Making the Personal Public

I remember the only paper I got a “B” on was a personal reflection paper in one of my high school English classes. At the time, I was miffed. How could I get a “B” for writing my own thoughts and experiences? I was just being honest. (Actually, I think I did slack on that paper, but that’s neither here nor there). The point is, criticizing and editing personal writing can be especially tricky, because the author has a particular closeness to the subject matter—the events really did happen, the thoughts were really had, the feelings really felt. As we move into the developmental editing stage on Trout Frying in America, I feel blessed that the manuscript— which is, of course, extremely personal—is such a strong, finely-wrought work. All things considered, the edits we plan to suggest are minimal. Our task will be only to sharpen and tighten the manuscript, not propose substantial change. The truth in Allison’s story and the talent she possesses have made our job an extremely enjoyable one.

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