Editorial Preferences in Fiction: John Chakravarty

Reading submissions for Superstition Review allowed me to think about the stories I love to read. I’ve found that the best stories have a character I can connect with, and also an interesting problem.

There are so many elements that can make a piece of writing good. The first thing that comes to mind is characterization, which means creating round characters, with both internal and external struggles, and a full life that exists outside the page. My sister says that when she finishes a good book, she sometimes misses the characters and the time that she’s spent with them. One of my professors will always remind us in class not to say the word character, because writers are actually creating souls.

But it’s not enough to have an interesting character sitting in a room doing nothing. What makes a character truly endearing and relatable is their problems and how they choose to deal with them. Even Nick Carroway and Jay Gatsby without their dramatic love affairs would likely not hold a reader’s attention very long.

This is where I feel we get the human experience: when we read about someone relatable that has a problem foreign to us. Or someone that is completely foreign to us, and how they’ve overcome their problems (or not). Stories are about what a character wants and what they are willing to go through to get it. These struggles create an empathetic connection between the reader and the outside world.

Scientific American recently highlighted a study that found reading literary fiction helps young students to learn empathy. The experiment presented young groups with various types of reading; literary fiction, genre fiction, nonfiction, and nothing. The young readers that read literary fiction were significantly stronger at inferring others’ thoughts and emotions. Through seeing someone else’s trials and tribulations, a person is able to learn better how to interpret other people.

Interesting souls with interesting problems create the basis of fiction that empathetically moves readers. These are the kinds of stories that I love; stories that help to build an understanding of the world around us.

Fiction Editor for Issue 20 of Superstition Review

Bio: John Chakravarty is an undergraduate student at ASU majoring in English and Creative Writing. He is the Fiction Editor at Superstition Review. He also interns at Four Chambers Press reading submissions. When he graduates he hopes to write, edit, and publish for the comic book industry.

#ArtLitPhx: The Edge Group Art Show

 

The Edge is a group art show based on written fiction by John Chakravarty.  The show will be featuring artists, John Chakravarty, Jason Chakravarty, Mike Butzine, Steve Ciezki, Vincent Gonzalez, Toby Gerhlich, Daniel Tower, Brett Atherton, and Jamison Schlotte.

Opening reception will take place on Friday, April 21st, 2017 at 6 p.m. at Eleventh Monkey Art Gallery (1022 Grand Ave. Phoenix, AZ 85007.) There will be live readings to follow. On Saturday, April 22nd, 2017 there will be an encore late night reading at 8:30 p.m. Following there will be an after party at the Bikini Lounge. To wrap up the weekend, on Sunday, April 23rd, 2017 from 12 p.m. to 2 p.m. there will be a Hangover Reception at Captain Yohanne’s Bloody Mary Bar.

Come check out the art, meet local artists, and have some refreshments. Check out the Facebook Event Page for more information.

Intern Update: John Chakravarty Is Having an Art Show

Afternoon, everybody! It’s not just Superstition Review’s contributors who are busy doing amazing things these days. Right now, if you swing by MADE Art Boutique, on 922 N. 5th St. right here in Phoenix, Arizona, you can check out the work of Superstition Review’s very own blogger extraordinaire John Chakravarty. John’s work will be hanging from now ’til March 13th, where he will be showing a selection of 4″ x 6″ watercolor paintings as part of his series Postcards From Space. Says John, “My idea was to put modern, everyday people and problems in fantastic extraterrestrial settings.” Also, don’t miss the chance to check out John alongside his work at MADE this next First Friday, and as always, feel free to leave us a comment in the section below.

Buy all of these prints.

A selection of images from John’s Postcards From Space.

Go see this show!!

The flyer for John’s show at MADE Art Boutique.