Tara Dwyer Guest Edits February 16th – February 22nd

Tara Dwyer, Guest Editor of Smokelong Feb 16 - Feb 22Tara Dwyer, by day, is a high school English teacher and by night, she is one of a pair of moms to a pretty magnificent 5 year old boy who alarmingly displays writerly leanings. She earned her Master of Fine Arts in Fiction in 2004 from George Mason University.

Tara will be reading submissions sent in February 16th – February 22nd.

Below is a brief interview with Tara.

You lose a bet and can only read the same story over and over for a month. Which story do you pick? I am not sure how I can pick just one…. Truly. Banish me for a 6 month period, one story a month? Indian Education by Sherman Alexie…. Where Are You Going, Where Have You Been by Joyce Carol Oates…. Life is Sweet at Kumansenu by Abioseh Nicol… The Blue Bouquet by Octavio Paz…. Sucker by Carson McCullers… Lamb to the Slaughter by Roald Dahl.

If you were teaching a class on short fiction, what components would you encourage your students to focus on to make their stories successful? Clever and subtle character development is key– please surprise the reader a little; make your characters someone we’d want to read about. Even better, maybe make them someone we’ve not seen before? Also, don’t arbitrarily kill the pet/small child/inspirational elderly person in your story.

Who are the writers (famous, friends, people on the internet) who make you feel inspired after reading their work?  The writers that I’m inspired by tend to remain faithful standbys when I am in a writing rut. Sherman Alexie… Always. Often Grace Paley, Ethan Canin, Allan Gurganus, Dorothy Allison… Poets, too: Sherman Alexie… Always. Often Carolyn Forche, Jorie Graham, James Wright…. I still have folders and folders of work from graduate school; I’ve saved nearly every piece from workshop, mine and my classmates– I often take these out and read through them, which always makes me feel an urgent need to write.

Because we’re SmokeLong and we admire brevity, give us ten words (they can be a sentence or just words) that sum up your pet peeves in fiction.  First line in medias res: ringing phones, doorbells, alarm clocks….

Which font do you prefer to use while writing? Candara for me. Times New Roman for you.

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