During the month of August, Black Lawrence Press author Kelly Magee
is offering consultations on full-length short
story collections of up to 180 pages.
should be double spaced and formatted in 12 point font. The fee for this consultation is $350.
deadline to submit work for this consultation program is August 31.
Kelly will complete her work and respond to all program participants by
Space in this program is limited, so please be sure to submit your work soon!
Kelly's Statement of Purpose
I’m most drawn to stories that have a sense of urgency –
that feel like they needed to be written. Discovering subject matter that
ignites the imagination is important, as is being willing to take risks with
form and content. But channeling and sustaining that urgency is a matter of
technique. Sometimes it’s what hovers around the edges of a story that is most vital,
or sometimes it’s a matter of finding the right container to deliver the
content. I am interested not just in where a story goes, but where else it might go: what submerged themes
might surface, what layers might be more consciously developed, what surprising
threads might emerge with a few well-placed cuts.
When working with a fiction manuscript, my first goal is
analysis: what are the stories doing, what is their ambition, what are the
reasons behind the choices and directions they’ve taken. Then I examine how are
they working together as a collection/cohesive narrative. I strive to honor the
ambition of the story or collection, and then to consider how it might more
strongly fulfill its own goals. This can happen at the macro level, by
examining plot, structure, character, setting, point of view, and scenes; or at
the micro level, by sharpening word choice and sensory detail, attending to the
musicality and pace of the sentences, and condensing the language. The work of
revision is, as Heather Sellers says, to identify ways to intensify the
experience for the reader…whatever that experience might be.
I’m delighted by work that blurs genre, finds the magic in
the everyday, and uncovers the “consistent inconsistencies” in each character
and setting. I love a story that asks me to sympathize with a villain or
second-guess a hero. I am a particular fan of fabulism and fairy tales, as well
as realist work of all genres that addresses identity and intersectionality
(such as recent work by Kelly Link, Ta-Nehisi Coates, Diane Cook, and Maggie
Nelson). In my own writing, I gravitate toward difficult characters and
questions, especially as approached irreverently or with humor. I favor active
settings that don’t just channel characters’ emotions but influence the plot. And
while I enjoy playing with unconventional points of view and experimental forms,
my fidelity is always to the well-told story.
Above all, the experience of reading a work of fiction is a relationship
between the reader and the text, one built, as Michael Chabon says, on “mutual
support through intertwining, like a pair of trees grown together.” My job is
to support your text through careful analysis of its aims and pleasures, and by
proposing ways to heighten the experience of reading it.