Wednesday, April 03, 2013

A great post about the power of editing to make your short fiction stronger

I guess it's writing week here at BHR. Today my guest post at the Writer's Digest blog of Chuck Sambuchino went live (4 ways to build healthy relationships with your readers), and this weekend I'll be teaching a couple of seminars at a local Portland writer's conference!

Today I'd like to share a great post about editing. I was talking this week with my friend JR. about editing, and how one of the greatest advantages of being a published author is the fact of professional editors. Without question, all my editors have made my work stronger before sending it out into the cold, harsh world. In fact, I recall my editor on Imaginary Jesus saying, "If you don't change this chapter you will need a bodyguard for the rest of your life and I hope you're okay with that." I changed it.

I have this friend named Jake Kerr (okay, full disclosure here... I consider Jake a friend, but we've only had a few online interactions. He might very well think of me as a stalker. But I'd just like Jake to know I'm the sort of stalker that will loan him 20 bucks). Jake and I were both in the Unidentified Funny Objects anthology, and his story was my dad's favorite in the bunch. Jake writes deep, emotionally resonant science fiction stories, and his story The Old Equations was nominated for a Nebula last year.

Jake wrote an article explaining the back story of The Old Equations, revealing some of the hard work that went on behind the scenes after the story was "done" and had, in fact, been accepted for publication. It's a great article, with plenty of interesting insights into writing short fiction, professionalism as both author and editor, and the necessity of getting science right in science fiction.

Here's a second article that shows Jake working back and forth with his editor, John Joseph Adams, on a story called Requiem in the Key of Prose, complete with pdfs of the different versions.

If you'd like to read some more of Jake's work, you can check out his recently published short story, Biographical Fragments of the Life of Julian Prince, which takes the form of a wikipedia entry about a fictitious person. And it's beautiful, moving and makes you want to enter into that world to read more. Or you can check out his recent post about why he writes. Or, if you need something shorter you can always follow Jake on Twitter.