FICTION CONSULTATIONS with ANGELA MITCHELL
Angela Mitchell is the author of UNNATURAL HABITATS AND OTHER STORIES (WTAW Press, 2018). Her stories have appeared in Colorado Review, New South, Carve, Midwestern Gothic, storySouth, and other journals. Her story, “Animal Lovers,” was awarded Colorado Review’s Nelligan Prize for Short Fiction and given special mention in The Pushcart Prize XXXV.
Mitchell directs a community writing workshop and serves as an associate editor for december maga- zine. An eighth generation native of the Ozarks of southern Missouri, she now lives in St. Louis with her husband and sons. Visit her
ANGELA MITCHELL will critique story collections during the month of February (deadline Feb. 28). Space is limited; don't delay!
Story collections, up to 180 pages in length, $380. SUBMIT HERE.
* Submit one story collection up to 180 pages, double-spaced, formatted with a 12-point font.
* Please do not exceed the page limits, as your manuscript won’t be read if you do.
* If your collection doesn't include 180 pages, please do not add extraneous material.
* Include a cover letter in the field that asks for it. Feel free to include goals and concerns about your writing.
* You will receive your critique by thirty days after you submit your manuscript.
Angela Mitchell's Statement of Purpose
“We do need to bring to our writing, over and over again, all the abundance we possess. To be able, to be ready, to enter into the minds and hearts of our own people, all of them, to comprehend them (us) and then to make characters and plots in stories that in honesty and with honesty reveal them (ourselves) to us, in whatever situation we live through in our own times: this is the continuing job, and it’s no harder now than it ever was, I suppose.”
-Eudora Welty, On Writing, 2002
In my early teens, I was introduced to the work of Eudora Welty. I was deeply attracted to her stories, which were rich and sharp and earthy and everything I had never before recognized in fiction. I wanted to do the work that Welty had done, so I was also drawn to what she had to say about the act of writing, of being a writer. I wanted to unravel the mystery of the art, of how we take observations from our own place and time and weave them into meaningful, satisfying, fictional experiences for the reader.
Short fiction is my first love and it is the form I still most enjoy exploring. After a few years of teaching workshops and acting as a reader for literary journals, there are a handful of lessons I have learned about how we can create significant characters and events in only a few pages. Primarily, I have learned that stories need great descriptions and colorful characters (mined, of course, from “the abundance we possess”), but also a moment in the action when a critical change takes place, one that shifts our character’s understanding of his or his own world. This change can be dramatic or subtle, a crack of lightning or a whisper in the quietest hour of the night, but a pivot in the action must occur.
These are the moments as a reader when our investment in the story deepens, when we become more emotionally involved with the character. And this is what I seek to help writers do more effectively: construct short stories that contain rich characters and places and situations that emotionally connect with our audience, now and in the ages to come.
The cornerstone of all my critiques is compassion and kindness, and I seek to meet you, the writer, right where you are in your development as an artist. My intention is to speak to you in the language you need to understand both your strengths and weaknesses (which are never as difficult to overcome as one might think). It is my sincere belief that wherever you are, is right where you need to be; my job is to walk the next mile or two with you in the process. I never seek to rewrite your work, but only to reframe it and send you back to the drawing board (or notepad or laptop) with a fresh perspective and a newly-energized heart for taking all that you possess and pouring it into the project at hand.