Document Type



Master of Fine Arts (MFA)


Creative Writing

First Advisor's Name

Les Standiford

First Advisor's Committee Title

Committee chair

Second Advisor's Name

John DuFresne

Second Advisor's Committee Title

Committee member

Third Advisor's Name

Vernon Dickson

Third Advisor's Committee Title

Committee member



Date of Defense



The Hard Way is a fiction thriller set in small-town West Virginia in 1997. It tells the story of a group of independent professional wrestlers who are waylaid in Chimney Corner while on their way to a big show in Richmond, Virginia. The group have a fight with a couple of local meth dealers at a diner in the middle of night. Other wrestlers come looking for them the next day. What happens after is a brutal fight for survival, as the wrestlers use all their skills to overcome a threat they were never prepared for.

Narrated in the third person, Hard is a thriller that examines how people who’ve defined themselves by their toughness cope with falling short in a truly dangerous situation. Inspirations for it come from Mick Foley’s Tietam Brown and the overall works of Jack Ketchum. While most sophisticated readers judge professional wrestlers as fakes and cartoonish caricatures, the attempt here is to play against that myth, painting them as a cross-section of ordinary human beings, forced to dig deeper than they ever have, and to work together in order to survive.



Included in

Fiction Commons



Rights Statement

Rights Statement

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