Dan Rabarts

In 2012, Jacob Edwards accepted my story Paint By Numbers, for Andromeda Spaceways Inflight Magazine. This was my first story acceptance to a (then) print magazine, so as a fresh new writer I was excited and nervous about what this fabled editing process might be like. Would this stranger see my meaning as clearly as I did? Would he gut the story and try to make it his own? After putting Paint By Numbers through the razor, would it still be truly mine? Thankfully, Jacob did all the good things I had hoped for and none of the bad stuff I’d heard might happen. We worked together to fine tune and polish the work, grinding away the imperfections and buffing the shiny bits until they gleamed. Jacob asked some piercing questions, both of the story as a whole and of particular choices of word or turns of phrase, inviting me to revisit and tighten in places, for the overall good of the work. It was an experience which, for me as a new writer, was both enlightening and encouraging. And it must have worked well for the story too, as Paint By Numbers went on to garner a finalist place for Best Short Story in New Zealand’s 2013 Sir Julius Vogel Awards.

—Dan Rabarts