Good Writing

Notes from AWP

April 18, 2016

One of the things I like about going to the AWP conference, its massive book fair in particular, is that at the Cossack Review table I’m put in a position, over and over again, of having to articulate where I stand as a fiction editor. So often, as I read and respond to submissions, at my house, and neglect my children, I do my job …

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What to Read: For People Who Work on Literary Magazines, and People Who Want To

April 14, 2016
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Working on a literary magazine is an inconsistent effort. I have found that, in my role as the editor of The Cossack Review—I am the nonfiction editor, and also the editor, generally, the person who started this magazine—there are days and weeks full of busywork, envelope-stuffing, website-making, and tedium so repetitive that I can’t think of a good way to describe them, other than maybe “brain salad.” There are …

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Six Questions for Christine

July 21, 2015
SQF: What are the top three things you look for in a submission and why?

CG: The easiest thing to notice and to look for is capable writing. And since we’re tuned in to work that is meaningful and searching, the next thing we tend to appreciate is significance—what the piece explores or exposes, how it approaches meaning and experience and thought. If I have to choose just one more thing, I would say that we look for work that’s nuanced, surprising. Surprises happen in many ways—form, figurative language, the narrative, etc. The nicest surprises are usually nowhere near the “end.”

Jim Harrington at Six Questions For asks an editor of a lit mag six questions every week. Here’s his interview with me.

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What Makes Good Fiction: Mark Slouka’s “The Crossing,” A Study In Suspense

March 1, 2012

Before you read this post, read Mark Slouka’s story “The Crossing” in the Paris Review. Slouka manages to employ an unusual level of suspense and tenderness in this story. Admittedly, the plot and the situations of the story – a rushing river, a father eager to please his small son, a divided family – are already given to suspense and tenderness. But what is it that makes the …

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