Friday, March 17, 2017

Six Questions for David Jensen, Senior Editor, Chantwood Magazine

Chantwood Magazine publishes fiction from 100 to 7,500 words, poetry of 1 to 2 pages, and Artwork. Read the complete guidelines here.

SQF: Why did you start this magazine?

David Jensen: Chantwood Magazine was founded for two reasons. As undergraduate students, submitting to literary magazines always felt intimidating because it seemed like everything within them was written by MFA-holding writers with healthy resumes. It almost seemed like you couldn’t get published unless you already had several published works to your name.

Because of this, we wanted Chantwood to be a magazine that anyone could be published in. We take every submission blind; a submission doesn’t receive any special treatment. Each piece has to speak for itself. We’ve published authors with numerous credits to their name, and we’ve published authors who haven’t been published before.

As for the second reason, we think that the world could always use more creative writing. If we can inspire people to write or help authors share their work, then we must be doing something right.


SQF: What are the top three things you look for in a submission and why?

DJ: For me, the biggest thing I need from a submission is some sort of emotional connection. And by that, I don’t mean beautiful, flowing language – that can add to a piece if it’s done well, but it doesn’t make the piece. Whether it’s through comedy, passion, or pain, I want a piece that makes me care about the story and the people involved.

Another thing that I look for is whether or not the authors have done their homework, meaning they checked their grammar and read our submissions guidelines. It’s pretty obvious when someone doesn’t bother to do it, and it’s majorly off-putting.

Third and finally, I look to be entertained. Simple enough, yes, but it really does matter. A story could be emotional as any, but if it’s a boring read, then it’s unlikely to make the cut. If a story can hook me and make me feel like it was worth the read, then it’s one I’ll recommend publishing.


SQF: What most often turns you off to a submission?

DJ: Poor grammar is the bane of my existence. I understand having the occasional error, especially in a longer fiction piece. However, if I can’t get through the first page without finding a dozen run-on sentences and misspelled words in an age where AutoCorrect exists, I won’t want to read the rest of it. If the author doesn’t care enough about their work to make sure it’s spelled right, then why should I care?


SQF: Do you provide comments when you reject a submission?

DJ: It’s rare for us to provide comments on specific pieces, but it does happen on occasion, usually if the submitter specifically asks for a response of some sort. We don’t take these requests into account until after we’ve read their work in order to maintain blind submissions as best as possible.


SQF: What advice would you offer to a new writer hoping to be published in Chantwood Magazine?

DJ: First, I would say to not just submit to us; submit to as many places as you can find. You never know who will love or hate your work. Second, read the submission guidelines!!! I cannot stress enough how important this is. Make sure that our magazine is a good fit for your writing. Finally, don’t be discouraged if you don’t get in. Being a writer myself as well as an editor, I know how frustrating it is to get rejected. Keep submitting and putting your work out into the world; you will eventually find your voice, and no one can silence you.


SQF: What one question on this topic do you wish I'd asked that I didn't? And how would you answer it?

DJ: Well, you may have wondered about the origin of our magazine’s name. It’s based off a line from Beowulf which mentions a chant-wood being used. This is what’s called a “kenning,” which is a compound phrase with a metaphorical meaning—the chant-wood is a harp, a simple piece of wood used to produce a beautiful sound.

Having this as our magazine’s name has a dual meaning. Not only do we hope to publish beautiful stories in the simple form of words on paper, but we also hope that those stories push our readers to look for the deeper meanings. After all, in this world, nothing is ever as it seems…

Thank you, David. We all appreciate you taking time from your busy schedule to participate in this project.


Friday, March 10, 2017

Six Questions for Euan, Founder/Editor, Structo Magazine

Structo publishes fiction up to 3,000 words and poetry in all genres, alongside essays and interviews with authors and others. Read the complete guidelines here.


SQF: Why did you start this magazine?

Euan: I worked on a film journal throughout my time at university and after graduation I realised that I missed the experience of working on a magazine. Literature had always been very important to me, and starting a literary magazine seemed like the perfect way to merge those two interests. Nine years and 17 issues of Structo later, I'm pretty sure I was right.


SQF: What are the top three things you look for in a submission and why?

Euan: The first and most important thing is that it compels us to continue reading. This can be accomplished in many ways—a well-drawn character, sparky dialogue, an intriguing question or statement dropped in the first few paragraphs—but every piece we publish has something of the sort. On the poetry front, verse should have a flow, unless halting text is necessary to communicate meaning. Finally, an interesting or unusual viewpoint is always welcome, be it that of the writer themselves or of the narrative or poetic voice.


SQF: What most often turns you off to a submission?

Euan: Overly elaborate prose or verse. Thesaurus writing gets very old, very quickly. It's also very hard to keep an open mind in the face of more than a couple of spelling mistakes on the first page.


SQF: What magazines/zines do you read on a “regular” basis?

Euan: On the literary magazine front: Popshot, Firewords Quarterly, The New Yorker and Barrelhouse. Also a shout-out to our fellow Nederlanders Versal, who will be coming back into print later this year after a few years away from publishing.


SQF: Based on your experience as an editor, what have you learned about writing?

Euan: That it's relatively easy to write a competent story, and that competent, soulless stories are the worst.


SQF: What one question on this topic do you wish I'd asked that I didn't? And how would you answer it?

Euan: The first question, on why I started the magazine, is an interesting one, but I think even more interesting would be: why do you continue to publish the magazine? Working for a literary magazine on a voluntary basis can be rather thankless at times, as after the excitement of the first few issues comes the realisation that most of an editor's job is administration. It takes something more to keep the issues coming, and for me it's working with other people, both the writers I interact with day-by-day and the team that has grown up around Structo and Structo Press.

