So I have a secret to share. It’s not a well guarded secret. We just never told anybody. I’m coming out with it now because I want to talk about it and why it’s important to me.
I’m a slush reader for Fireside Fiction Company.
I never talk about it because ultimately, the decisions behind what gets published and what doesn’t are up to the editor, Brian White. I’m talking about it now because Fireside Fiction Company really needs help in staying open for business – and working with Fireside has made me a better writer.
While I’m slushing (which I do quarterly now) I read a lot more variety than I do when I’m not slushing. Flash fiction, short stories, all of it comes across my desk and I can’t just read it for fun – I have to think critically about it.
I have to think about *why* I don’t like a piece, or what I think makes it work. I have to be critical, but I also have to be thoughtful.
Most of all, even when I’ve run across things that make me mad, I still have to be kind – because I’m a writer, and so is every person whose work comes across my desk.
Working for Fireside (and for Brian) has been an exercise in not only looking at work and thinking about what makes it work or not work, but it has taught me how to look at my own work more objectively It’s taught me how to be a better writer. I’m not saying that it’s an overnight thing, but now I know better what to look for.
It’s also been an exercise in learning what the publication wants and how to give the readership what they’re looking for every issue.
Slushing isn’t just sifting through to find good words – it’s more than that. It’s about finding what’s needed and wanted out in the world.
I don’t want to stop doing this – I want to keep working with Fireside. I want to keep finding stories. I want to keep reading stories and being challenged to read more critically every time we open for submissions.
Supporting Fireside supports writers, including me.
So, if you feel like it, go over and read what Brian has to say about the Year 4 Fundraising Needs.