Wednesday, September 19, 2007

psf 3 - first reading done

Burning the midnight oil for the past few nights, my co-editor Nikki and I have completed our first reading pass of the submissions for the 3rd volume of the antho, happily reading in silence, sometimes surrounded by stories on the bed, or at the computer with a cigarette or at the living room with food.

Last night, Sage found us engrossed and scribbling initial comments, and brought her own reading material and sat with us until her patience wore thin.

"Dad," she said. "What are you guys reading?"

"Stories for a new book," I mumbled.

"Can I help?"

I looked up from the well-written story I was reading, about a man in a future where everyone is starving due to stuff placed in the world's water supply, and handed it over to my daughter.

Sage took the story, squinted at the text (we reformatted everything to LitCrit printout standards - Book Antiqua, font 8, two columns, landscape orientation) and silently read for a few seconds.

"This is a good story, Dad," she told me, returning the story under consideration. "I'm off to watch TV now."

"But Sage," I interrupted her. "You can't judge a story without reading all of it."

"Daaaaad," she said, moving to the doorway. "I know it's good."

Wisely, I decided not to engage her on the finer details of judging texts. After all, she was right. That particular story got a "hell, yes!" later from me, and a "definitely yes" from Nikki, and so it went into both our shortlists.

Overall, I am impressed by the quality of the stories submitted this year. Like the two previous volumes, stories came in from various parts of the country, the US and Europe.

Nikki and I both have initial shortlists, but these may change after the next two reading passes, as subsequent readings reveal story strengths and subtleties or (not-so-obvious) weaknesses that we missed during the first reading pass. We're targeting the end of next week for finalizing the TOC.

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