When André Alexis conceived his five-novel series, he was inspired by Pasolini`s film Teorema. So he set out to write a pastoral, an apologue, a quest narrative (with Treasure Island in mind), a ghost story and a kind of Harlequin romance. Marni Jackson’s organizing principle is the idea that we live in a world obsessed with celebrities—so stars show up in every one of her linked short stories. Catherine Leroux links her stories through siblings all joined in surprising ways. And Susan Perly’s Death Valley is a mashup of recognizable established forms—spaghetti westerns, pulp fiction, part Pynchon, part Lewis Carroll. Writers who use particular frameworks upon which to hang their work talk about “conceits”—how binding, how freeing and does a conceit ever get in the way?