I’m really looking forward to this new series by the Kenyon Review online: Why We Chose It. In its first column, David Lynn discusses why KR published “Blue Bear” by Elizabeth Chandler, which will appear in the Winter 2011 issue of The Kenyon Review. You can read the article here.
Lynn makes an interesting observation, one that always surprises writers when I say the same thing at conferences and while teaching: “Here’s a terrible secret: editors read with an eye out for reasons to stop reading. We want, we need, to move on to the next submission.” People are shocked that editors don’t read an entire story, sometimes stopping after only a paragraph or two. But it’s the writer’s job to keep the editor reading. Editors have too many submissions to give every story a second and third chance. It’s usually one strike, you’re out. Sure, it’s tough, but learn all the pitches. Put in the extra time at the batting cage. Make the beginning irresistible. Keep the door open, and leave a nice bottle of wine on the porch.
Anyway, I think that “Why We Chose It” is a nice companion series for jmww’s ORIGINs—We report why authors write the stories they’ve written, and the staff of the Kenyon Review reports why they’ve chosen the stories they’ve chosen.