One needs two things to be a good Fiction Editor. #1 is an attitude of Playful Openness that gets one excited to read the submission pile. #2 is Time. While working on this issue of Superstition Review, I had boundless amounts of openness and only a breadcrumb of time because of extra classes I was taking to graduate early. These classes diminished some of my enjoyment in being a Fiction Editor and are my only regrets.
Yet, I will never forget the pleasure of reading submissions. One of the marks of good fiction is escapism: allowing the reader to feel like he’s away from home. Many submissions helped me forget the strain of my other assignments and gladly found a home in my YES pile. It was also a delight to learn from my fellow editors Patricia Murphy, Kristin LaCroix, and Hannah Coleman. You were all generously patient as I learned the ropes.
“A writer should create living people; people not characters,” says Ernest Hemingway. I’m always looking for these living people when reading fiction. Not perfect people, but people who are afraid, unworthy, or not suited for the situation or task facing them—much like myself. This forges identification between reader and character, and it is the key to a reader’s escape and relief. When we read about people in trouble like ourselves (or better, people worse off), we’re healed. A character’s efforts to overcome adversity always leave the reader with a smile.
As a writer myself, I want to thank every person who submitted to Superstition Review for their courage to imagine, draft, and craft, because it’s taught me that this is the most important part of writing stories.
- Fiction Editorial Style: Daniel Matlock - April 8, 2022
3 thoughts on “Fiction Editorial Style: Daniel Matlock”
I really enjoyed Daniel’s two things to be a good Fiction editor. Playful openness I think is so important when looking at new work. It’s not only exciting for the editor, but the writer as well when submitting, and I think staying positive during the selection process is key for both sides. I think almost every editor can relate to not having enough time, whether they’re taking extra classes or just trying to balance work and life.
I enjoyed reading Daniel’s post. It made me relate to him in how precious time is and made me see what he had done through his own eyes. I think being a fiction editor is incredibly impressive and Daniel was able to do it even when plagued by a lack of time.
I agree with Daniel that escapism is one of the best aspects of a piece of fiction. When done well, the reader can be immersed in a new and exciting world. I also think it can be interesting to create a story that subtly reminds the reader of their own life, identification within escapism.
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