Cover Photo: Phil Gyford
Phil Gyford

To the Quick

“Once I started focusing solely on lowering the word count, everything looked baggy.”


He was almost insane with irritation.He was extremely confusedHe was dumbfoundedall at once”, “in a flash,” “without warning,” “abruptly,” “instantly,” “suddenly,” all of the sudden”

She had a quiet kind of dignityHe made a sort of half-smileHis half-smile revealed his inflamed gums.


The best thing about him is that he’s funnyIt was exactly this sort of thing that bothered him.Well, it was about, oh, say, the first warm doggone day of March some ten years back, when a body could see Ol’ Man Higgins a-settin’ and a-whittlin’ out on his porch . . .

“I need you,” he said desperately—

He closed the door carefully He closed the door with a great deal of careHe eased the door shut

almostnear byand then andthenI was goingI went

a rare guarantee. The more you begrudge every word, syllable, and letter, the less readers will hate you.


Tony Tulathimutte’s novel Private Citizens was called “the first great millennial novel” by New York Magazine. A graduate of Stanford University and the Iowa Writers’ Workshop, he has written for The New York Times, VICE, WIRED, The New Yorker, The Atlantic, The New Republic, N+1, Playboy, The Paris Review, and many others. He has received a 2017 Whiting Award, an O. Henry Award, and a MacDowell Fellowship, and appeared as a guest on Late Night with Seth Meyers.