By Dalton Craig, Copyeditor, Ivory Tower
The past week has been a hectic one at Ivory Tower. In addition to dealing with new class schedules, the sacrifice of leisure time (for those who still believe in the concept, anyway) to the demands of new homework, and the usual beginning-of-semester kerfuffle (yes, I did seriously just use that word), our staff members have had to finalize our decisions about which student submissions will be published in the 2013 issue of the magazine. Our staff is divided into four committees: one for each category of student work submitted to our magazine (Fiction, Nonfiction, Poetry, and Visual Art). Over Winter Break, each member of each committee reviewed every submission in the category that her or his committee dealt with. We arrived in our first Ivory Tower class of the semester on Wednesday, ready to discuss which pieces we thought should go in the magazine.
In the committee I was in, the Fiction Committee, we had decided before break that each of us would come to class this semester with a list of the stories he or she liked, or at least thought would go well in the magazine. As it turned out, one of us had exceeded expectations and made a particularly inclusive list. Therefore, we decided that he would read off the names of the stories on his list, and that after each name was read off, each member of our committee would assign that story a ranking from one to five, five being the best. We would then add up each ranking to give that story a total score, and we would decide which stories got included largely by which stories had the highest total scores. A few of us liked stories that weren't on the list originally, so we added those to be voted on as well.
So we voted, and we were surprised to find that we agreed on a lot more of the stories than we'd thought we would. When we'd finished voting on all the stories and we'd put them together into a list of twenty, ranked according to their scores, we felt quite satisfied with our work. None of us felt that our opinions were underrepresented in the finalized list, and none of us felt that any stories that we absolutely needed to include as possibilities were left off the list. For example, every one of the stories that I included on my personal list made it onto the final list. We submitted the final list to the Editors-in-Chief, who have the final word about what content goes in the magazine. The Editors-in-Chief may disregard some of the rankings on our list when making the final decision, in order to vary the subject matter of the magazine (many of our top choices diverged somewhat from ordinary life, and it might be nice to have a couple pieces dealing with more relatable subject matter), but we can all feel confident that each of us will see at least one of our top picks make it into the printed issue.