• Dallas Woodburn

    The Short Way Home: An Interview with Dallas...

    on Jul 19, 18 with No Comments

    Mel Sherrer This month, South 85 Journal sat down with Dallas Woodburn, author of the newly released Woman, Running Late, in a Dress, to discuss the nature of short stories, character relatability, the role of irony, and much more. S85: Firstly, why short stories for this...

  • That Ticking Clock: The Handling of Time in...

    on Jun 28, 18 with No Comments

    Cary Holladay As an element of craft, time is generally regarded as a tool of setting, akin to place. Yet it is multidimensional, a voyage through past and future. Equally mysterious is the present, deemed by T.S. Eliot “the still point of the turning world.” First, a true...

  • Summer Flash Fiction Contest $500 prize

    Summer Flash Fiction Contest

    on Jun 25, 18 with No Comments

    South 85 Journal is relaunching Converse College MFA program’s Julia Peterkin awards, starting with an all-new summer flash fiction contest. Like past awards, the contest will honor Julia Peterkin, an 1896 graduate of Converse College. In 1929, she won the Pulitzer Prize...

  • Photograph by William Crawford

    The Spring / Summer 2018 Issue Is Here!

    on Jun 15, 18 with No Comments

    The Spring / Summer 2018 Issue of South 85 Journal is now available online. Creative Work We are pleased to present work by the following contributors: • Artwork – Roger Camp, Richard Corso, William C. Crawford, Ann Schlotzhauer, Louis Staeble, Mauricio Paz Viola, and...

  • Mindful Writing

    5 Prompts for Mindful Writing

    on May 17, 18 with No Comments

    Diana Raab Mindfulness is about living in a very conscious way so that we can devote full attention to whatever we are doing. Mindful writing is a good way to escape from the chaos of our daily lives, and can also help us uncover our authentic voices and inspire the writer...

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  • Write the Damn Thing: How to Make Progress on Your First Draft (Or Make Your Title Needlessly Long)

    on Sep 13, 11 in Blog by with No Comments

    First drafts, even good ones, are terrible. It doesn’t matter if you are in your first workshop, writing your master’s thesis, or starting your three hundred and seventy-second novel, it will be bad. This is not a reflection of your skill as a writer, but rather a fundamental law. The E=mc^2 of writing, if you will.

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  • Knowing When To Give Up

    on Sep 5, 11 in Blog by with No Comments

    Sometimes you realize that the story/chapter/poem/memoir/article that you’re writing is garbage. Not garbage in the sense that a few line edits might fix, but garbage as in this particular story/chapter/poem/memoir/article would be better if everyone involved just stopped what they were doing and took a nap. One of my stories (one I was particularly fond of) was completely torn apart after I sent it to an established writer for review. When I read this person’s suggestions (verbal beatings) I spent the rest of the day moping and feeling sorry for myself and realized my story was mostly garbage. A whole day later I sat back down, refreshed and determined to create anew and started to work on the story again. Only nothing would come out. The characters were bland, the plot was laughable at best, and all my words came out at a fourth grade level. Then my wife gave me some of the best advice I have been given as a writer to this day. She told me to give up on it (for a little while at least).

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  • Readers Really Do Make Better Writers

    on Aug 31, 11 in Blog by with No Comments

    I recently had an “ah-ha” moment while reading Cormac McCarthy’s Border Trilogy. In that moment, I finally understood what my teachers meant when they told me I needed to be a good reader if I wanted to be a good writer. Of course, I already understood logically why reading fiction leads to better writing: through reading good fiction we learn how to structure plots and develop characters and write dialogue, etc. But it was still blurry to me as to how reading a novel or short story would concretely enhance my craft.

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  • Writing while Traveling

    on Aug 21, 11 in Blog by with No Comments

    There is much to think about when you travel. I’m headed to Boston in the next couple of weeks, and I’ve thought a lot about my itinerary. I’m one of those people who plan, organize, and then plan again. It becomes a balancing act when trying to measure which things to do or places to see to constitute which weighs the most. I’ve thought about going to Concord while I’m there and daydreaming about my childhood obsession with “Little Women.” I’ve thought about knocking on Paul Revere’s door to see who answers and even contemplated buying a studio there to put a desk next to a window facing the Back Bay area.

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  • The Voices in my Head and Other Reasons Not to Write

    on Aug 17, 11 in Blog by with Comments Off on The Voices in my Head and Other Reasons Not to Write

    There’s something thrilling about starting a new project, whether it’s starting work on a new short story, cracking the spine of brand new book, trying a new recipe, or beginning an online literary journal.  From the earliest meetings about South85, I was positively giddy about the opportunity to serve as editor.  Behind that excitement, however, there was (and still is sometimes) an underlying feeling of fear.  Who do I think that I am?  Sure, reading lots of submissions and picking the absolute best to share with our readers sounds like my ultimate idea of fun.  But deep down, there lingers a smidge of doubt.  I’ve met literary journal editors.  Mostly, my fellow writers and I speak of them in hushed tones, praying they will remember our names when one of our manuscripts come across their desks.

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