"Sometimes a story will stand or fall on a simple word choice or on one sentence in the middle of a paragraph that either says too much or doesn’t say enough. It either takes us too far or doesn’t take us far enough. I am amazed by the way that a story can fail by having a few words out of place. More often than not, I think it’s because the writer has been afraid of turning the heat up. He or she—the writer—has found a situation or a feeling and been afraid to face it down, so the language goes a little dead. The scenes go a bit dead and you think: this story isn’t facing up to all the consequences that it set into motion."
Charles Baxter, when asked “Do you ever suggest that your students look at particular words that they’ve chosen?” in an interview in Glimmer Train Stories #39, 2001

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