Fiction Spotlight: Interview with Nicholas Claro

Cover of Fiction Spotlight: Interview with Nicholas Claro

Nicholas Claro, author of our November fiction selection, The Current, chats about rebelling against forgiveness, giving yourself a break with early drafts and what he does when he feels stuck.


Can you talk a little bit about where your idea from this story originated? What sparked the idea? Or is it something that you had been thinking about for a while?

I wanted to write a piece that rebelled against the idea of forgiveness. I feel a lot of the time we are expected to accept an apology simply because one has been given. I knew I wanted my narrator to have received a message, but who the sender was, and the cause for sending it eluded me, so I sat with the first sentences for a week or two before things started to come together. 

 Tell us a little bit about the process – how long did it take you to write the story? What was revision like?

This story took me about a month and a half to write. I’m a slow writer, mostly because I constantly find myself fighting the urge to go back and edit what I wrote the day before, rather than pressing on and going over a completed draft when I have one (this is a battle I lose more times than not). So, by the time I had a first draft, I felt it was getting close, but wanted eyes on it. At the time, I was in a workshop with friends: Robert Warf, Troy James Weaver, Wayland Tracy, and Tyler Dillow. These guys gave me some solid feedback and helped make this piece what it is.

What is your favorite scene, moment, or line from your story? Why?

I think my favorite line is the last one. I labored over it for about a week. I think it went through something like thirty or forty iterations before I finally felt happy with it. It’s my hope the reader is happy with it, too.

What do you do when you feel stuck in your writing? How do you work through blocks?

Whenever I feel stuck, I usually go for a drive. There’s always some sort of errand I can whip up: Lowe’s, grocery store, gas station, campus. I’m too focused on stop signs or lights, other cars, pedestrians, when to turn, etcetera, to think about what I’m working on. But my subconscious isn’t. Usually, by the time I pull in front of my place, I have a better idea of where I want the piece to go, and how.

How did you know you were done with your piece? And when did you feel ready to submit it?

After I had the last line edited, I was finally able to start from the top and work my way back down for one last edit. After that, I felt like I had something ready to go.

If you could give writers one piece of encouragement or advice, what would it be?

Give yourself a break with early drafts. They’re never going to be great. Embrace the editing process, because if you’re going to do it right, it’s going to take some time.



Nicholas Claro is an MFA candidate in fiction at Wichita State University where he is the 2023/24 Fiction Fellow. He reads fiction for Nimrod International Journal and his stories have appeared or are forthcoming in Pithead ChapelCleaver MagazineJMWWIdentity TheoryNecessary FictionX-R-A-Y Lit Mag, and others. He lives in Wichita, Kansas.

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