Thank you, Euan. We all appreciate you taking time from your busy schedule to participate in this project.

Friday, March 3, 2017

Six Questions for Jo Simmonds, Editor, The Fiction Pool

The Fiction Pool publishes flash fiction to 1,000 words, short stories to 2,500 words, and poetry to one page. Read the complete guidelines here.

SQF: Why did you start this magazine?

Jo Simmonds: I worked as a volunteer reader for PANK magazine a couple of years ago and really enjoyed it. I wanted to see if I could start a quirky rebellious online magazine which had a mainstream atmosphere.

As a writer seeking publication in literary journals I also wanted to find out what it is like from the other side of the desk as an editor. There's no substitute for first hand experience in my view and I learnt a great deal from the first moment I began publishing.


SQF: What are the top three things you look for in a submission and why?

JS:

  • A great first sentence with a good hook.

  • Different in some way to stand out next to other journals online.

  • Well written and edited. If it's ready to go it will save me time.

SQF: What most often turns you off to a submission?

JS:

  • A bad covering email - my name has been misspelt or no biography has been included. Only in truly exceptional circumstances will I look past that.

  • Any of my guidelines being flouted.

  • Poorly written or edited stories or poetry.

  • People not even looking at one story on the site to research before submitting. I can tell!

  • If I have just published a flash featuring a lonely girl in a bad relationship I may not want to publish another one for a while. 

  • If you don't do social media I won't reject on this basis but it may be a deal breaker if I'm not sure about your submission. 

SQF: Do you provide comments when you reject a submission?

JS: No. I send a regulation email which is the same in all cases bar those submissions I consider to be exceptional but misplaced.


SQF: What magazines/zines do you read on a “regular” basis?

JS: Mslexia, The Lonely Crowd, Structo, PANK magazine, and The Incubator amongst others. Although I work part-time and I'm volunteer editor on this magazine so my reading time has been reduced.


SQF: What one question on this topic do you wish I'd asked that I didn't? And how would you answer it?

JS: I wish you had asked me what advice I would give to writers. I wish I had said be determined and never give up if you are getting the slightest hint of success. And most of all, I wish I could take my own advice!

Thank you, Jo. We all appreciate you taking time from your busy schedule to participate in this project.


Friday, February 24, 2017

Six Questions for Elizabeth O. Smith, Publisher/Editor-in-Chief, Helios Quarterly Magazine

Helios Quarterly Magazine publishes micro fiction of exactly 100 words (Drabble), flash fiction of 500-1,000 words, short stories of 1,001-1,500 words, serial stories up to 10,000 words, poetry, nonfiction, reviews, and artworks/photography in the genres of science fiction, horror and fantasy. Issues are themed. Read the complete guidelines here.

SQF: Why did you start this magazine?

Elizabeth Smith: To contribute to the tradition of great speculative fiction magazines and uplift marginalized voices.


SQF: What are the top three things you look for in a submission and why?

ES: Brevity, bite, and backstory.


SQF: What most often turns you off to a submission?

ES: Ignoring the word count limitations and/or theme.


SQF: If you could have dinner with three authors, who would the be?

ES: Edgar Allen Poe, Toni Morrison, and Ray Bradbury


SQF: Based on your experience as an editor, what have you learned about writing?

ES: Writers often write to impress the editor(s) or follow a theme strictly in hopes of having a higher chance of being published.


SQF: What one question on this topic do you wish I'd asked that I didn't? And how would you answer it?

ES: Why submit to literary magazines in the first place? I believe short fiction makes you a better writer. And, for the magazines that offer feedback, free critique to apply on a broader scale.

Thank you, Elizabeth. We all appreciate you taking time from your busy schedule to participate in this project.



Friday, February 17, 2017

Six Questions for Laura Hanna, Editor-in-Chief, These Fragile Lilacs Poetry Journal

These Fragile Lilacs is a biannual journal containing "poetry that's tightly constructed and for sharp poetry with strong metaphors, similes, and imagery.  We like poetry of any length and genre and like to publish both new and established poets." Read the complete guidelines here.

SQF: Why did you start this magazine?

Laura Hanna: I started These Fragile Lilacs because I felt there were not enough journals that represented minority voices. I also thought it would be a fun experience to run my very own journal (so far it has been awesome)!


SQF: What are the top three things you look for in a submission and why?

LH: When evaluating a submission, I look for surprising imagery, strong metaphors, and medium to short-length poetry (I will publish a long poem or two in each issue, but I prefer short to medium-length poems). I also get excited when I see poems dealing with social justice issues, but this is not a requirement. We publish poems on a wide range of topics. So, send us your best work!


SQF: What most often turns you off to a submission?

LH: This is a difficult question to answer because I try to keep an open mind. I would say that clichés make me cringe a little bit (here is a link to some common poetry clichés). It's more surprising and rewarding to read poetry with strong, unique images.


SQF: Do you provide comments when you reject a submission?

LH: Since TFL receives so many submissions, it would become a full-time job to leave comments about why a submission was rejected.


SQF: Based on your experience as an editor, what have you learned about writing?

LH: I've learned that you can write a poem about just about any topic. I've encountered poems about such a wide range of topics, and it's enjoyable to read it all.


SQF: What one question on this topic do you wish I'd asked that I didn't? And how would you answer it?

LH: One question I wish you asked is, why is poetry important? My answer to that question would be that poetry is what keeps the soul alive and feeds the imagination and mind in ways that no other form of writing can. In the words of Percy Shelley, "Poets are the unacknowledged legislators of the world."

Thank you, Laura. We all appreciate you taking time from your busy schedule to participate in this project.