Tuesday, December 6, 2016

My Sixfold Experience



“Editing fiction is like using your fingers to untangle the hair of someone you love.” 
― 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.

10 comments:

  1. Oh, my! Bowel impactions! My favorite. I hope we'll get to read your story.

    Love,
    Janie

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    1. Hi Janie, as soon as one is published and rights revert back to me I'll post it. Or I'll write one just for my blog. Seems for most literary mags if you post a story on your own blog, it is considered "published" and they don't want it. Same for poetry and CNF.

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    2. Yes, I've seen that "published" if it's been on your blog thing, too. It disappoints me because I'd like to use some of my blog posts for publications.

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    3. Janie, you can if you self-publish.

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  2. Very interesting and I like the Sixfold concept. Sounds like you'll get your money's worth no matter what.

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    1. I so got my moneys worth! Blogging about final results in a couple minutes.

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  3. Were you a nurse in your previous incarnation, Donna? I hope to never have to know about bowl-impactions. But if one lives long enough...

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    1. Yes Mirka. A nurse for 30 years and a nurses aide for 11 before that. I also once trained Robert Mitchums' horse and played vollyball with Bill Murray.

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  4. Yikes, Donna, I hope the reviews of your manuscript are brilliant - I don't want to know anything at all about bowel impactions!

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    1. Blogging about results now. And no worries, I have no plans to blog about bowel obstructions, I need more followers not less.

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