Suspend Your Disbelief

Author Archive

Shop Talk |

Writer, Reject Thyself

Okay—so perhaps your take-home message from the recent Giraldi-Ohlin incident was “Oh my god, I hope that I never get a review like that.” Unfortunately, at some point, every writer usually gets some harsh feedback—in a workshop, in a review, or from a reader. (Discuss: which writer is most fortunate, and why?) Anyway, when you receive said harsh feedback, your options are: A) Lash out at reviewers (pretty much never a good plan) B) Curl up under chair with bottle of whiskey and/or teddy bear C) Develop thicker skin, keep head down, keep working on next project Should you choose […]

Shop Talk |

Is there such a thing as a perfect sentence?

Recently, Publishers Weekly posted a provocative list of “5 Perfect Sentences.” Here’s one, from “A Romantic Weekend” by Mary Gaitskill: He was beginning to see her as a locked garden that he could sneak into and sit in for days, tearing the heads off the flowers. Now, I love this sentence, but the list raises the question: is it perfect? It’s beautiful, sure—and over at BookRiot, Greg Zimmerman has a wise and thoughtful post about what makes a beautiful sentence. But what does it mean to say something is a “perfect” sentence? Perfect might not mean lush, or beautiful, or […]

Shop Talk |

Book of the Week: We Sinners, by Hanna Pylväinen

Our new feature is Hanna Pylväinen‘s debut novel, We Sinners (Henry Holt & Co). Pylväinen is from suburban Detroit. She graduated from Mount Holyoke College and received her MFA from the University of Michigan, where she was also a postgraduate Zell Fellow. She is the recipient of residencies at The MacDowell Colony and Yaddo, and a fellowship at the Fine Arts Work Center in Provincetown, Massachussetts. Currently, she lives in Brooklyn, where she is completing her second novel, The End of Drum Time. In the introduction to Jennifer Tomscha’s recent interview with Pylväinen, she writes: Hanna Pylväinen’s debut novel, We […]

Shop Talk |

Book-of-the-Week Winners: Rise

Our most recent feature was L. Annette Binder’s debut collection Rise, and we’re pleased to announce the winners: Pete Palamountain (@ppalamountain) Alex Washoe (@alexwashoe) Daniel Audet (@danielaudet) Congrats! To claim your free copy, please email us at the following address: winners [at] If you’d like to be eligible for future giveaways, please visit our Twitter Page and “follow” us! Thanks to all of you who are fans. We appreciate your support. Let us know your favorite new books out there!

Shop Talk |

Earn your internet access—by writing

Writers are full of tricks to get themselves to actually WRITE. We’ve covered a lot of them here on FWR: positive reinforcement (with tools like Written? Kitten!, which rewards you with photos of cute cats), fear (with apps like Write or Die, which plays annoying noises—or deletes your work!—if you stop writing), and flat-out self-blackmail. Here’s yet another addition to your arsenal, O Writer In Need Of Motivation. A new program, Blockr, lets you set goals and blocks you from the internet until you’ve completed them. Says the Blockr site: Today, the sirens we face are glowing rectangles. As Odysseus […]

Shop Talk |

Sticks and Stones: On Harsh Reviews

Does anyone actually believe that words can never hurt you? Come on, people—we’re writers. If there’s anything we believe in, it’s that words have power: to inspire, to move, and—yes, I’m afraid, to wound. “Mean” reviews (and their counterpart, “too nice” reviews) have been a topic of much discussion for the past few months, but things reached a frenzy this past week when the New York Times published a scathing double-review of Alix Ohlin’s new novel and collection, Inside and Signs and Wonders. Writers everywhere jumped up to defend Ohlin, defend Giraldi, and question whether harsh reviews have a place […]