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1100 Words

Writers are over-examined and over-discussed. Not exactly an audacious thesis statement for the first number of a biweekly column about writers and writing, and yet, here we all are. Writers are under such close scrutiny thanks to writers—writers write about themselves, about one another, about their feelings, their goals, their ever-declining place in society. There...


A Million Reasons for Rejections

There are a lot of different reasons why editors (or agents) decide to pass on a written work. Often, writers can glean from insights offered in personal rejections that address the specific reasons why the editor decided to pass on their submission. Providing personal rejections is time-consuming, however, and not all writers are receptive to...


Interview: Rusty Barnes – the editor, the writer, the man

The Editor Sandra Ruttan: You’re the editor of Tough. How long have you been running this crime fiction ‘zine? Rusty Barnes: Tough has been online officially since July 2017, though we ran a couple reviews before we officially launched. Sandra Ruttan: You specifically ask for crime fiction stories, as opposed to mysteries, etc. What is...


Unforgettable Stories

When reviewing manuscripts and short stories I ask myself some questions. One of those questions has to do with impact. Is it memorable? If I set a book, manuscript, or short story aside for a few weeks and can’t remember what it’s about, chances are it either hasn’t gotten to the point where it has...


Envisioned Writing

Envisioned writing refers to writing based on mentally playing out scenes. Before setting pen to paper, or pressing the keys, the writer thinks through the entire scene and imagines it. Perhaps you fantasized as a child about delivering a smart comeback to a bully, thought about what it would be like to kiss the boy...


To Prologue or Not To Prologue

Publishing trends have not favored prologues for some time. Writers who feel that a prologue is essential may opt to write one anyway and name it ‘Chapter 1’ while others still use the controversial ‘P’ word. Consideration #1: Is It Essential? Before including a prologue — no matter how it’s titled — ask whether or...