And Jeremy has also done an interesting interview with Michael Curtis, longtime editor of The Atlantic. Here's a sample question and answer:
What has been your greatest editing challenge?Curtis: My greatest editing challenge. I can think of three:
A) Shortening stories far too long for The Atlantic format but so distinctive and artful that we hated to give them up. One early example was a story by Joyce Carol Oates, at the time a little known but already prolific writer of short fiction. Trimmed to half its original length, and retitled, the story appeared in The Atlantic in 1964 and was then chosen for inclusion in the O. Henry Prize Stories for that year and was awarded First Prize as the best of the stories in that collection. A more recent example: two stories by a writer whose first collection won a Flannery O Connor Award in the 1990s. We published two of his stories at roughly half their original length without, I believe, leaving out essential detail or nuance.
C) A third challenge lies in the use of language too frank or sulfurous for general audiences. When such language is fundamental to a story, can’t be changed without damage to the intent or affect of the story, we usually just return it. In many cases, however, alternates are available and are often just as effective. Such revisions, however, require negotiation and patience. In recent years, frankly, The Atlantic has allowed language it would not have published in the 1960s, offending a handful of readers but probably going unnoticed by the vast majority, and certainly by those familiar with, and comfortable with, the loosening of artistic boundaries in all the arts.
Today's assignment has to do with inventing creatures to be illustrated as part of the Shared Worlds writing camp. Should be hairy and scaly and interesting...
Illustration: The logo above is by John Coulthart, a book designer who is amply suppied with both coult and hart. The image is drawn from Jeff Vandermeer's Booklife jacket. More of John Coulthart's designs and concerns can be found at Atelier Coulthart.