POLLY ALICE MCCANN
Short Story Editor
I’ve been working as an independent Editorial Illustrator in San Francisco since 2023, perfecting my craft and experimenting with different artistic disciplines. I knew I wanted to pursue an artistic career from an early age, and work hard every day to hone my craft. Learn more about me, my work, and all that I can do for you by exploring my site.
Character and Setting are key to rooting your readers into the narrative of your short story. Setting is one of your Characters! The protagonist or main character must change and make debateable choice (s) in the story as well as have conflict either internally or externally or both to move the action forward.
Each story has its own style and form with scenes, micro scenes and a careful weaving of point of view from the protagonist. A short story means that every choice for the author feels important and it is. Revising for the theme can help your story feel like it has a natural consistent voice and style, keeping your reader in the moment as they take this short journey with you. A good story can make the reader feel as if they've watched a whole film, or read a whole novel-- that's because of the point of view, leaving room for the reader's imagination yet also remembering what they need to know, and how to treat them as brilliant readers without keeping secrets from them. It's a relationship I can help you build into your writing.
ACTION AND CONFLICT/ DIALOGUE
The most important thing I look for in a short story is how the action and conflict, even the back story are relayed through creative natural dialogue. Does the story use these tools to do more with less? This is where everything hinges on revealing who your characters are and how they relate to their world. The short story plot must have enough conflict and resolution to give the reader a sense of wonder or closure, even to the point of an enjoyable reread. To me, short stories are like a slice of pie. They need layers of structure and opacity as well as a recognizable form that tells us beginning middle and end.
THINGS I LOOK AT AS YOUR EDITOR...
From the first line
Literary magazines only publish a tiny fraction of the short stories they receive.
To get your short story out into the world of the literary journal or collection, you may see more results after some professional feedback. That’s where I can help. I've edited several short story collections, and have published work in literary journals myself.
With an MFA in the craft of writing, I can easily help you break down the short story into understandable pieces with strategies to get it working at the next level. Some of my students and private clients have been very ambitious about their writing careers or have already published with a few of the top five houses, while others have simply wanted to capture their life experiences in language for their community. It’s my goal as a developmental editor to help you find the path that's right for you.
I’m an encouraging mentor who builds you up and helps you find more inspiration.
I will also help you find gaps where the reader may have more questions.
When you contact me, please tell me about yourself. What kind of critique has helped you in the past, and what are some of your goals for the work that you are sending me. Whether you are a beginner or have written stories for decades, I'll provide experienced editorial guidance to help provide the best reader experience as well as help you meet your goals for your work.
You'll receive an editorial letter, editorial notes from me, with a breakdown chart of what's going well and where you need work in the following areas: Character, Setting, Theme Point of View, Action/Conflict, and Dialogue. You'll also receive a complimentary consultation online or by phone if you like.
To schedule a call to talk about your goals for a short story editing session sign up below.
SHORT STORY COLLECTIONS I'VE EDITED
"Polly is so encouraging. She caught my vision and reflected it back to me! She has been a light and an encouragement every step of the way! Polly helps and encourages me to present my best work! She's a visionary with positive energy!!!" Leanne Litka
"There's something open and inviting about [what you do] ... What zeal, enthusiasm, and energy! Brava!"
"[Your editor's notes] It's some of the best news I've received in a long time!" Brian
"Wow, thank you so much . . . [your editor's letter] was incredibly helpful! I appreciate your detailed feedback, line notes, encouraging kind words.... I'm working hard with the next draft! Soon, I can soon recommend you..."
"Polly helped me with a draft ... manuscript and her deep knowledge of fiction writing and character were so illuminating that I've spent years benefiting from her insights. She can decisively get to the heart of a narrative's weakness and help invent solutions".
"It was really good talking to you this afternoon. You gave me good advice and a lot of encouragement. Thanks very much." J. Atherton