Tolstoy said that art is the means by which emotion is transferred from one person's heart to another. But how does this happen? It has something to do with empathy, craft, and a writer's intention and availability. Humor, indirection, that which is left unsaid, precise image, and strong details all play a part. In this craft discussion, we'll look at the work of Amy Hempel, Alice Munro, Raymond Carver, and Wells Tower and explore how they illuminate and express emotion in their fiction. We’ll do a writing exercise to apply what we’ve discussed.
Mary Otis is author of Burst (Zibby Books) which won the 2023 Silver Medal in Literary Fiction from the Independent Book Publisher Awards and was a Good Morning America and New York Post “Best of Spring Books” pick. She also has published a short story collection, Yes, Yes, Cherries (Tin House). Her stories and essays have been published in Best New American Voices, Tin House, Electric Literature, McSweeney’s, Los Angeles Times, Los Angeles Review of Books Special Fiction Issue, and in many literary journals and numerous anthologies. Mary was a founding fiction professor in the UC Riverside Low-Residency MFA Program where she taught for twelve years. Originally from the Boston area, Mary lives in Los Angeles.
Mary Otis will accept manuscripts for critique. Please see the Manuscripts page for details