A note from Contributing Editor Will Allison about the next One Story class, and why editing is so important to writing

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In the summer of 1996, a few months after I finished my MFA at Ohio State, I got the luckiest break of my writing career: I landed an editorial job at Story, the fabled literary magazine that prided itself on discovering great new writers, from J. D. Salinger and Carson McCullers in the 1930s and 1940s to Junot Díaz and our own Hannah Tinti in the 1990s.

I say it was the luckiest break of my career because even though I’d been writing fiction for eight years, editing stories taught me how to write them much better. My job at Story also gave me insight into what I could expect when the day came that I’d be working with an editor myself.

In putting together One Story’s next online course, Become Your Own Best Editor, I thought a behind-the-scenes look at the editorial process—using actual marked-up manuscripts—would be as instructive for other writers as it was for me. And I had the perfect story in mind: Laura Spence-Ash’s debut, “The Remains” (issue #188). Laura was great to work with, a writer who was open to feedback and who improved upon our suggestions, making her story even better than we envisioned.

In addition to drafts of “The Remains,” the ten-day course (June 12 – 21) will include daily online text lectures, assignments, and a message board where you can share ideas and manuscripts with other writers who are committed to becoming better editors of their own work. To find out more about this course, go here. Deadline to sign up is noon on June 12.

I hope you’ll join us!

2 thoughts on “A note from Contributing Editor Will Allison about the next One Story class, and why editing is so important to writing

  1. Hi Will,

    This sounds like a fantastic class. Could you give me a sense of how much time a person would spend on the class per day? Just trying to make sure I have the time before signing up. Thanks!

  2. Hi, Bix. The course is designed for participants to go at their own pace and at a level of involvement of their own choosing.

    New text “lectures” are posted daily, along with any relevant manuscript drafts, but the materials remain available throughout the course (and for a week after), so if you miss any days, you can always go back and catch up.

    How much time you’d spend on the course per day is really up to you. I’d say you could get a lot out of the course at thirty minutes to an hour a day, but if you choose to be active on the message board, and/or if you’re editing a story of your own as you do the course, you could spend much more time.

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