Episode 77: Ashes Like Snow: Literary Short Story Critique

Episode Description

In this episode, Leslie and Clark critique the opening pages of Brian McWilliams’s
“Snow Like Ashes” an as yet unpublished literary fiction short story. They discuss short stories, character arcs, conflict, and narrative identity. Special notice: This story contains some disturbing scenes involving the situations that firefighters experience.






Listen Now


Show Notes

Short stories typically represent only a crucial episode in a character’s life, but it’s precisely the episode which matters most, in which the biggest change occurs. (Of course there are stories which are more or less biographies of the character’s entire life, but those are fairly easy to see from a character arc point-of-view). In the case of the “life episode” short stories, the arc is much shorter. I wouldn’t even call it an arc, but a transition. The core elements of character arcs apply, certainly, but in a much more condensed way.
— Veronica Sicoe

Editorial Mission

Identify the character arc in your story, whether it’s a short story or novel. Does the change (or lack of change) make sense given the plot? Can we see a clear beginning (the character starts out this way) and ending (the character becomes this way)? Does your story contain sufficient motivation for the change, or is it abrupt? 


Inline Critique