This is an excerpt of Part 2 of an interview done by Janet Sketchley with the co-editors of A Second Cup of Hot Apple Cider. Read both parts of the interview at Janet’s blog, God With Us: Finding Joy.
Janet: I’m not sure where you found time to write, but you each contributed a piece for the anthology as well. Was it difficult editing one another’s work without that second, impartial editor?
NJL: We tried to get at least a first draft done before the submissions deadline because we knew how swamped we’d be after that. I actually tried writing about four other short stories before I hit on the one that we used in the book.
I have two terrific concept/substantive editors who live close-by, so they always read my work first anyway. (My #2 son and my husband, in case you’re wondering.) They give me very honest and often annoying feedback. So I don’t think editing our own pieces was a huge problem. I think I was as tough on Wendy as I’d been on everyone else.
The real problem was that we kept leaving our own pieces to the last to edit, which wasn’t good.
WEN: Yes, we were tough on each other’s pieces too, and we went through a number of revisions just like everyone else. But it was hard slogging because we were completely exhausted by the time we focused on finishing our own pieces at the end.
I deliberately chose to write someone else’s story, because I think too often writers who are Christian focus only on their own experiences when many other people have wonderful stories others would benefit by reading. But writing a 3,500 word human interest profile is a huge amount of work, because you have to get to know the people, do lengthy interviews, ask the right questions, transcribe everything that was said, organize the material, condense it all, focus on the story aspects, get the answers to any missing details, retain the other persons’ voices… and make sure that you have represented them fairly, accurately and compellingly.