Editing as a Writer: What I’ve Learned

Posted by Christie Tiberio, GD CNF Reader for 3.2

After many weeks of deliberation, the student editors of SUNY Geneseo’s Gandy Dancer have narrowed down submissions to our final selected works for the upcoming Spring issue! We are excited to present our sixth issue, particularly because of the extended effort of time, energy, and creative problem solving that was needed in order to bring the magazine to completion. As a writer, I learned a lot about the selection and editing process. It was interesting to see how a piece would or wouldn’t work in the context of the selected submissions, due to issues of style or format. In some cases, small revisions were needed—the placement of a space break or description, a more precise title. Once these small edits were made, the piece was ready for copy-editing.

Editing an English language documentFirst, as student editors we read or viewed all the submissions for our particular genre group: Poetry, Fiction, Creative Non-Fiction, and Art. By splitting up in this fashion, those most interested in poetry were able to read and discuss all poetry, as well as make the final cuts in that genre. Proceeding this way helped to systemize the larger issue of time-management and the task of organizing separate meeting groups. Within our genre groups, many of us had differing opinions on an individual piece, and became the supporters for those works when it came time to make cuts. Although we each had our favorites, we were able to come to an agreement about which works made it into the issue, and which ones still needed some work before publication. These decisions were discussed thoroughly in a group setting.

While this makes the process sound neat and organized, emotions get messy when working with writers and avid readers who know what they like. Although that was the case, what was most valuable was the fact that we were able to put aside differences, and have clear discussions about how and why a particular piece did or did not work. Cuts were based on quality of transitions, language, and if there were too many edits to be made. These pertinent conversations helped us define our individual and group aesthetic.

Editing and copyediting the works has been challenging, since this issue will be our thickest one yet, with more prose, poetry and art than ever before. Out of the fifty works included in 3.2, one of my favorites is “Missing Photos” by Angela Rollins. In this short story, we observe an older man succumbing to dementia. The format and structure of the story reflects his diminishing mental abilities, which makes this piece especially moving. Overall, the editing process is a slow, meticulous one with lots of bumps in the road, but gradually we moved into lay out– and then onto proofreading. Soon, issues will be available—

We think you’ll enjoy Gandy Dancer 3.2!

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