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Published On: February 19, 2024 12:10 PM NPT By: Republica

Nepal Literature Festival discusses good editing and editor

Nepal Literature Festival discusses good editing and editor

KATHMANDU, Feb 19: During the fourth day of the Nepal Literature Festival, Under the theme The Art of Editing Fiction, which featured the authors Chandrahas Choudhury and Janice Pariat, different aspects of editor and editing were discussed.  

Choudhary and Pariat who hold expertise in writing and editing revolve around the conversation that was concerned with the notion of good editing and becoming a good editor. 

During the discussion, Pariat said that she noticed that the good editors ask very good questions about the story that the writer is trying to tell. 

“They are not prescriptive in sense to order the writers,” said Pariat.  

Regarding her experience of working with good editors, she further said that we are very fortunate when we find someone with whom we can work and develop incredible rapport. 

“I think we have so many legendary stories about the friendship of writers and editors across the world,” said Pariat.  “This kind of friendship is also a space for great trust.” 

Similarly, during the discussion, the other speaker Choudhury asked why it is necessary to do good editing and why it is necessary to put fictional elements while editing non-fiction materials. 

“ If the texts are beautifully edited, a story about a hamlet in a small village can reveal the truth of the society as much as a government programme where millions of money are spent,” said Choudhury. 

It's nice to encroach on nonfiction space otherwise it is so dull, he adds. 

Pariat further explained her relationship editing. She said her relationship with editing is twofold. so is her editor which is a very condensed relationship. But it's a rewarding relationship at some point. 

“I do work as an editor when I edit my work”. 

Both speakers expressed concern over how in the past few years, the magazines have stopped giving space to fictional work. 

“The South Asian landscape has expanded hugely in the last 20 years but one sad thing about English literature in South Asia is that short stories have disappeared entirely in magazines,” said Choudhury.  “Sometimes it has been replaced by online journals.” 

In the same context, Pariat adds the space in magazines is incredibly important.  

I am saying this because my first two stories were published in a Caravan Magazine. I can’t tell you about the joy of one’s name in print, said Pariat. 

She further said she also recalls, alongside the fiction stories, there used to be space for critical reflection. So there were also places for writing about writing. It is such an important space to think about writing.

According to Choudhury, the problem in fiction writing is it is becoming increasingly small. It is not a pathway to great financial prosperity. 

So, sometimes you end up in a space where you don’t want to be, he said. 

Pariat also shared about the element that she looks over language while writing and editing.  

“What is important for me is how language sounds on the pages. For me it has to sound well to my ears,” said Pariat.  

She said she looks at how the language falls in rhythm and pace. She is concerned about how the text stops when she needs to take a break. 

“My body and breath are linked to language on a page.” 


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