Most likely, anyone coming to this site has the writing bug, either actively writing (yay!) or thinking about doing so (yay to you, too!). After all, the site is called the Burlington Writers Workshop.
But there is a hidden word in its title. One that should go without saying. So, of course, I’m going to say it and talk about it. Though before I do, can you guess what it is?
Actually it’s two words, to be all Strunk-and-White proper. However, the other one is “and,” which is a great word, but isn’t the one I’m looking for.
Did you guess it now?
This organization could be called Burlington Writers (and Readers) Workshop.
Writers, in general, tend to be voracious readers. Which is a good thing. Not only does reading improve your own writing—it also makes other writers happy. Especially when reading leads to publication, which leads to their work being read by a larger audience than, say, just the staff at Mud Season Review.
As fiction co-editor at MSR, I read a lot of submissions. Not all of them, of course, get published. But did you know that not all of the ones I like get published either?
So how do we decide?
Lots of readers, lots of discussion, and lots of coin tossing.
Just kidding about the coin tossing.
But nothing gets rejected based on only one set of eyes. And by the time something makes it all the way to publication, it has had a great number of eyes upon it and has been read and reread. There is often story advocacy involved and more than a little persuasion.
After all, we’re human. Maybe I didn’t get the symbolism of the rocking chair during my read and need to have it pointed out. Or maybe I need to make the case that a story isn’t scant, but brilliantly minimalistic.
We all have our biases, thoughts of what makes a good story, and reasons for liking or disliking something. I know for myself, dialogue is one of the more important elements. I have a lot of flaws as a writer, but I tend to write strong dialogue. So when it isn’t done well, it’s difficult for me to take a work seriously, even one with otherwise cool rocking chair symbolism.
The diversity of our fiction team helps us ensure that what ends up on our site is the best that we can find. We are currently looking for more readers to join our staff. If you are a Burlington Writers Workshop member and you’re interested in reading for us, please send an e-mail to email@example.com.
—JD Fox, co-editor of fiction and consulting poetry editor, Mud Season Review