The Gulf Coast Blog

Craft • Culture • News

Craft • Culture • News

Fictional Exhaustion? Write a Letter!

Thomas Calder

Dear Reader, I've been working on my novel now for the last two years. I'm about six drafts in. After each draft I usually take a break to let the words sit, so that upon my return the flaws can jump out at me. Usually, these breaks don't last very long.…


"So Many Pistols I Have Borrowed to Protect Myselves!"

Katie Condon

It's easy to be overbearingly protective of our selves. Yes, selves. You know what I mean: The selves that revel in wasting time on BuzzFeed, or watching episode after episode of bad TV. The selves that eat only the icing off the midnight piece of leftover…


First Novel, Best Novel?

Steve Sanders

Cormac McCarthy's first novel The Orchard Keeper, released in 1965, is an often fascinating work, an evocation of a Depression-era Tennessee landscape that is as mythic and haunted as the sea in Moby-Dick. It also borders on unreadable. Graham Greene's…


Fame and the Myth of the Artist

Kimberly Bruss

The year I came to the University of Houston to pursue this thing called poetry, I was supposed to have a famous classmate. Gulf Coast managing editor Karyna McGlynn at AWP with...James Franco? Of course, that never happened. He deferred his acceptance…


Per Petterson

Tyson Morgan

I'm going to use my blogging opportunity to plug the Norwegian novelist Per Petterson. Spring's coming, and what better way to usher in the season than with some melancholic Nordic fiction? You probably don't need publicity if James Wood just did a piece…


The Sounds that Books Make

Claire Fuqua Anderson

I used to think audiobooks were for little old ladies who were losing their vision. (Little old ladies, bless you! You are the readers of America.) I could understand the arguments for long commutes and multitasking, and I'd even consider myself partial…


How My Writing Gets Written

Will Donnelly

In 1982, children's book author Arnold Lobel published Ming Lo Moves the Mountain. In it, Ming Lo and his wife live next to a mountain that causes them nothing but trouble. Rocks fall from the mountainsides, their garden is always in shadow, clouds around…


I Lied about Lying: Fiction, Truth, and Brutally Accurate Mimicry

Laura Jok

Over a bottle of wine, a writer friend of mine once caught me telling the truth. I drained my glass and forgot how to end sentences and started telling the story about a woman I knew who had dated Voldemort. "I remember that story," my friend said. I…


Defamiliarization, Again for the First Time

Will Wilkinson

A year or so ago, I listened to a Tin House podcast, a recording of Anthony Doerr, who usefully lays out a number of the themes of his talk in an this great handout): I argue to my students that (in most cases) verbal repetition has a blunting, even soporific…


Literary Magazine Submission Tips Submitted to Myself

Joseph Scapellato

I. Submit Why? Submit to the idea that submitting your work to literary magazines is an essential part of the writing process: compose, revise, revise, revise, revise, revise, revise, revise, revise, submit. Submit to the idea that submitting your work…