Hi Everyone,

I am posting a workshop today that I offered last month on #letsdeconstructastory about Jacob M. Appel’s story, “Creve Coeur.”  I’m also attaching the story–please read it before you view the video. I would love to hear from anyone who has other thoughts about this story. I’m sure I didn’t catch everything 🙂

New this month: A free writing prompt below!

On January 1st, I will return to author interviews and story discussions.

I hope you all have a wonderful holiday!


jacob m. appel

Please read the story before you watch the video.

Creve Coeur

You can find Jacob’s books at and

Free Writing Prompt (you will need one hour at least): 

  1. Brainstorm about high school. What comes to mind? Don’t think too hard about this: just write down the first ten things that surface. For me: lemon creme cookies, Roy Rogers, nuns, my dog, Shannon, walking to school along cobblestone streets, etc…you get the idea. It doesn’t have to be anything riveting. In fact, your memories might be quite ordinary. That’s OK! We can work with that.
  2. Circle three items on the list that you think you could write more about. Set a timer and spend five minutes writing about each one.
  3. Read through the writing you generated during those fifteen minutes and circle one sentence that intrigues you. Write for five minutes with that sentence as your starting point.
  4. The goal now is to write a story under 1000 words. Take one word/item/object from the three sections in #2, as well as the writing you generated in #3. The goal is to use all four items in your story.
  5. Write the first draft of this 1000 word story in first person. When you do this, you may find that the narrator is essentially you, which may or may not work well in a fictional story.
  6. Write the story again in the third person and allow the narrator to do at least a few things you would never do, just to get some distance.
  7. I would love to hear what you come up with! Send me your story for a free two-line critique via my contact form! Good luck! 🙂

In other news:

Goodbye Toothless House is a finalist for the Eyelands International Award.

“I Have the Answer” received a nice review from Sundress Reads.

Also, Wayne State University Press is having a HUGE holiday sale. Use the code HOL1 for 45% off of all titles! Here’s the link to my books: I Have the Answer and Garden for the Blind.

The 2020 Rochester Writers Author Fair took place on November 28th and 29th and all of the author interviews are available via Youtube. Thanks to Michael Dwyer for including me!