I enjoy writing fiction. I think I do it passably. If I don’t by some measure, objective or subjective, I enjoy doing it nonetheless. But I flounder inexpertly when an occasion calls for me to write about my writing. Bear with me.
I was thrilled when Laura asked if I would be interested in Gordon Square Review’s editorial mentorship because it’s gratifying and validating when someone likes my stories. I did worry what her editorial feedback might mean for me. Would the writing be more difficult this way? Would I be making changes to bring the piece closer to someone else’s style, taste, or vision and away from my own? At the end of the process, will it be a “Workshop Story?”
Turns out, we viewed the strengths and weaknesses of my story very similarly. I felt like I nailed the ending, Laura agreed. I tend to slip into over-exposition and Laura couldn’t have alerted me to that pitfall more kindly—especially where the information was redundant or unnecessary. I’m embarrassed to say, I kept slipping between past and present without apparent thematic significance, just making the time frame confusing overall. Quite a rookie mistake to not have caught when I had prepared “Ordinary” for submission. Finally, there was a scene where I indulged myself. I wanted to write an angry and obscene confrontation. As Laura gently observed, it was too much. It was, I knew it, so I dialed it back. In all of the instances Laura suggested a change or a deletion, I felt like she was working in support of the story, to bring it into its own. Peppered throughout my manuscript, as well, were words of praise, comments on what works, and a clear respect for the story.
I wish I could be the apt reader Laura is of my own work. My next submission would surely be complete on submission.
Anne Cudnik was born in Cleveland, but now resides in Lakewood. She completed her Masters in English from Cleveland State University and is working toward her teaching degree in Language Arts. She is the coordinator of an elementary school service club with over 100 young members. Anne also runs 5ks, loves yoga, dances to live music, and drinks locally brewed beer. Her first attempt at beekeeping yielded nearly one hundred pounds of honey. Follow her on Twitter at@anne_cudnik.