Digressing with Dawn Raffel

An insight I had during this wonderful podcast with Dawn Raffel: Editors have a low opinion of the reader’s intellect and her ability to leap from one idea to another, while the writer has an inflated opinion of the reader’s ability to guess intent. Editors want writers to connect the dots with thick, confident pencil strokes, while writers are convinced that the light dot-dot-dash of their trains of thought are more than enough.

You know what mean?

Dawn Raffel and I talked about that, and dwelled also on the lack of strategic direction her authorship has taken.

On being a female writer:

  • raising a family took time but deepened her experience of life.
  • as an editor of so-called women’s magazines, she was written off by literary types.

It shouldn’t be lost on anyone, but in the event it is: female editors had a very hard time cracking the literary publishing world dominated by “brilliant white men” and so had to make do with editing the likes of Redbook, which then disqualified them from the world of literary publishing.

Screw the patriarchy.

Dawn also had an extraordinary insight into the rise of narrative non-fiction: if all we want is facts, we can go to Wikipedia. But if we want a story…

Other topics we covered:

  • whether or not to pursue an MFA
  • do great reviews lead to more book sales

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