Saturday, July 20, 2013

On Editing - Nancy Kilpatrick - Biggest 'Ah-Ha!' Moments in Writing

     As every publisher will tell you, "Anthologies don't sell."  They do, of course, but what is required to garner sales is "names", well-known and best-selling authors, with a following. Not only are such people necessary to sell to the public, but they are also crucial in terms of an editor selling the anthology idea to a publisher.

     When David Morrell and I co-edited TESSERCTS THIRTEEN (2009), it was a wide-open anthology--the only completely open antho I've edited.  Over 200 stories came in and we both read all of them, some several times.  That's a lot of work.  The rest of my edited anthologies have been only partially open.  Once the "names" are locked in, I try to include a few new writers who have written a knock-out tale.

     One thing I've learned over my 20 years of editing is that most new writers overwrite.  As Anton Chekov said, "The art of writing is the art of abbreviation."  The great thing about what is written down in print or ebook is that it can be reread, so there's no need to say it twice.  The other weakness I notice in new writers is overdescription.  Don't describe what's obvious, normal, commonplace and understood by all--that puts the reader to sleep.  Save the wordage for the tension of the plot, where it's needed most.

Nancy Kilpatrick is an award-winning writer and editor.  As the latter, she's just handed in her 13th anthology, EXPIRATION DATE, to be release at WHC 2014.  Her newest published anthology DANSE MACABRE: CLOSE ENCOUNTERS WITH THE REAPER features stories by Tanith Lee, Brian Lumley, Tom Piccirilli Nancy Holder and others, and has won the Paris Book Festival's award for best Anthology of 2012.  For a list of most of her anthologies, check her (sadly in need of updating) website here.

And please join her on Facebook.

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