Counter Craft

Lincoln Michel
fiction craft, publishing demystification, weird books
Created 11 Feb 2021
  • Conflict Is Only One Way to Think About Stories
    07 Apr 2022 10 0
    If you’ve been reading literary Twitter this week, you’ve almost certainly seen a lot of, uh, conflict over the question of conflicts in literature. Are all stories driven by conflict? Or is that clai...
  • The Grotesque Sublime
    30 Mar 2022 12 9
    For the last few weeks, I’ve been teaching a unit on horror fiction with a focus on horror effects. One of the things I love about horror fiction (and it’s ancestor Gothic fiction) is the how the theo...
  • The One Rule of Fiction Writing
    13 Mar 2022 24 3
    As the title of this newsletter implies, I’m not a fan of writing rules. Every claim someone makes about how fiction works can be rebutted with counterexamples. Character is fundamental. . . except wh...
  • Processing: How Matt Bell Wrote Refuse to Be Done
    07 Mar 2022 6 1
    I’m often wary of craft books. Many seem to fall into two camps: overly vague and offering more mysticism than practical advice, or else so specific they impose one writer’s individual aesthetic and p...
  • When Science Fiction and Fantasy Envisions Life Beyond Capitalism
    23 Feb 2022 15 20
    In 2014, the legend Ursula K. Le Guin was given a Medal for Distinguished Contribution to American Letters by the National Book Foundation and delivered what I’ve heard (accurately) described as a bar...
  • What We Lose When We Lose Literary Magazines
    16 Feb 2022 15 8
    This week, of all places, had an article on a depressing trend: the death of literary magazines. It’s not only independent lit mags that are disappearing, but so are university-funded magazine...
  • Do Blurbs Actually Work?
    11 Feb 2022 7 5
    “Luminous, sui generis, and above all brave. This newsletter is a work of startling originality.” - The New York Review of Newsletters “Counter Craft is like the bastard child of William Shakespeare, ...
  • Some Words About Word Counts
    06 Feb 2022 13 0
    For most of the morning, Twitter has been fighting about one of the seemingly dullest things: book word counts. An editor at a commercial-minded independent press tweeted that it broke their heart to ...
  • Why You Need to Read Fiction To Write Fiction
    26 Jan 2022 27 12
    Piles of French Novels by Van Gogh (1887) Recently, literary twitter was abuzz with one of those ridiculous debates that pops up every few months: Do you actually need to read books to be a write book...
  • Notes on the Speculative Epic
    19 Jan 2022 20 16
    Yesterday, I had the pleasure of reviewing How High We Go in the Dark by Sequoia Nagamatsu for the New York Times. It’s a beautiful and mournful book about grief and loss in the wake of a global pande...
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