• HCWP: Hub City’s Literary Hub

    on Feb 14, 19 with No Comments

    Katie P. Sherman On the corner of King and W. Main Street, in a renovated Masonic Temple, you’ll find the home of The Hub City Writers’ Project (HWCP). The building — which houses a coffee shop, bakery, independent bookstore, and the Hub City Press offices — is...

  • Reading period

    We Can’t Wait to See Your Work!

    on Feb 7, 19 with No Comments

    It’s that time again! South 85 Journal is currently reading for our Spring / Summer 2019 issue, which will come out June 15, 2019.   We are seeking fiction, creative nonfiction, poetry, and visual art. We are especially interested in work that conveys a sense of place,...

  • After A Deep Dive in Writing, Don’t Be...

    on Jan 1, 19 with No Comments

    Andrea Marcusa You’ve just done a deep dive into difficult material: the death of someone dear, a trauma from childhood, a failure that cuts deep. Your editor, professor, and writing colleagues — those carefully honed beta readers — were moved by your work. You were...

  • Pineapple by Roni Rae Robbins

    Finally! The Fall / Winter 2018 Issue!

    on Dec 15, 18 with No Comments

    We know you’ve been waiting for it. The Fall / Winter 2018 issue of South 85 Journal is now available online! Flash Fiction Contest Winners In October, we announced the winners of the 2018 Julia Peterkin Award for Flash Fiction. Now, you can read the stories! • Winner...

  • The Passing Landscape by Ezra Koch

    The Passing Landscape

    on Dec 6, 18 with No Comments

    Ezra Koch “I don’t want a drink,” Camille repeated. “Suit yourself,” Ernest said, and walked the short distance from the couch to the fridge shakily, his high bony hips jimmying side-to-side. Camille felt nauseous. She didn’t ordinarily get motion sickness, but then,...

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  • Laughing With Vs. Laughing At

    on Mar 5, 12 in Blog by with No Comments

    Laughter is the best medicine. Ask anyone. Well, maybe not a doctor. At the very least, laughter is a great way to pull a reader into your story, to make them connect with your characters, and to strike the perfect pitch and tone. But using humor effectively is fiction is no laughing matter (see how easy it is to botch it?)

    There is a great difference between making a reader laugh with a character and making the reader laugh at a character (WARNING: Literary references ahead). We laugh with Huck Finn when he outwits the King and the Duke, but we laugh at the grandmother in “A Good Man Is Hard to Find” when she leads the family astray, only to realize the house she wanted to visit was in Tennessee instead of Georgia. By laughing with a character we as readers are drawn to them, and we feel a connection with them through shared experience. But when a writer directs us to laugh at a character, we laugh because of the distance between us and that character. We know more than they do, we know better than they do, and we know what is to come better than they do. The humor arises from the reader being distanced from the actions within the story, rather than from situations where the reader feels like they are right there on the page.

    Now I’m not claiming that you should never make a reader laugh at your characters. Flannery O’Connor uses this technique well in “A Good Man Is Hard to Find”. We laugh because we can see the grandmother for the nasty, nasty woman that she is. This suits the writer’s purpose and fits well within the story. But it is Flannery O’Connor after all. 

    Whether you are making your reader laugh with or at your characters, it is important to be sure that there is a purpose to your humor beyond being funny just for the sake of it. This is an important point for short stories, which have a very limited amount of time to make their point. It is less of an issue in a novel, though still worth considering. If your humor can advance the story or connect the reader to a character as well as making the reader laugh, then you’ll have a powerful story as opposed to just showing off how clever you are.

    Few things draw a reader into fiction more than humor, but it can backfire if not used wisely. As Uncle Ben says, “With great power comes great responsiblity.” So make them laugh (or groan), but be aware of how and why you are doing it. 

     

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  • One Day We’ll All Be Robots

    on Feb 27, 12 in Blog by with Comments Off on One Day We’ll All Be Robots

    I’m such a hypocrite. I say that I’m afraid of technology, but I own a smartphone so I can check my email and social networking on the go (actually, the prospect of living without Angry Birds was too difficult to bear.) My own handwriting is steadily suffering because I write on a laptop. I hate using snail mail so much that I groan audibly when I see that a journal doesn’t accept digital submissions (South85 does though!). When I talk to other people about my fear of these things, I tell them that I’m afraid of the disconnect that may come from relying on a digital medium as our sole form of social interaction. But, it’s really because I’ve seen Terminator too many times.

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  • The Power of a Writing Ritual

    on Feb 20, 12 in Blog by with No Comments

    Growing up, I always admired my father’s Saturday morning ritual of washing the family car. Every Saturday, the bucket, rags, soap, and Turtle Wax would appear from his tool shed, and he’d go to work. Hours would go by as he washed and detailed the interior and exterior of the car, never asking or wanting any help from anyone. When I moved out for college, I found myself taking my car to the local do it yourself car wash with a handful of quarters to wash my old blue hatchback, gaining some sort of satisfaction out of scrubbing the tires,wiping the dashboard with protectant, and every so often changing the wiper blades. 

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  • Shutting the Door

    on Feb 11, 12 in Blog by with No Comments

    In her essay “A Room of One’s Own,” Virginia Woolf claimed that “a woman must have money and a room of her own if she is to write fiction.” While Woolf’s essay had more to do with the lack of financial and educational freedom female writers were subject to, the title of this piece strikes upon an essential piece of equipment in the arsenal of any serious writer: a place to write.

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  • Writing Your Way Out

    on Feb 2, 12 in Blog by with Comments Off on Writing Your Way Out

    I tried the exercises. I wrote in different rooms of the house, different times of day. I tried writing something completely unrelated to shake myself out of a rut. I freewrote. You name it; I tried it. But none of it mattered because I’d managed to write myself into a corner. Everywhere I looked, there were obstacles. Somehow I’d worked my way into a scene I couldn’t get past because everything that would come after seemed to hinge upon it. Everything.

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