Tuesday, 19 August 2008

Selecting content

Well, the content for page seventeen Issue 6 is almost decided, and given there were six people's opinions to consider, it all went very smoothly. More smoothly than I could have anticipated, for sure. Aside from my own poor adding, that is. Qualified to teach calculus, but unable to count to 180!

Not that it is necessarily a problem. Every issue, we hold a few pieces as stand-by in case there is extra space, so we're currently deciding which of those to include. It is almost impossible to know exactly how many pages each story will occupy in the issue, particularly those from the competition and/or the ones that come in via Aussie Post. Before the selection meeting, it comes down to educated guesswork as far as this goes. And, since then, we have also 'lost' a story as one of the authors has had it accepted elsewhere first. A 'new writer', which is fantastic news for him, having two journals want the same story at the same time.

A story I mentioned a while back, the one I loved so much I had to stop reading for the day, didn't seem to have the same effect on the rest of the editorial team. Well, it was generally agreed it was strong, and certainly one of the strongest, and was hence slotted in very early in the piece, but it wasn't the absolute favourite of anyone else. Another story, that I had considered average, and thought would only just make it in (or just miss out) was the favourite of two others. This is one of the aspects I find most interesting and is something all writers should keep in mind.

Without doubt, some of the stories and/or poems that go into each issue come down to a matter of the editorial team's personal taste. And I doubt this is restricted to page seventeen. There is always more than enough poetry and prose to fill the pages that is well written, or at least competently written, and hence, good enough to publish. So, it has to come down to something else. Even as far as competent writing goes, we didn't all agree, so it's also fair to say that different editors look for and/or notice different things. Just as one example to make the point, one or two stories that some loved were pointed out by others to have flaws like changes in point of view, or in tense, when they shouldn't have. And so, were dropped.

Then, the last two or so pieces to go in almost came down to popularity. Once we had a list of 'maybes' to choose from, the next bests to go in, flaws or no flaws, we just voted. So, if I wanted to preach, here's where I'd suggest writers check out the journals they are sending work off to, for style. (But we all know that some writers do, and most don't, regardless, so I won't bother.)

PS. Printer cartridge did arrive yesterday...yay.

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