Wednesday, April 16, 2008

Two requests

I have had two types of request in the past few weeks that I think are worth mentioning. The first was a rewrite request - actually 4 rewrite requests - from two lit mags, one of which was interested in three of my flash stories, and the second was interesting in a fourth story. I want to bring this up following on from my unpleasant experience of a few months ago. That blog post may have given some readers the impression that I don't want anyone "messing" with my stories, that I believe that my precious creations are perfect and if they are accepted for publication then they are untouchable.

This couldn't be further from the truth.

I was delighted to receive the rewrite requests, three of which were specifically about the endings of these stories, all under 500 words. They liked the stories enough not to reject them, but they felt something wasn't quite working. And all the points that these two editors made were, in my opinion, spot on. Totally valid. I find it hard to edit flash stories, which are generally written in one sitting, a different process from writing a longer story. But the endings were weak. And in one case, I had overwritten, said the editor: the reader already knows this, no need to recap at the end.

It took me a little while to sit down and get back into the headspace of each story, and redo the endings. But after I did, I saw that they were better stories. I am delighted that the first of the three, Dots, has now been accepted for publication by Juice: A Journal of the Ordinary.

I am waiting to hear back from the editor who is reading the other two stories. The fourth rewrite request referred to something that for me is much more integral to the story, and I am still contemplating making this kind of change.

For me, these are excellent illustrations of the ideal editor-writer relationship. I am so happy when an editor engages with my writing, thinks about it deeply, as these two editors have obviously done, and makes suggestions that they believe could make it better. This is something no writer can do without.

The other request is a first for me: I have been asked to judge a flash fiction competition. It is for writers belonging to the Critters Bar online forum. It is such an honour to be asked. And it has been an unexpected validation for me, too. When the announcement was made that I was the judge, with a short description of my writing and a link to my website, several of the forum members made comments to the effect of "Wow," and "Impressive". That was a real boost. It's all to easy to forget how far I have come, to dismiss achievements and to only focus on what is ahead, what I haven't done. It's wonderful to be reminded every now and then that I have already come some way down this path. I look forward to reading all the entries and trying to pick just one.


ireneintheworld said...

great stuff tania. i remember the post you mention, and am here to say that you didn't come across as being precious! x

Women Rule Writer said...

Nice one, Tania!

Little Jezebel said...

it's good to hear about such healthy editor-writer relationship. hope it works out for the best, and congratulations!

Sarah Hilary said...

Fantastic news, Tania! Both the publishing hits (Juice is on my list, a terrific venue) and the judging. What a great endorsement of your writing, and your reputation. Very well-deserved. Congratulations!

OSLO said...

That all sounds very positive Tania. Well done.

Tania Hershman/The Short Review said...

Irene - thanks, I am glad I didnt!
WRW - cheers!
LJ - I hope so too, thanks for stopping by.
Sarah - isn't Juice a lovely-looking publication? I can highly recommend them, great editor.
Oslo - thank you!

Nik's Blog said...

That's fantastic news, Tania, really! Congrats! And power to your fingers for the edits.

There's a huge difference between eitor advised rewrites (consulted) and someone just changing things. Go, you!