f a i t h * i n * f i c t i o n: Queen of the Slush Pile: Thoughts of a Publishing Intern

f a i t h * i n * f i c t i o n

Friday, June 03, 2005

Queen of the Slush Pile: Thoughts of a Publishing Intern

Well, another Friday, another blog. I apologize for interrupting the disco on Free Bird, and I hope you’ll stick with me today.

First, thanks for all the responses. You guys are great. But somehow I just don’t think Dave would appreciate hidden reptiles in his desk and involved discussions on Buffy (maybe on Bruce Springsteen though). [Ed: To set the record straight I am pro-Buffy. I never watched it a lot, but it was a smart show. I am also, as Carra mentions, pro-Springsteen. Also: Pro-kalamata olive. Pro-Richard Russo. Pro-MLB. Anti-Julia Roberts. Anti-NASCAR. Undecided on snarky interns. ;) Sincerely, Dave] But thanks for the advice….

Speaking of advice, I have had a few thoughts on that this past week. Does it ever seem like the people who least know and/or get your writing are the people who offer you the most advice on how to shape your story and mold your characters? And the ones who actually have opinions that would be useful shy away from giving them? What is with that? Do they not know the power of

…The Red Pen. AAAHHH!

Even though I have been savagely scarred in the past by the Red Pen, I have come to revere the power of it. But only when wielded by some. It is important to have an array of critquers, but they need to be a). people you trust and b). people who know what they are talking about. If they are not A and B (or at least B), then it is like throwing your baby to the wolves instead of handing him to the doctors.

All this to say, I now don’t actually mind the Red Pen. I prefer other colors (like blue or purple or green), but I accept Red now as well. So if you are a critiquer, be gentle. As Anne Lamont says in Bird by Bird, you don’t have to cut with the sword of truth; you can point with it too. And I think that can carry over into all aspects of our lives.

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The Links

How to Critique Fiction by Victory Crane: If you need tips on critiquing (or want to give others tips on critiquing), this page has a pretty detailed process explanation.

Better Fiction Forum: This site has a ton of advice and discussions about how to better your writing. If you are interested in seeing different critique forms or getting involved in a critique group, you should stop by this place.