#ACESchat with Ellen Datlow

#ACESchat with Ellen Datlow

October 25, 2019 By Ellen Datlow

Our guest Ellen Datlow gave us an in-depth look at editing fiction. She has been editing sf/f/h, short fiction for almost 40 years. She currently acquires short fiction and novellas for Because we ran out of time, Ellen graciously wrote follow-up responses to some of the questions that were missed.

In addition to the below responses, you can read the full recap on the #ACESchat Wakelet:

#ACESchat: What do you most enjoy about editing horror or other fictional editing?
ED: I love working with writers, enabling them to make a really good story even better (for new stories). For the best of the year, I love pushing stories I love on other readers, hoping they'll enjoy them as much as I do.

#ACESchat: With more than 35 successful years in editing, what advice would you give to someone who is interested in editing fiction?
ED: First of all, read some slush piles if you can to see what's out there. I don't know how most people learn to be editors; I only know how I did. In book editing, you start as an editorial assistant and do all the crap work in publishing plus read slush and hopefully your boss will give you an opportunity to do more creative work. I had already worked in mainstream book publishing for about 5 years before moving over to short fiction/magazine work. As for actual editing, you really learn on the job. I'm still learning. With every short story I edit, I learn. I sometimes work with a writer on a story I like before committing to buying it. I've gone through 3-4 revisions with an author before we got it right. That's not counting my final line edit before I hand the story into production for copy editing.

#ACESchat: Does the publisher put out a call for stories to fill in, or are all writers usually solicited?
ED: I'm totally in control of the editorial process. If I'm commissioned to do an anthology, it's my responsibility to solicit the writers I want in the book. I've only done a few "open calls." I usually ask a few more writers than I know I'll need in the book because writers sometimes drop out for various reasons or I don't feel the story is right for my anthology.

Header Photo Provided by Annie Spratt on Unsplash

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