Sunday, July 22, 2012

Sometimes We Really Can Help Other Writers

Not so long ago, I critiqued a contest entry called "A Trip to America" that didn't make the final judging round of our contest. We liked the story and thought it had good potential. We also pointed out some specific areas where we didn't think it worked as well as it could have, and made suggestions about how to strengthen it.

The author just emailed us to say that he rewrote the story, at least partially based on our critique, and now it's published in a magazine called Litro. That makes somewhere around five to seven stories that our critiques have helped get published in other magazines.

I'm proud to show off "A Trip to America" by Tony Concannon. I hope you like it as much as we do. Congratulations, Tony!



  1. After reading "A Trip to America," I am curious to know what you liked about it.

    1. I like the overall tone and the understated emotion. We get a fair number of stories that attempt this kind of quiet minimalism but don't do it as well.The one time in the story when Taeko can't hide the depth of her feeling is when she imagines throwing the pie. But that line worked for me because the rest of the story was so quiet.

      I also like how the story evokes the feeling that Taeko was on the right track with her desire for Edward, but that she'd acted on it too late. That's a really sad position to be in and I think the story captures that idea well.

      If I remember right, the draft I read had excess material in it that I felt clogged the story somewhat, and I don't recall the pie line working quite as well then. I'd have to dig out the old critique to be sure, but I think that was the main concern we had.

      What worked against it, and what might still work against it as a contest entry, is that it's a rather simple piece. Simple pieces tend to lose out to more complex ones, for some reason, in our magazine. I'm not sure why.