September 16, 2019

What Makes a Character Human?

By Aatif Rashid

It’s been almost twenty years ago now since James Wood penned (metaphorically speaking, of course, since I’m sure he used a computer) his famous critique of a genre of literary […]

July 26, 2019

On the Importance of the Authorial Voice

By Aatif Rashid

In his book The Art of Perspective, part of Graywolf Press’s series of craft books on writing (which I’ve written about a few times before on this blog), Christopher Castellani […]

December 28, 2018

On Rereading Books

By Aatif Rashid

Each year, as I look over my list of all the books I’ve read (and listened to) in the past year, I always take note of the books I chose […]

December 12, 2018

In Defense of Long Sentences

By Aatif Rashid

When it comes to prose style in contemporary literature, no two works have had a greater influence than George Orwell’s 1946 essay “Politics and the English Language” and Strunk and […]

October 26, 2018

On Character Names

By Aatif Rashid

Picking a character name is often as hard as writing the first line of a new novel or story—the kind of specific and essential task that often halts any momentum […]

August 27, 2018

In Defense of Flat Characters

By Aatif Rashid

Every fiction writer who’s taken even an intro to creative writing class is likely aware of E.M. Forster’s famous distinction between flat and round characters, from his book of lectures […]

July 18, 2018

In Defense of Long Descriptions

By Aatif Rashid

When I was young (middle school) my favorite novels were The Lord of the Rings, though my friends always complained that they were too long and boring, with too much […]

July 10, 2018

On a Novel’s First Line

By Aatif Rashid

Perhaps it’s the economic realities of trying to publish literary fiction in an age of late capitalism, or perhaps it’s simply our culture’s diminishing attention span, but the first line […]

June 11, 2018

Against the Nineteenth-Century Novel

By Aatif Rashid

In a negative review last fall of Nathan Hill’s The Nix, Brianna Rennix of the leftist magazine Current Affairs critiqued what she described as the novel’s “postmodern” elements and argued […]