While every fiction writer needs to have a strong internal drive to produce fiction, very few writers will finish and revise stories in a vacuum with no hope of reaching an audience. Literary markets create incentives to invest in the time and effort it takes to produce fiction.
Which is why I’m delighted that Boyd Jay Petersen has been named editor of Dialogue. There is no guarantee, of course, that he and his team will accept my work for publication. And I don’t know that I would have stopped if a different person had been named editor, but having a former president of the Association for Mormon Letters leading Dialogue, and, it specifically being Boyd, definitely amps up my interest in submitting and subscribing* to the journal.
I say amp up. I should say instead: maintain. Or: not diminish. Because Kristine L. Haglund’s editorship** is a key reason that I have continued to write Mormon fiction instead of focusing solely on mainstream SF&F/lit fic. Frankly, I still can’t believe that she published a 10,000 word, Mormon, near future, post-apocalyptic, second person POV story that I wrote. And I doubt that I would have written the straight up Mormon literary fiction story I wrote last fall without there being the slight possibility that Dialogue might be interested in it.
There’s no money in Mormon-themed short fiction. There is not much of an audience. But there is Dialogue‘s audience. Sure, much of the audience is more interested in the non-fiction. And yes, there’s also Sunstone. But when I’ve written Mormon fiction*** over the past few years, it’s been with Kristine and the Dialogue audience in mind. In fact, I don’t think that I would have even submitted to Dialogue if Kristine being appointed editor hadn’t caused me to take a closer look at the journal as a potential venue for my own work rather than just that place that publishes stuff by people I admire. Her editorship influenced my literary production.
So while I probably shouldn’t be creating competition for myself, I do hope that Boyd’s looming tenure will give a bit of a shot in the arm to all of you who write or desire to write Mormon short fiction and poetry. I’ve already decided that I need to write something this year so I have it ready to submit in 2016. I hadn’t planned on doing so. I’m delighted that I have now changed my mind.
*coincidentally, I actually subscribed for the first time a few days ago. I also gave them a $15 donation a couple of years ago because I discovered a PayPal account that had money it I had forgotten about and decided that that was the right place to redirect that discovery. I encourage you to not take after my bad example and become a more regular, active supporter than I have been.
**And that of fiction editor Heather Marx, which Kristine was gracious enough to remind of in the comments below.
***Or at least anything over 1,500 words. The Mormon Lit Blitz is awesome, but some stories require more words.
6 thoughts on “A quick thought on Boyd Petersen being named editor of Dialogue”
I’m looking forward to see who his team will be.
William, you’re very, very kind, but all the credit has to go to Heather Marx–she is a marvel, and I’ve relied heavily (pretty much entirely, in fact) on her judgment and the subtlety and care she brings to the editing process.
I’m really thrilled that Boyd is willing, and so eminently able to take the reins. I expect ever greater things from Dialogue!
I wonder if Boyd, et al, would be interested in what may be the seminal event that led to the creation Dialogue. I believe it was a speech festival at the U of Utah student stake in spring 1961 addressing the theme: “How Can We Build the Moral Strength of Our Nation?”. Eugene England and four others (including myself) were among many student ward presenters of their respective 5-minute speeches. After becoming acquainted with each other after the speech festival (this is where I met Gene), this group of 5 young men began a private dialogue over several months to address their respective ideas. It was a feisty group! Eventually, Gene won a Danforth Fellowship to Standford University and the rest is history! Dialogue has delivered an effective answer to that speech festival’s question.
Great point, Kristine. I’ve added an additional footnote to the original post.
ENK: thanks for sharing that background. I knew the Stanford connection, but not that the seeds stretched back even further.
Golly, William, this is such a wonderful vote of confidence! I’m thrilled to get this position and I’m really excited to continue in Kristine’s tradition to bring the full range of Mormon thought into the premier Mormon Studies journal. Please send us your fiction, your poetry, your prose, your huddled masses, etc.
And ENK, I really would *LOVE* to hear that history!
So happy for Boyd. Even happier for us, and for the future of Mormon Letters.