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Justin Stanchfield, a writer over at the Speculations Rumor Mill, asked the following:  Jim, I'm curious. Has this foray into editing changed the way you approach your own writing?

My first editing gig, when I was fiction editor for the California Quarterly in grad school, probably did more. I learned then that the great mass of the slush pile isn't particularly good (it's not particularly bad either), so the impact of hearing that 800-1,000 manuscripts a month show up at some magazines seemed less intimidating. I also developed the idea of a slush pile as a competitive stack, with the best stories on top. My job as a writer who is trying to be published is to move up in the stack. That has been a useful image for me.

The current editing stint has reminded me of the importance of beginnings. Over and over I'm struck both by how many writers try the same beginnings, and how many wait too long to get the story started.

I've enjoyed the work so far, by the way, but I'm not making my final cuts yet. It may feel worse when I have to finalize the TOC by sending some fine stories home.


( 1 comment — Leave a comment )
Sep. 11th, 2007 05:14 am (UTC)
Wish I had something in the works, or had time to try something for your antho. Sigh. I remember when . . .
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