what do editors want?

March 23, 2016

Six QuestionsIt’s a question that writer/editor Jim Harrington has been asking for a long time. And while knowing an editor’s preferences, style and idiosyncrasies is no guarantee that your poems will be accepted, it surely can’t hurt.

Harrington interviews editors of literary journals and, every Friday, posts their replies on Six Questions For…. The list of journals is impressive, running far down the right sidebar of the page. Harrington himself writes flash fiction and that genre is well represented.

Of course, the best way to understand an editor’s preferences is to 1) read the publication and 2) read and follow the guidelines. But Jim Harrington’s interviews (and similar interviews on Duotrope, a subscription-based service for writers) provide valuable insights that might just give you the edge you need.

honoring the original

December 7, 2015

Tess Gallagher and Beginners

In 1981, when Raymond Carver’s second collection of short stories, What We Talk About When We Talk About Love, was published, the manuscript had been drastically reduced by Carver’s editor, Gordon Lish. After Carver’s death, in 1988, poet Tess Gallagher, his widow, fought with Lish for the restoration and publication of the original text. In 2010, Vintage Books published Beginners, Raymond Carver’s stories as he drafted them.

Read more of this fascinating tale in a conversation with Gordon Lish published this week in The Guardian, a review in The New York Review of Books and an enthusiastic review in The Guardian.

On Friday, December 11, 2015, at 7:00pm, Tess Gallagher will discuss and read from Beginners at Village Books.

Master class: Manuscripts

August 16, 2014

Warland flyer

Get away to Vancouver Island and take your manuscript with you. Author, teacher and manuscript consultant Betsy Warland will offer a three-day workshop in Nanoose Bay, Listening to Your Manuscript, for poets, creative nonfiction writers, memoirists and mixed genre writers who have a substantial body of work, a full draft, a chapbook or a book and are at work on their next manuscript. For information, contact Tina Biello: tbiello AT shaw.ca.

fix it!

February 28, 2013


Every November during National Novel Writing Month (NaNoWriMo) writers commit to a frenzy of daily word-work. (Participants officially logged 3,292,472,334 words in 2012.) On December 1, they put their writing aside and pick up the pieces of their lives.

But by March 1, the writing has rested long enough and it’s time to start the real project: editing. That’s where NaNoEdMo comes in. The goal is to log at least 50 hours of editing time on previously-written text.

Didn’t draft a novel in November? No problem. Just imagine what 50 hours of editing would do for your poetry collection! Get all the details at NaNoEdMo.