Constructive Criticism from Jack Torrance’s MFA Workshop


“I found Jack to be a very strong and magnetic character. His transformation into a dull boy was really convincing and powerful for me.”


“I like how the writer uses repetition to tell the story as opposed to…you know…using a story to tell the story. That’s refreshing.”


“Of course it has a plot: All work. No Play. Jack is a dull boy. Look, I’ll Freytag it dude.”


“Preston, I think your proposal of cutting the novel by ninety-nine pages and just making it a one-sentence flash piece is hugely prescriptive. That’s clearly not the writer’s vision.”


“I usually don’t like experimental novels but this one really hooked me. But I also just really enjoy varieties of patterns.”


“My favorite thing about this piece is how original it is. I actually dropped my copy and the staple fell out, so I just sort of slapped the pages back together and I couldn’t really tell a difference. I don’t even know what that means, but how the writer accomplished that effect blows my mind.”


“Is dull really the right word though? What if you used ‘bromidic’ instead?”


“Obviously it’s an anti-novel. Its refusal to adhere to our narrative expectations is exactly what makes it a masterpiece. I mean, it’s clearly unreadable and I’ll be honest, I didn’t actually read past the first page…but I think that’s what makes it so brave.”


“Most of all I just really admire the writer’s discipline. I mean, that’s a shitload of typing. Tedious typing too. Like, who even uses typewriters anymore?”


“I love the way it plays with form and white space. I think we need more novels that care about how words on the page look as opposed to what they read. Because meaning can be really overrated.”


“I’m just gonna throw this out there: what the fuck is wrong with you people?”


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