This month’s reader for fiction is Maryam Shadmehr!
Two years ago I had an idea for a contemporary women’s fiction novel. I started collaborating with the literary world to give life to my story and edit shorter works that emerged on the side. As I interacted with talented writers and exchanged constructive feedback, some of my pieces improved and ended up being published in various places. But another exciting thing happened during this time. I discovered I could give back to the literary world– which had served me long before I could read or write– because I had the satisfying chance to help edit and promote the stories of my fellow writers.
Stories that explore mental health and social justice have a special place in my heart, and I tend to remember them more often than others. It’s definitely a bonus if these stories are about women’s challenges! The natural world and elements of any faith also inspire me, and I love to promote pieces that employ them in a creative way. For me, a good narrative doesn’t only have a consistent plot but also beautiful, evocative language that’s woven together with concise writing.
As an avid consumer of fiction, editing–for me–is mainly about reading and discovering exceptional writing. But a side bonus that may be underrated is I get to learn from fellow writers and editors in this process. Also, it feels so rewarding to see work I’ve discovered and possibly helped improve, flourish and go out in the world where it will inspire others.