While it might be a bit churlish to suggest that the first editorial statement of new Stinging Fly editor Thomas Morris could have done with, er, a bit of editing, there’s plenty to like about his overall vision.
An editor with the apparent decisiveness of Morris himself would probably have taken the red pen to a few rambling opening paragraphs, but his description of the editing process, as he sees it, is vital to everyone with an aspiration of delivering work that is great, and not just passable. (And sadly, “passable” is a label even too generous for so much of the work presented for our consumption these days.)
In his manifesto, he writes:
Editing isn’t just cutting out a few words, or changing a few details, or re-aligning all the colours in your story for symbolic resonance. It’s about being really fucking harsh and asking if what you have on the page is the best you can do.
Morris outlines, in the course of 10 general bullet points, six brief italicised lessons in stereotyping aimed, in turn, at men, women and everyone, and another half a dozen items entitled “Some Points That Might Seem Obvious But Still Need To Be Made”, a series of guidelines that should be indispensible for any budding author.
With founder, publisher and long-time editor Declan Meade, in football parlance, “moving upstairs” – his immediate focus turns to the reborn Davy Byrne’s Short Story Award, the winner of which will be announced in June – we will watch developments at The Stinging Fly with interest.
The first submission period under Morris’s editorship starts on Saturday (March 1st), with all submissions received next month eligible for the October 2014 issue.