for different genres. In a thriller, your character might find himself in physical danger, a life or death situation. In a love story, the trouble might be emotional, a heroine torn between two lovers.

In a mystery, your main character might witness a crime, and then be accused of it.


  1. Death and the Underworld (Legends Book 4).
  2. At Midnight: Choice Fowlers Story;
  3. Enter your name and email below to instantly access my ultimate self-editing checklist..
  4. Lorrie Moore on Her New Short-Story Collection Bark and Relocating to Nashville.
  5. Longarm 416: Longarm and the Town Full of Trouble.
  6. Minty (Blood Sisters Book 2).
  7. Get on with it. Step 6. Step 7. When in Doubt, Leave it Out Short stories are, by definition, short. Step 8. Ensure a Satisfying Ending This is a must. Bring down the curtain with a satisfying thud. Step 9. Examples: She shrugged her shoulders. He blinked his eyes. Contests Writing contests are great because the winners usually get published in either a magazine or online—which means instant visibility for your name.

    Genre-Specific Periodicals Such publications cater to audiences who love stories written in their particular literary category. If you can score with one of these, the editor will likely come back to you for more. Popular Magazines Plenty of print and online magazines still buy and publish short stories. Literary Magazines While, admittedly, this market calls for a more intellectual than mass market approach to writing, getting published in one is still a win.