1. Any story with an opening carrying so much tension it sizzles: BY THE END OF OUR FIRST DAY at Camp Crescendo, the girls in my Brownie troop had decided to kick the asses of each and every girl in Brownie Troop 909. (BROWNIES by ZZ Packer)
2. Manuel Munoz' WHAT YOU SEE IN THE DARK. Imagine: PSYCHO comes to Bakersfield, but what's more interesting--Hitchcock and Janet Leigh, or the real-life murder of Teresa by her cowboy lover Dan? Sharp, eerie stuff.
3. Unreliable narrators. The crazier, the better.
4. Love stories that do not end well.
5. Almost anything posted at FICTIONAUT.
6. This delicious story by LaTanya McQueen How to Date a White Boy in the Winter 2011 issue of JMWW.
7. Characters I give a damn about.
8. Characters I hate.
9. Most anything that does not fit into a genre.
10. Endings that make me weep, laugh, scratch my head, say 'wow' over and over: She put out her hand against the screen. She watched herself push the door slowly open as if she were back safe somewhere in the other doorway, watching this body and this head of long hair moving out into the sunlight where Arnold Friend waited.
"My sweet little blue-eyed girl," he said in a half-sung sigh that had nothing to do with her brown eyes but was taken up just the same by the vast sunlit reaches of the land behind him and on all side of him--so much land that Connie had never seen before and did not recognize except to know she was going to it. (Where Are You Going, Where Have You Been? by Joyce Carol Oates)
And you? What do you love to read?