I often tell students struggling with balance to think of their writing as a physical object. Where the narration slows for an emotional beat, where it speeds the action, where it stops for a back flash or sketches out a character—each of these moments affect the overall shape of a story. In our new issue, “Open Season,” the very words on the page begin to take form and shudder to life. And then: they are hunted. What does the word “Kentucky” smell like? How does the word “silicone” feel as it is gutted with a knife? Paul Griner will tell you. In this extraordinary and imaginative tale, a hunter is on a quest for the perfect word. Even as the words grow scarce and harder to find, he is keenly aware of their strength and power. Be sure to read Paul Griner’s Q&A to find out how he created this enchantingly surreal world. I first read “Open Season” on a train, and immediately began to picture track, wheels, engine—their silver color, their weight in my hands. Even now, I find myself looking for hidden words, and on each subsequent read of “Open Season” I fall more deeply under its spell.