As we move further into our Writers/Editors series, the importance of tailoring - of taking those scissors and really going at it, and not being too precious about it, either - is coming to the fore.And looking ahead this week on Canada Writes, we've pretty much assembled a master class in the importance of editing. >
Tomorrow, novelist Michael Winter will talk about an experience that must have left his fingernails bitten to the quick - the day before the submission deadline to the 2004 CBC Literary Awards, he realized his entry was twice the admissible length, and what ensued was a frenetic self-edit that garnered him a first-place finish. (Timely advice, as we've shortened our word count for the CBC Short Story Prize this year.)
Workshopping is another opportunity for us, as writers, to be brought down to earth. Sometimes with a crash. (I was once workshopped by an IMPAC-shortlisted writer who repeatedly referred to my story by the wrong title. And I don't mean slightly the wrong title - I mean a completely different title. Yet her guidance was spot-on.) Here at Canada Writes, we're now in the midst of receiving your entries for our own short story workshop with Giller winner David Bergen. On Wednesday, we'll be running a Q&A with David to give you the inside track on what he's looking for. If you haven't already entered, for the love of God, do it now.
But before you hit the "submit" button, maybe take a nap - according to former House of Anansi publisher Martha Sharpe, this is an essential part of the editing process. (At least when you're editing heavy-hitters like Margaret Atwood.) You'll be hearing from her on Thursday as part of our Writers/Editors series.
Finally, we'll be ending out the week with a bang - when we announce the winner of our Autobiography Challenge. The big reveal takes place this Friday, with thoughts from judge Kirstie McLellan Day on how she chose the winner.
I can't wait to find out who Kirstie picks - and what great writerly works will then be dreamed up on that new iPad 2.
Jennifer Warren - Editor, Canada Writes