Junot Diaz on writing (well sort of). Great pieces aren’t ready after one session of writing and if they are well praise be to you. One session means you haven’t enjoyed the adventure (I think.) Spending quality time with my characters and plots is truly a gift. I’ll try not to remember the imaginary awards of writing. Instead I’ll focus on the voice that comes from my papers.
You edit fiction for The Boston Review. What do you look for in a great short story? And what would make you want to immediately slip a story into the paper shredder?
Ha! Well, nothing calls for the paper shredder like a story that the writer clearly hasn’t sat on. A story that hasn’t been rewritten, or rewritten enough. So many writers that I encounter send their work in so soon. It shows, it really does. In the end all of us are subjective when it comes to what we’re reading for. As an editor you try to expand that, become a little bit wider, because you’re publishing for a readership larger than yourself. In the end what I’m looking for, which I think is what everyone looks for, is something that sings. More technically, something that is aesthetically beautiful and that challenges people’s sense of the form, and of the world that they live in. We all want to be arrested, to walk away turning over a good piece of fiction in our head. That’s my guide.