Writing Careers Blog – Firethorne

Posted on April 18th, 2013 by

By E.W. 4/18/13

According to their statement on the Gustavus website, the Firethorne is a “student-run literary magazine comprised solely of student work.” And while the magazine presents a fantastic outlet for Gusties to share their creative work, for Gustavus students interested in writing and publishing, the Firethorne offers a one-of-a-kind opportunity.

First and foremost, according to Baker Lawley, Associate Professor of English and Firethorne Advisor, the literary magazine gives those involved hands-on experience with publishing. For example, students are taught how to do copy editing and layout. They also learn about the selection process that surrounds literature magazines as well as how to work with a team to take pieces of literature and put them into an appealing and interesting form.

From the student perspective, junior English and Japanese major and prose editor Caitlin Skvorc says that she has learned the importance of connecting with readers. After reading and analyzing submissions, she has a better idea of what does and does not connect with an audience. Sophomore English major Rebecca Hare, an art and layout editor for the magazine, comments how her position has helped her “become versed in Adobe InDesign.” She also states that her positions have improved her ability to express her thoughts, feelings, and opinions about someone else’s work. Junior English major and poetry editor Kristina Ericksen goes on to say that because she is constantly critically reading submissions, she has improved her own writing skills. Finally, Senior Communication Studies major and poetry editor Tristan Richards adds that through her role as social media coordinator, she has learned how social media can be an important tool for the writing process.

As for how the Firethorne can help you when you begin you post-college job hunt, Tristan believes that working with the literary magazine has given her more experience writing with imagery as well as helped her become more critical about word choice. Arguably, both of these skills are crucial in the marketing and communication field, a field of work Tristan hopes to enter one day. Kristina notes that the managerial skills she has obtained through the Firethorne will be applicable in any job, and that her editing and writing skills could come into use as a freelance writer or editor. Another interesting and applicable skill that Caitlin adds is that she is better at taking criticism and using it to help improve her own writing. Besides those who have entered publishing, Professor Lawley comments that former Firethorne editors have gone on to become lawyers, librarians, freelance writers, and journalists, among other things. Furthermore, Professor Lawley notes that with the Firethorne, versus other on-campus organizations, you have a “tangible outcome” that you can show your employers.

If you are interested in joining the Firethorne team, Kristina recommends having a sharp eye for details and being able to critically analyze pieces for submission. She says that there is a lot of debate deciding what goes into each magazine, so being able to articulate what you like and don’t like about a certain piece is crucial. You can contact Kristina at kericks7@ gustavus.edu if you would like to learn more about obtaining a position with Firethorne.


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