A Word From Our Editors

Hey. My name’s Joshua Vaught, or Johva. Some things about me:

I’ve never been to a town hall meeting, a circus, a freak show, or a soccer game. My favorite author isn’t Stephanie Meyer, J.K. Rowling, or E.L. James. I plan to avoid any and all high school reunions. If possible, I would redefine the word “doh” to mean “America the Beautiful”; also, I would create a new word, “asdf,” to mean “a word that means what it’s intended to stand for.” I sleep on a futon using a folded blanket as a pillow and pillows as a blanket. My biggest pet peeve is forgetting where I’ve placed something. I’m currently reading The Court of the Air by Stephen Hunt, which has proven difficult because I’m squeamish. My favorite “quote” is a section from Philip Larkin’s poem, “Church Going”: “Yet stop I did: in fact I often do, / And always end much at a loss like this, / Wondering what to look for.” My hobbies include writing and reading (go figure), making computer music, watching Japanese shows, and playing video games. My favorite genres are short fiction and romance. My favorite book is Moon Palace by Paul Auster.

Comments for writers of fiction:

I feel like many fiction writers picture the reader as someone sitting in a crowd of groupies. This concerns me, since I feel I have to be interested in the story’s genre and format to properly judge the piece. I shouldn’t have to feel this way, though. If the writer is doing his or her job correctly, it won’t matter if the story is about religion, Aids, rock-climbing, or what have you because I’ll want to read until the conflicts and characters are resolved. To put it directly, I want you, the writer of fiction, to show me you’re wild side, that part of you of that makes you you.

Look at it this way. I, the reader, am your lover, a close friend, a family member. I am someone that needs more than a silly pat on the back, and someone who you need to desperately open up to. I want you to speak with your voice from your unique perspective. It goes without saying that you need to adhere to the basic conventions of writing and story-telling, but your story needs to be about what you’re interested in; otherwise, the story is going to feel recycled. Recycled stories are good for making money, but aren’t truly stories in my opinion. They’re old models with new clothes—gilded clichés.

The two most important aspects of any story in my opinion are the characters and their interactions with each other. Fully realized characters and highly developed interactions can help in the development of other aspects of a story, such as setting—a room is more than a few walls and props, so long as there are characters to create meaning for them. When it comes to characters, I’m looking, for instance, for the bastard in lens-less shades willing to knock down my front door, armed to the teeth: Hello Kitty squirt-guns in western-style gun-holsters, slanted around the hips, several packets of caffeinated gum bulging from the front pockets, and an ammo belt filled to capacity with miniature Starbucks canisters. That’ll grab my attention. But then I want to know, why? I don’t mind if you make him smile or snarl or rear to hock a loogi, just so long as you make him say something afterwards to justify the intrusion. I hate it when characters don’t speak up, talk to others in the room, and make things meaningful and relatable. You can’t expect to make an impression by having him just stand there. Sure the outfit may speak for itself, but there’s nothing like a badass with a badass attitude who feels the same way as you do about, say, the irrelevancy of using doors to make you feel like a badass too. You can keep it short with just a few powerful sentences if you have to, but make sure it’s worth the cost of a replacement door. Finally, when you decide it’s time for him to leave, you should make him whistle the tune to Seibu no Kettou as he kicks his way through the debris, or do something equally as memorable, or it’s just not complete. Make his exit epic. Interesting. Worth it.

There are plenty of things that need to be considered when writing a story. Just be sure to make it your story and to make it real for your reader. If you’re going to fly around on a winged bic pen, then I need to be their riding with you. I don’t want to watch from the sidelines.

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