Melissa Schell a.k.a Editor Extraordinaire
Our Loss Anthology is about more than just creating an anthology. It was an idea turned into a collaboration and a way to understand writing, the publishing industry and how loss affects life every day. Bridging creativity and inspiration in the writing world, five people from all across America came together to create Our Loss. Hundreds of writers and authors have already submitted content and the deadline is just over a month away.
How did each member get involved?
Somehow, somewhere Aaron Pasker convinced five different voices to join the executive team (or as Aaron would say, coerced into joining) to edit, design, publish, and market a brand new anthology.
Here are six questions with Melissa Schell our Editor Extraordinaire. She has a hell of a workload ahead of her along with the other editors.
Q: Tell us a little about yourself: Where are you from? What do you enjoy outside of writing?
A: My name is Melissa Schell. I am 24 years old (25 in December), and am a recent college graduate from Arizona State University with a Bachelor of Arts degree in English. I currently work part-time at Starbucks, but I am looking for full-time work in the writing field.
I live in Victorville, CA. California sounds glamorous, but I live in a town in the High Desert. The most exciting thing we have out here are tumbleweeds. It’s right between Las Vegas and Los Angeles, however, so I do *visit* the glamorous places sometimes.
Outside of writing, I enjoy running and doing yoga, baking and cooking, and doing nerdy things with my boyfriend like playing Pokemon TCG and D&D. I also host a bi-weekly book club with a close group of friends.
Q: About your writing: When did you realize you were a writer or when did you fall in love with writing? Have you published before and where? What are your writing dreams and goals or what do you enjoy writing the most?
A: I fell in love with writing when I was about seven years old. I remember me and my friends were writing stories at school, and we were trying to see who could write the longest story. I don’t remember who ended up having the longest story, but I do remember that I never stopped writing after that.
I always did the Young Authors books in elementary school and took many writing classes throughout high school and college. My current writing goal is to be published since I have yet to be officially published in anything.
Q: How did you hear about Our Loss Anthology and what made you get involved?
A: I heard about Our Loss when I met Aaron through a writing group on Facebook. I posted a short story of mine in the group one day, asking for help with editing it. I don’t have any friends that are into editing, so my boyfriend had suggested I meet some people through Facebook groups. Aaron tore my story apart, then felt bad and said I could join his group that was putting together an anthology of stories and poetry. Just kidding… he didn’t feel bad at all about it. But, he did like my writing, and after I helped him with some of his stories, he invited me to join the editing team for the anthology.
Q: Do you have any advice for the writers submitting to Our Loss Anthology? Any advice to aspiring writers in general?
A: Keep your readers in mind. When you’re writing your story, ask yourself, “Why should other people care about this?” If you can’t answer that question, it won’t be a story worth reading for your readers. Writers are always in their own heads, so you always need other perspectives for your writing. A lot of it makes sense to you and is important to you, but it won’t be for others.
Also, try to keep in mind the saturation of the market. How does your story stand out from the dozens of other stories with the same topic? This is important to keep in mind for our anthology. Many people have lost a parent, a loved one, their dog, etc. So, how will your loss stand out to me when I read it?
On another note, I recommend reading submission guidelines. That’s important for any place you’re submitting to, not just our anthology. If your story isn’t written in Times New Roman font, size 12, I won’t read it, and neither will other editors at other places. It may ~look cool~ to you, but as a reader, it’s just annoying.
Q: Where can we find you and learn more about your writing and projects?
Q: What is your favorite book, author or quote from a book?
A: My favorite book is A Portrait of the Artist as a Young Man by James Joyce. I’m a sucker for classic coming-of-age novels. It’s also a lot less to take in than Joyce’s other works, but still a fulfilling read.
Tune in next time for 6 questions with another team member