I think we sometimes give a mythical aura to what we read in books and magazines. The authors, we unconsciously presume, are superhuman, loaded with 50,000-word vocabularies, perfect grammar, and creativity, intellect and style beyond all non genetically-enhanced capacity.
Sure, published writers get published for good reason. They write well. Really well. But part of the aura of publication, I think, comes from how we, the readers, approach the writing.
Your friend hands you an essay, telling you it was written by a Pulitzer Prize winner. You'll expect shimmering intellectual brilliance and chef-d'oeuvre style. If, instead, your friend says it was written by a first-year college student, well, you'll likely read the piece (if you bother at all) with another set of expectations.
New Comm Ave was founded by graduate students at Boston College. We agreed that our students needed a real-world reason to refine their writing to publishable standards. We also wanted to provide a forum for them to share what they produced with a global audience. With you.
Read the products. You'll find a wealth of ideas, sprinkled with nuanced descriptions and thought-provoking insights, all thought up and put into writing by first-year students. It's impressive, truly impressive, and it has made me wonder why such writing emerges when writers try to publish.
Here's what I think. Writers who submit for publication revise from a readerly vantage-- they begin to see how their words will be understood by readers. The first-year writers who submit to New Comm Ave thus gain an awareness of audience afforded to writers who publish. And the writing, as you'll see, reflects that perspective. The other reason the writing is so good is because you, the reader, come to the journal for published essays. You come expecting good writing.
-- Mark Fullmer,