MFA, author of This Fierce Blood. Ms. Márquez’s fiction was nominated for Best of the Net 2021 and shortlisted for the Staunch Short Story Prize 2020 and the Yes Yes Books (longform) Fiction Prize in 2019.
“I’d learned to write the novel I was writing, and nothing more. Still, it was a fine, strange novel to have learned how to write. I was always aware of how very far short it fell of the beautiful, golden, gleaming, perfect book I had in my head, but even so, it made me happy,” wrote Neil Gaiman in an introduction to American Gods. The story in our heads (no matter what stage we’re at in our writing career) exists as a perfect, shining encapsulation of all we hope to express – but how to get it on the page? Creating a finished piece of art is an act of blending freedom with structure. We want all the zany ideas! The complex plots! The atmospheric settings! The emotional journeys! But we also need a framework in which to put them. Through writing exercises, workshopping, and diverse readings, we learn to coax the right and left brain into working together on a novel that makes us happy and maybe even changes us in the process. If a novel can be compared to a soup, getting feedback on work-in-progress is like serving it to a panel of tasters. Every writer has the ingredients at hand. How we decide to put them together is what matters. External comments are information that drives what are ultimately the writer’s choices. Through trial and error we learn to trust our instincts and push our work to its full potential.