No frills, no thrills

Winnipeg Free Press copy editor David Jon Fuller adds a little flash to his fiction writing

Winnipeg is teeming with writers. We tend to focus, however, on the authors who’ve published books when there are in fact many writers out there actively publishing great pieces online, in newspapers, literary journals and anthologies, too.

Although the medium is different, these writers are just as important as the ones with published books.

One such writer is David Jon Fuller, a copy editor for the Winnipeg Free Press by day and a publishing speculative fiction writer by, well, always.

“I write during my lunch break at work, and in the winter when I take the bus,” Fuller says. “It doesn’t sound like a lot of time but it adds up. This year I’ve written a full draft of a novel and roughly eight or nine short stories that way.”

It’s a genre that Fuller says he’s always trying to improve in.

“For a long time I was blind to the ‘sameness’ of the characters in my own writing,” Fuller says. “I’m working on making my characters more diverse and the stories I tell feel less First World problem-ish. Speculative fiction should challenge the status quo, not tinker with the veneer of it.”

Fuller admits that the writing skills required for his day job can be a blessing and a curse when it comes to how he writes his fiction.

“Being a copy editor, especially at a newspaper, teaches you how to cut. You really learn how to say things in fewer words and not to take it personally when your work is edited,” Fuller says. “That said, I think working in newspapers eventually had the effect of sanding off the ornamentality of my fiction voice.

“For one story that was accepted (for publication) this year, the editors said my writing was a bit ‘plain’ – nothing wrong with it, but lacking a certain something. So with their suggestions I went through the whole piece and realized, yeah, I wrote it fairly ‘straight’ without having fun with language the way I used to. So it was a challenge to flex those writing muscles again, but well worth it.”

Re-evaluating and reflecting on his work proved to be a rewarding learning experience.

“The biggest stumbling block for me in the past was not taking a hard look at the nuts and bolts of how fiction works, to really make my stories strong, and aside from that I was not relentless in submitting my work,” Fuller says. “I gave up on stories after only a few rejections, so naturally my acceptances were few. Now I just keep submitting until each story finds a home.”

That relentlessness and hard work is now paying off for Fuller. He’s had four short stories accepted this year and with any luck we’ll be seeing a book from him soon enough.

“I’ve got a YA werewolf novel set in Winnipeg, which is on one publisher’s desk and my next published work will be “A Deeper Echo” in Long Hidden [Spring 2014] and “The Last Dire Wolf” in Luna’s Children [early 2014]” he concludes.

Published in Volume 68, Number 13 of The Uniter (November 27, 2013)

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