Episode 85: "Doing the Work": Contemporary Short Story Critique


In this episode, Leslie and Clark critique “Doing the Work,” an as yet unpublished contemporary short story by Julie Prudhome. They discuss stories that tackle social issues and ways to use them powerfully, brand names, and questions we explore in our writing.

Trigger warning: This submission contains a discussion of child abuse and exploitation.

Listen now


Show notes

In a moment of despair bred of one too many rejections, a wise friend asked me: Which is more important to you: To do something about climate change, or to be a writer? I didn’t have to pause to think. I am a writer, I said. And instantly, I realized I needed to approach the topic differently—not by trying to move other people to some desired end but by exploring as deeply as I could my own story about being a mother in the dawning age of climate change. This was a story of what it feels like to know that people we love are at risk of something we feel we cannot control. It meant diving deeper to be more honest, more real and more vulnerable.
— Lisa Bennett

Here’s the post containing the above quote. The author shares how she decided to present a story that explores climate change.

This episode of Writing Excuses, has a great discussion about social issues as elements in stories. 

In the show introduction we mention Scott King's book Ameriguns: A Thriller, which you can find here.


Editorial Mission—What’s Your Question?

Whether we write about social issues or not, there are questions that we tend to explore in our writing. This week, look at your body of work, I mean everything. If you write nonfiction in addition to fiction, include that too. What is the question (or what are the questions) you circle? That is, what questions do you explore in your writing? What fascinates you? You may need to dig a little, but this will help you find out what it is you want to say through your writing. And being aware of that will help you write, revise, market, you name it.

Do you want editorial missions sent directly to your inbox?
Sign up below to join the podcast club and you'll never miss an episode—or an editorial mission—from the Writership Podcast!


Inline critique