Tag: Junot Díaz

What’s your favorite piece of advice?

image (7)

I’m great at giving advice, but I’m not so good at receiving it.  (That’s really just a more tactful way of saying that I’m good at being critical of others but I whine and complain when others criticize me.)  As I near the end of my senior year, I’ve become less and less welcoming towards advice, as my adult life looms and my plans remain uncertain.  I’d love to share a piece of advice that I actually did appreciate with the hope that anyone feeling a bit anxious about where they’re headed in life can take it to heart the way that I did.

This fall, Pulitzer Prize winning author Junot Díaz visited my college and spoke about the craft of being a writer.  I spent half of his talk loudly laughing at his dry wit and the other half wildly scribbling down anything he said that sounded useful to me as a writer (this was a difficult task as he was a fountain of knowledge).

One point in specific stuck in my mind, though, and I’ve been coming back to it as I near graduation and face a daily deluge of questions about my future plans. (more…)

Why should you read (and write) short stories?

87451

Short stories take a lot of heat as a literary form.  Infrequent readers of fiction might find them to be an “easy way out” of writing something longer or complain that a story’s brief plot line would be better if it were extended into a novel. As far as good short stories go, this isn’t the case.

In writing short stories, the first challenge is to give the reader a complete story (although some details may be left ambiguous as a creative choice) in a brief format.  I guess that’s pretty obvious from the name, though.  The second challenge is to use brevity to one’s advantage and control what’s left unsaid.  The best short stories I’ve read have left me with more questions than answers at the end.  They haven’t told me what to think, yet I still take away a message.  I’ve connected more to characters who appear for a single scene in a short story than to characters around whom an entire novel is based.

Check out a few of my favorite stories and collections after the jump: (more…)