Thursday, February 19, 2015

"Drama, or Melodrama": My Story Is Examined by a Close Eye

What an honor to see one of my stories go under the microscope on the blog “Why the Writing Works,” which focuses on studying elements of craft in various pieces of writing.  Founded by Converse MFA in fiction graduate Cheryl Russell, it’s a smart site, filled with astute observations about fiction, poetry, and creative nonfiction, and insights that lead into improvements in one’s own writing.

Rhonda Browning White, who also received her MFA in fiction from Converse (and, disclaimer, worked with me on her fabulous thesis!), examines my short story “The Circle,” which appeared in The Gettysburg Review, in her piece titled, “Drama, or Melodrama: The Fine Line of Emotion.”

Here’s the opening:

Successful stories are emotional stories: we connect with that which moves us. A writer’s work is at its best when the reader feels emotion alongside a character. We must take care not to cross that very fine line and overdramatize a character’s feelings; otherwise, a reader will be about as patient with the emotional scene as with a toddler’s temper tantrum.
You can read the rest here…and discover, does my story cross over into melodrama!!!!??? And how does one win that battle between melodrama and emotion in one’s own writing?

I would love for you all to go buy this issue of The Gettysburg Review to read my story (which is part of my forthcoming collection, THIS ANGEL ON MY CHEST), but if that’s not possible for you, when the story received a mention as a Pushcart Prize “important work,” I offered to send a PDF to anyone interested, and here’s the link about how to get that copy from me, with specific directions and many, many disclaimers about how sad this story is:


DC-area author Leslie Pietrzyk explores the creative process and all things literary.