“Editing fiction is like using your fingers to untangle the hair of someone you love.”
― stephanie roberts
― stephanie roberts
I am nearly finished with my on-line poetry class with Professor Higgins of Galway, just call me Eliza, and I've learned more than expected. I'll summarize all that soon.
In the meantime, on the short story side of my brain, (a small blip just behind my right ear) I submitted a piece to a contest held by SIXFOLD magazine. This submission goes through a process unlike that of any other literary magazine. Although the entry fee is inexpensive at $5, the work required by submitting writers is mildly time consuming. You do just enter and wait. Each entrant must read and comment on 18 other manuscript entries, in three rounds, over a period of a few weeks. The details of the reading schedule and elimination process cane be found on the SIXFOLD website.
In answer to your question, no, you do not review or comment on your own manuscript, but you do read a diverse selection of others. I noticed in the first round it was easy to rank the stories from best, to not the best, but the second round was a bit harder. By the third round I had to take some serious notes, as even the manuscript I ranked 6th, when compared to the others, was still a well written and interesting piece. I wanted to be fair, to give each manuscript it's due diligence, so I followed the advice of my UIUC workshop instructors: read each story once through making no assumptions or comments, then on the second read, use your fine tooth editors comb.
But, when doing your final comments, remember the balance between opportunities for improvement and that which is well done. Cite examples, give credit where due, criticize constructively. Think about how you would feel if someone wrote the same comment to you. Battered? Encouraged?
Today I finished the last round of manuscript reviews, and in a few weeks I will receive all the comments made about my own submission. Depending on how far my manuscript made it in the ranking rounds, I will receive somewhere between 30 and 390 commentaries.
If I can't successfully improve my manuscript after that, I might consider going back to writing policies on removing bowel impactions.
Oh, yes I did. Bowel impactions, catheter insertions, urine specimen transportation, mucous collection, don't get me started.