NC Literary Hall of Fame




WRIGHTSVILLE BEACH—Beth Staples, editor of Lookout Books, will teach the session "Understanding the Editorial Process" at the North Carolina Writers' Network 2017 Fall Conference, November 3-5, at the Holiday Inn Resort in Wrightsville Beach.

Registration is now open.

Many writers feel uneasy at the very idea of having their work edited. Picture an editor, and you might think of an angry red pen, someone intent on finding mistakes. But Beth, Editor at Lookout Books and Senior Editor at Ecotone magazine, believes very strongly in a collaborative writer-editor relationship, one that can do wonderful things for a piece of writing. This class will aim to demystify the editorial process and give advice about the best way to receive edits and work with an editor. From smaller pieces at literary journals to book-length projects, Beth will give you a peek behind the editorial curtain, and explain the various stages of the editorial process, from acquisition to proofreading and everything in between.

NCWN has been celebrating literary journals this year, so we asked Beth to tell us about her first publication.

"My first acceptance from a literary magazine came while I was in the final year of MFA at Arizona State. I was working on a novel for my thesis about a woman who, on the weekends, threw on a colored polo and some khakis and pretended to work at big box stores—the Home Depot, mostly—as a way to fend off her overwhelming loneliness. The Portland Review accepted the first brief chapter, which was un-enchantingly titled “Something with a Name.” In that section: a love scene of sorts, in which the main character’s pet rabbit chokes and dies on a condom, a moment that actually made me sob while writing it, perhaps more in response to my own loneliness than the power of the scene. This novel is now, thankfully, in the drawer. But I was so grateful for the publication, which was perhaps the first time I felt like a real writer.

Beth Staples is editor for Lookout Books, the boutique literary press out of UNCW, and senior editor for Ecotone, its sister magazine. She edits prose, both fiction and nonfiction, and was recently the editor for the novel Honey from the Lion and the story collection We Show What We Have Learned. She is also the assistant director of the Publishing Laboratory and teaches classes at UNCW related to editing, publishing, and book design. She received her MFA in fiction writing from Arizona State University.

The University of North Carolina at Wilmington Department of Creative Writing will sponsor the Closing Reception of Writers' Week, which leads directly into the Opening Reception of NCWN's 2017 Fall Conference, on Friday, November 3, beginning at 6:00 pm.

Fall Conference attracts hundreds of writers from around the country and provides a weekend full of activities that include lunch and dinner banquets with readings, keynotes, tracks in several genres, open mic sessions, and the opportunity for one-on-one manuscript critiques with editors or agents. This year's Master Classes will be led by Dan Albergotti (Poetry); Wendy Brenner (Creative Nonfiction); and Nina de Gramont (Fiction).

The nonprofit North Carolina Writers’ Network is the state’s oldest and largest literary arts services organization devoted to all writers, in all genres, at all stages of development. For additional information, visit


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