I really appreciate this blog entry from Bryan Furuness, editor of the exciting new Pressgang, in which he discusses thoughtfully how he learned to edit. He's spot on when he says it's somewhat of a mystery -- which I agree with. But, luckily, he goes on to try to break it down. I particularly like:
4. I read a thousand stories. Maybe more, I don’t know–but at least a thousand. Read that many stories and you get a sense of different moves a story can make. Read a thousand stories and you develop what Sondra Perl calls “felt sense.”
The term, she writes, “calls forth images, words, ideas, and vague fuzzy feelings that are anchored in the writer’s body. What is elicited, then, is not solely a product of mind, but of a mind alive in a living, sensing body.”
Felt sense links the body to the mind. If a sentence or a story is on the right track, it will feel right and satisfying. But if a line or the narrative design is off, you’ll be able to feel that, too.
Felt sense. Here's a link to Sondra Perl's "Guidelines for Composing." (Look for a future workshop based on these.)
Furuness sounds like a great editor to work with. And guess what? Pressgang is on the lookout for their next book. As of today [May 4], we are officially open for submissions. Fiction and creative nonfiction, long and short form--all creative prose is welcome here. If you've got a manuscript, we'd love to take a look.