Editorial Preferences in Fiction: H. Rae Monk

Editorial Preferences in Fiction: H. Rae Monk (Spring 2017)

I remember fondly an Advanced Fiction class, where my peers and I workshopped two previously published short stories. The first piece took up only a few minutes of discussion, because everything about the craft, the content and the emotion was air-tight. The second, with many a swiftly moving editing pen and several hands risen, in need to remark on this or that took much, much longer to finish with. I think the instructor had us do this exercise for multiple reasons, however I remember the experience, because I couldn’t help asking, “Why did so-and-so publish this when it’s so obviously not a fully realized draft?” I think there has to be an honesty contract between editors and those who submit. I won’t push a story for consideration because it’s just “good enough”, but I’ll advocate for stories that I believe in, from the title to the final punctuation mark.

I love short literary fiction because there are no places to hide; unnecessary information is erased, prose are polished, and a truth about genuine human experience and emotion remain. I search for fearless, relatable, fully-formed stories that keep me engaged from the first sentence to the last. I tend to focus on stories with clean, well-paced writing, attention to detail, sentence variation, as well as situations and interactions that subvert my expectations. E. Annie Proulx writes, “I find it satisfying and intellectually stimulating to work with the intensity, brevity, balance and word play of the short story.” I look forward to working with, and helping put the concise beauties of submitting contemporary authors out into the public eye.




Bio: Student Fiction Editor H. Rae Monk is a Wyoming native and an almost graduate of ASU’s Creative Writing program. When she isn’t reading every book that comes under her nose, she enjoys creating short fiction driven by characters that see the world through the lens of their abnormal vocations. She also enjoys strong coffee, bouldering, traveling on a tiny budget with a big backpack and engaging with her local literary community. Her future plans are constantly changing, but she is considering both MFA programs and jobs in publishing.

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8 thoughts on “Editorial Preferences in Fiction: H. Rae Monk

  • February 23, 2017 at 6:46 pm

    I love short stories for the same reasons you mentioned. The brevity that comes along with the territory really requires authors to think carefully about what details they want to include and encourages them to make every sentence as well-crafted as possible.

  • February 24, 2017 at 4:55 pm

    I’ve also always enjoyed the brevity of short stories. There is this life-changing feeling every time you read a five page short story that makes you question everything once you’ve set it down that only makes me want to read more and more. My love for reading them has ignited a need to write them.

  • February 25, 2017 at 3:15 pm

    On the assignment you participated in, I can’t help but wonder if the story was truly not what the author wanted? I’d have to read the story for myself to really offer an opinion, but my mind instantly assumes that the class just wasn’t on the same page as the author.

  • February 26, 2017 at 2:21 pm

    It’s always interesting to hear these editorial preferences! I also prize brevity and function in short stories– I love the ability of short fiction to be compressed and effective and artful at the same time. I look forward to seeing more of your work as Fiction Editor!

  • February 26, 2017 at 8:45 pm

    Thank you for your frankness in your post. I enjoy reading short stories, novels, etc. Your description of what the short literary fiction is or should be is right on point.

  • February 26, 2017 at 9:57 pm

    I agree with what you say about short stories. It always amazes me what a writer can accomplish within such few pages.

  • February 26, 2017 at 11:59 pm

    Short fiction was alien to me before last summer when I took my first writing workshop. I continue to be blown away by how alive short stories feel–how they can build a whole world in two pages just to rip it out from underneath in the next two. It’s great that you look for and work with stories that transcend “good enough.”

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