News, Perspectives, and Insights on Writing and Publishing

From the Staff of The Editorial Department

July 26, 2016

What Editors (Really) Do
A guide for authors, by Editorial Department founder Renni Browne

In one of my favorite New Yorker cartoons by Sam Gross, a cat is maniacally clawing an upholstered chair, obviously not for the first time. In the caption its owner explains to her guests: “We believe that in a former life she was an editor.” Over the forty-five […]
July 20, 2016

Coming Out of the Fanfiction Closet
Part Two: But do the original authors approve?

This is part of a series on fanfiction. For the first entry, click here. So you’re a famous author. You’ve written a series that’s captured the imaginations of millions of readers. You have fan clubs, a movie deal, hordes of Twitter followers, and high six-figure royalty advances. Then […]
July 18, 2016

Coming Out of the Fanfiction Closet
Part One: The fanfiction writer

Remember all the furor about E.L. James’s bestselling trilogy Fifty Shades of Grey and its unabashed origins in Twilight fanfiction? That series started a healthy debate among writers and fans alike about the concept of fanfiction. Some of us read it, others hate it, and then there’s a number of […]
July 12, 2016

To MFA or Not?
Editor Andrew Hilleman considers the pros and cons of an MFA in fiction writing

When it comes to the question whether or not you should pursue an MFA in creative writing, you’ll get ten different responses from ten different people. One guy will tell you only the big programs—Iowa Writer’s Workshop and its ilk—are worth the effort. The next gal will tell […]
June 20, 2016

Spelling it Out in the Synopsis

Let’s start by getting this out in the open: I’m not what one would call an especially fantasy-savvy reader. I like good stories regardless of the genre, but when my co-workers start throwing around fantasy references during our chats, I more often than not have to quickly google […]
May 24, 2016

The Writer’s Secret Weapon: The Power of What You Leave Out
Editor Renni Browne explores the value of what's left unsaid in good storytelling

Here’s an excerpt from a writing contest entry where a man is driving to San Diego with the servant girl he’s just given a Rolex watch—a girl who gave him something he valued much more: Amir’s assignment had been to gain access to Bonnie Becker’s house, using Marie’s position as […]