“I am always on the lookout for stories with a clear and particular voice.”
Tell us a little bit about yourself. Where are you from and what do you do when you’re not reading for NER?
My name is Laur A. Freymiller (they/them). I grew up in Indiana, but I’ve since lived in Minnesota, Wisconsin, California, and now Idaho where I’m pursuing my MFA in fiction. I have long been a fan of NER, so when the opportunity arose to be a reader, I was happy to jump in! I have not yet read a piece that was then accepted, but it’s been close a number of times. Fingers crossed.
What is your reading process like? What do you look for in a submission?
I generally read through all the submissions once to get an idea of the field. I then go back through and carefully read the stand-outs. I am always on the lookout for stories with a clear and particular voice. Once I find pieces with a strong voice I start looking at character, plot, and all the other craft components that make a story come to life.
Of the pieces you’ve read at NER, which was your favorite or most memorable to you personally?
My favorite piece that I’ve read so far was a story called “Exonerated” by Emily Flouton. It walked the line of the bizarre and the real while commenting on authenticity, class disparity, and the limits of human compassion. I still think about it often.
How has reading for NER influenced your own writing/creative pursuits?
Since starting as a reader, I’ve realized the importance of jumping into the story right away. If a story doesn’t get good until page 3, it probably won’t make the cut. Beyond that, reading for NER encourages me to keep taking risks in my own writing and to continue reading as broadly and voraciously as possible.
What do you read for pleasure? Is there something you’re reading now that you would recommend?
I read anything that is speculative or fabulous. At the moment I’m reading Dangerous Laughter by Steven Millhauser and Breaking the Magic Spell: Radical Theories of Folk & Fairy Tales by Jack Zipes.
NER‘s staff readers, all volunteers, play an essential role in our editorial process and in our mission to discover new voices in contemporary literature. A full list of staff readers is available on our masthead.