Working with Matt on the story was very instructive. From the very outset, something struck me about the mentorship: working with an editor really does make you a better writer, if not a more attentive one. As we began talking about how to make the story better—particularly the ending—Matt made it clear that the ultimate goal was not to turn the story into something else but to make it work better.
I also have to remark on the fact that having another person look over your work is priceless. And what luck, if you get to work with someone like Matt, who helped me make writing decisions that would eventually be in service of the story. Apart from the usual killing of darlings, Matt steered me towards paying specific attention to each character in the story. What motivates a character’s actions? And how do these actions augur with the general arc of the story? These are some of the questions that I had to think about.
I think the main takeaway from the revision process was that it was one thing to have a story in your head and another thing—entirely—to have it on the page. In the end, I was happy with the story’s final shape: it became something that was consistent with itself.
Idza Luhumyo was born in Mombasa, Kenya. She obtained her LL.B. Degree from the University of Nairobi. Her short fiction has appeared on Jalada Africa; Writivism; Short Story Day Africa’s Migrations;Queer Africa 2;Baphash Literary & Arts Quarterly; The Johannesburg Review of Books; and Amsterdam’s ZAM Magazine. Intrigued by the idea of “writing your way in,” Idza’s literary work explores the broad themes of home, belonging, displacement, memory, language, music, class, and the everyday lives of women who live on the edges of the social order. She is currently at work on her debut work of fiction.