Friday, January 20, 2017

An Index of Guest Posts from Authors of 2016 Short Story Collections

Hit parade leaders: Hale (left), Perabo (top right), and Chase (bottom right)
In 2016, for the fifth straight year, we invited each author of a collection we received as an entry for The Story Prize to contribute a guest post to this blog. Out of 106 authors, 68 chose to participate. Since 2010, the TSP blog has featured 452 guest posts from 437 writers (some have contributed in more than one year).

According to Blogger's statistics, most 2016 guest posts received 400 or more page views. The most popular post, "Benjamin Hale's Four Essential Fiction Writing Rules," has so far drawn more than 6,100 page views—the third most of any TSP blog post. "Antonya Nelson's Ten Writing Rules," the post with the most all-time views, currently has more than 14,000 of them.

The author posts with the second and third most hits this year were "Susan Perabo Urges Writers to Stop Thinking About Themselves," with nearly 2,000 page views, and "Katie Chase's Ten Simple Steps to a Short Story Collection," with more than 1,400 page views to date.

When we ask the authors if they'd like to contribute, we give them several options. One is to answer any or all of a series of questions, that we change somewhat each year. The 2016 questions were:
•  Why do you write?
•  Name something you read that made you want to be a writer.
•  Is there a story by another author you wish you’d written?
•  Where does a story begin for you?
•  Describe a physical, mental, or spiritual practice that helps put you in a suitable state of mind to write.
•  What do you do when you get stuck?
•  How do you know when a story you’re in the process of writing is or isn’t working?
•  Describe an unfinished story that you want to go back to but haven’t quite figured out yet.
•  Discuss a local bookstore or library that is important to you.
We also suggested some possible essay topics:
    •  A literary touchstone.
    •  A letter to a young writer, a la Rilke.
    •  A list of ten pieces of writing advice. 
    In addition, contributors had the option of coming up with their own ideas.

    Here then is this year's index of guest posts, in alphabetical order by last name.

    Jacob M. Appel's Tips on How to Market Your Short Story Collection(s)
    David Atkinson on Not Quite So Stories and Just So Stories
    Jensen Beach on the Likability or Unlikability of Characters
    Clare Beams' Ten Pieces of Writing Advice
    Matt Bell's Aimee Bender Fan Fiction
    Patricia D. Benke Says There's No Such Thing As Writer's Block
    Brian Booker on Taking Characters for a Ride
    Karen Brennan on Fighting to Find Solitude

    Tobias Carroll on Broken Structures and Unfinished Stories
    MB Caschetta's Encounters with Grace Paley
    Katie Chase's Ten Simple Steps to a Short Story Collection
    Matthew Cheney: Why I Am Not a Poet
    Jaimee Wriston Colbert's Perfect Writing Day
    Serena Crawford's Nine Tips For Authors in Search of Characters
    Patrick Dacey's Brief Warning to a Young Writer
    Peter Ho Davies on Writing Goals (Literal and Metaphorical)
    Helen Ellis: A Writer's Ten Commandments
    Louise Ermelino on the Mystery of Becoming a Writer
    Dana Fitz Gale on Writing Into the Unknown
    Amina Gautier on Loving the Short Story
    Gary Gildner Finds Grace
    Debbie Graber and the Freedom to Be Foolish
    Amy Gustine on the Virtues of Both Virtual and Real Bookstores

    Becky Hagenston Wonders: What If?
    Benjamin Hale's Four Essential Fiction Writing Rules
    Why Rachel Hall Writes Fiction
    Stephanie Han's Ten Points of Fiction Writing Advice
    Kevin Hardcastle Says: Nobody Will Really Believe You Can Pull This off
    Charley Henley on How Boredom Can Spur Creativity
    Arlene Heyman on Dealing with Self-Doubt and Rejection
    Dustin M. Hoffman's Letter to A Young Writer (Probably Himself)
    Charlotte Holmes on the Importance of Bridging Even the Smallest of Gaps
    Vanessa Hua's Ten Writing Pointers
    Allegra Hyde: "Act Like an Author, Think Like a Painter"
    Greg Jackson Asks: Does Literature Have a Political Responsibility?
    Randa Jarrar and the Lonely Voice

    April Ayers Lawson on Why She Writes
    Tony Lindsay on Writing to Be Read
    Odie Lindsey on Recovering Love in Fiction (Care of a Self-Prompt)
    Robert Lopez on Waste and Welter
    Robert Oldshue on the Probable Improbable in Fiction
    Robert Overbey on the Art of Not Being a Dick (or Thinking You're Not)

    Jodi Paloni on Stranger Stories
    Susan Perabo Urges Writers to Stop Thinking About Themselves
    Mari Reiza Pulls the Strings
    Patrick Ryan on How to Begin
    Sara Schaff on Art for Our Sake
    Why Louise Farmer Smith Writes Short Stories
    Maureen Millea Smith on the Lasting Influence of Libraries
    Christine Sneed on Personal and Narrative Spaces
    Erin Stalcup’s Writing Advice (Not Rules) Mostly Written by Other People
    Lynn Stegner's Answer to the Question: "Why Stories?"

    James Terry Goes Home Again
    Johnny Townsend Writes What He Knows
    Valerie Trueblood on Eudora Welty's Matchless Book, The Eye of The Story
    Zachary Tyler Vickers on Keeping the Reader Engaged
    Alexander Weinstein's Letter To Himself as a Young Writer
    Theodore Wheeler on Writing Stories from Inside Trump's America (Before It Was)
    Paula Whyman's Six Steps to Conquering Your Fear of Sex Scenes
    Ronna Wineberg's Ten Rules for Writing a Short Story Collection
    Callan Wink on Work and Legitimacy
    Melissa Yancy: In Praise of "Bobcat" and the Unruly Story

    Past indexes of guest posts: