Tuesday, April 22, 2014

Six Questions For Jeremiah Walton, Editor, Nostrovia! Poetry

Nostrovia Poetry publishes poetry that demonstrates passionate living and creativity. Learn more here.

SQF: Nostrovia! Poetry is being restructured. What is different this time around and where can poets find the new N!P?

Jeremiah Walton: Nostrovia! Poetry is being destroyed like the victim of drunk plastic surgeon. The victim then goes through the process of revitalizing himself with therapy and much help from the community of poets around him, the victim springs up and begins publishing like a mad man who stares at a computer screen for 12+ hour sessions, barely sleeps, and is constantly writing poetry and finding poetry in weird places.

The entire aim of Nostrovia! Poetry is to promote passionate living, creativity and expression, freedom of speech, and living over making a living.

All publications will be made available free online, and print publications are distributed through my travels, tours, and a mobile bookstore UndergroundBooks and Nostrovia! Poetry are teaming up to open.


SQF: You’re also creating a new publication, “Fuck Art. Let’s Dance.” How does this publication differ from N!P?

JW: “Fuck art, let's dance" - Lawrence Ferlinghetti

FALD is an ezine published directly on Nostrovia! Poetry's site. The zine publishes art and poetry of all medians, from videos to audio recordings.


SQF: Since starting Nostrovia Poetry, what have your learned about editing and writing?

JW: Don't bite off more than you can chew, which I learned this past November when I regained consistent internet and computer access. I then began ravenously devouring every opportunity, and am now in the process of chewing, months later, managing W.I.S.H. Publishing, The Traveling Poet, Nostrovia! Poetry, working for UndergroundBooks, along with my personal publications, Gatsby's Abandoned Children, and video poems, and maintaining a campaign to Save Poets' Hall.

There's now a solid team backing Nostrovia! Poetry, opening up a lot of new opportunities for its development.



SQF: Can you provide us with a brief example of the kind of poems you hope to publish in the new N!P?

JW:
A poem written from the perspective of a dragon
A poem from the perspective of a dream
A poem from the perspective of someone playing pretend so hard it becomes real
(All my ghost ships are real and the stars glued to the ceiling are more radiant than any constellation)
A poem from the perspective of Twitter about the hairless apes squawking
A poem from the perspective of a noose that doesn't want to be tied, doesn't want blood, but knows its purpose
A poem written by a drunk text message to the wrong number
A poem from the perspective of a mute vegetable with the knowledge there's a bomb coming
A poem written from the perspective of a pacifist gun at a school shooting
A poem written from the perspective of the moon during the sloppy American kiss
A poem from the perspective of a hilarious super nova
A poem from the perspective of the sun when the earth is clotting instantly in his fingers
A poem written from the perspective of a wound
A poem written from the perspective of nothing wining to be a wound.
A poem written from the perspective of what humans evolve into a couple million years from now
A poem written from the perspective of the chair a girl was chained to for 12 years
A poem written from the perspective of the blank wall in front of her
A poem written from the perspective of her ears when she heard her neighbor's ignorant piano


SQF: Will you publish poems posted on a personal blog or website?

JW: Of course! If the submitter owns the piece's rights, then we are happy to review it for publication.


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

JW: What do you believe in?

Promote passionate living and creating for self through poetry.

We aim to broaden the poetic community, especially to the youth. They are the next step.

We love 21st century poets. We want to see poets who write for today.

Other people's ideas of poetry don't fit with what we want to do, and we're going to do some beautifully weird things.

The virus is silence, we must be loud.

This is much bigger than us. The only way this can be successful is looking at the whole and saying, "we are working for something far more important than just us".

There are days success simply means not giving up. Poets, don't give up.

Free education

Promote living vs making a living. WHAT DO YOU WANT TO DO FOR THE REST OF YOUR LIFE? GO DO THAT! Death is on the heels of all of us, give him a damn good run for his money.

Establishing poets within new publishing medians for literature, such as videos and image macros

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


NEXT POST: 4/25--Six Questions for Jenny Bhatt, Founding Publisher/Editor-in-Chief, Storyacious

Friday, April 18, 2014

Six Questions for Erin Maggard McClelland and Chris McClelland, Editors, The Provo Canyon Review

The Provo Canyon Review publishes fiction and personal essays to 5000 words and shorter poems. "We are drawn to work that is deeply moving without being overly sentimental; tender, in the sense of a mixture of grace and vulnerability and compassion; and displays a great deal of focused attention to the English language and how it is used.” Read the complete guidelines here.


SQF: Why did you start this magazine?


Erin Maggard McClelland: I love reading and writing, but found it hard to find the stories I was craving. I wanted to read stories that showed the beauty of life, the hardships as well as the triumphs, but without harming me in the process. I am a believer in art as a healing agent and found that much of what I read bludgeoned me with its portrayal of life. Starting The Provo Canyon Review with my husband was one way that I could help promote excellent writing and also get to indulge in my own passion of reading. Each of the submissions brings with it an opportunity for me to learn and to broaden my world. I also love discovering someone new to read. There is an electric joy to reading someone who you have not read before and realizing you would have missed out on something amazing if your paths had not crossed.

Chris McClelland: My wife and I had the idea in the Spring of 2013 to start The Provo Canyon Review. The magazine was founded to be an outlet for new voices, mainly, while also publishing established writers. We knew many excellent writers were out there and we felt these needed another forum. We also saw that we could publish an online magazine relatively cheaply. We now offer a print version too.


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


EMM: The first would be for the work to pull me in and capture my attention. I want to feel compelled to continue reading. The second is for the submission to be well-written, demonstrating a command of the language and an understanding of how to fully develop a story or poem. I want to know that the author has taken the time to make sure their submission is ready. When reading poetry I look for heart as well as technique. The third thing I look for in a submission is how does it move me? Am I feeling something while I’m reading it? Have I been invited into this world for a short time and do I feel my time was well spent there?

CM: For prose, we look for a narrative arc, that is, an actual story being told in the classical sense. Many pieces may be well-written but not really convey much of substance or import. We also look for sustained attention to language and how it is used, as this also comprises what we consider great writing. Lastly, characters (or people, in the case of nonfiction) that we can care about, or at least be interested in if they are not particularly sympathetic.

For poetry, we look for attention to sound quality, the mellifluousness of the diction, and also very sharp, vivid imagery. The content is important too. For both stories and poetry, we look for what moves the heart without being overly sentimental.


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

EMM: We have submission guidelines on our website that detail what we are looking for and more importantly what we are not looking for in a submission. I am most turned off when a submission comes to us where the author did not take the time to read the guidelines. This mostly comes into play when we are sent porn masquerading as a literary story or poem.

CM: The physicians’ creed, “First, do no harm” expresses our feelings about considering submissions as well. There seems to be a trend in contemporary literature that you must somehow “brutalize” a reader, or inflict emotional trauma. This goes back to what we are looking for, which is, in addition to what I said above, that we are oftentimes attracted to stories that have a moral compass implicit in the work, that something of ethical import is being decided. “Therapeutic writing,” also, which may have great value for the individual’s personal growth, may not be the best work to send out. I would ask the writer to consider whether he/she just needed to get something personal out of their system, or if they are actually shaping and crafting a work of literary art to move others.


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

EMM: We are honored to read the submissions we receive and recognize the hard work and the bravery it takes to submit. We will always strive to provide comments as we want those who submit their work to us to know that it was carefully and thoughtfully read. We hope our writers will take our comments in the spirit with which they were written and also know that when we encourage a writer to develop their submission it is because we are excited about it and want to see it reach its full potential.

CM: We try always to provide comments, even if just a line or two about the submission. Right now we are still in our first year, and the amount of submissions we get is rather small compared to other journals, so we can afford to do that. We will strive always to respond personally to a piece.


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

EMM: The most important thing I have learned is to make sure as a writer to not get so close to the piece I am working on that I lose sight of the eventual readers. Am I writing because I need to get something out of my system, or am I writing because I value writing as a craft? I think both can co-exist in the same piece, but I have learned to step back and remember it is not all about me.

CM: I was an editor at Narrative Magazine before Erin and I started The Provo Canyon Review, so in both cases I have learned much about what makes a story interesting. The first question I ask, whether writing a story or evaluating one for publication is: Is this interesting? And does it move people? I think any writer would do well to ask those things him/herself when looking at a piece to send out.


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

EMM: What is it like to work on a literary magazine with your husband? It is so much fun! We get to read great writing, have lively discussions about great writing, publish great writing and share all of this with each other.

CM: What do you think makes an excellent story? We recently published an interview with C. Michael Curtis of The Atlantic called “Ineffable Magic”, and this is something that is not talked about very much but should be. The best writers write often, never knowing when the “magic” will strike. It’s hard to define, but we all (editors, writers, and readers) know it when we see it. It’s a certain spirit, a certain “vibe”, perhaps residing in the voice or a certain character, and this makes the story not only interesting, but compelling.

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


NEXT POST: 4/22--Six Questions For Jeremiah Walton, Editor, Nostrovia! Poetry

Tuesday, April 15, 2014

Six Questions for Larry Lonsby and Dayne Edmondson, Founders/Editors, Beyond Imagination

Beyond Imagination is a digital literary magazine dedicated to all forms of fiction, be it short stories, short-shorts, or poetry. The magazine also features book reviews, interviews with authors and advice articles related to publishing or writing fiction. Read the complete guidelines here.

SQF: Why did you start this magazine?

Beyond Imagination: We started Beyond Imagination because we want to help authors. I (Dayne) published my first fantasy novel, Blood and Shadows, in August 2013 and knew first-hand how difficult it could be to promote a book on the Internet. So, one day we got the idea for a magazine that didn't just feature one particular genre of fiction, such as science fiction/fantasy, but promoted All forms of fiction. We believe that all forms of fiction have merit and that there is a story for everyone. Beyond Imagination seeks to bring the work of talented authors to readers in the form of prose (short stories, short-shorts), poems, book reviews and author interviews. It's basically free promotion, as we don't charge anything to submit - we're doing this to give authors another avenue of promotion.


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

BI:
  1. We look for a story that makes us feel something. Whether that is horror or laughter or suspense, it has to be engaging. An engaging story will have a better chance of connecting with readers, which in turn causes them to connect with the author on social media, by reading their blog or buying their other published works.
  2. We look for interesting characters. We want the story to make us actually care about the characters and whether they live or die or have a happy ending, etc. One story in particular, which will be in the first issue of our magazine, is a horror story, but the way the author built the character really hooked us. We immediately asked the author if they had other stories featuring that character or other characters set in that world to possibly do a serialization with.
  3. We look for interesting concepts. An interesting concept could be a different take on Cinderella. For example, what if she were evil, and everything she did in the traditional fairytale we all know was really with ill intentions? That story will be in our first issue. Other unique stories that don't just rehash the same tropes of their genre are what we seek.

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

BI: Honestly, a lot of grammatical errors and plot holes or incomplete endings will turn us off pretty quick. We don't expect people to have their stories completely edited, but at the same time, we only proofread the stories before publication, to make sure everything is spelled correctly and grammatically sound. We don't have the time to "fix" a story with lengthy edits, so if it doesn't read clearly, it's a big turn off.

A boring story will cause us to toss it around among the team to get some differing perspectives. What might be boring to one member might be interesting to another. Or another member of the team may have a different perspective on a story. That has happened a few times in going through the initial round of submissions in late 2013.


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

BI: We generally say it's just not a good fit for us and provide a brief summation of what in general we didn't like. We don't want to bash authors in any way, so we might say something like "too many grammatical errors, plot holes" or "needs a better hook" or "didn't interest us." Just because a story doesn't fit for us doesn't mean it may not fit in another publication, so we aim for our comments to help them improve the story so that it may be accepted somewhere eventually.


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

BI: We've learned that stories come in all shapes and sizes. We've also learned that there are such a huge variety of topics that go outside of the genre norms that authors can explore. Going through the submissions, we've learned a lot about our own writing, ways to improve it, ways of looking at the world differently, which is reflected in our writing.


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

BI: One question that wasn't asked and I wish had been was "How did you choose the name of your magazine?" We chose the name of our magazine because when an idea is created by an author it exists solely in their imagination. That setting, those characters, that story exists only in their mind. But when an author takes that leap beyond the boundaries of their mind, essentially going beyond their imagination, and writes that story down, they are sharing something special with the world. No two stories are exactly the same, because each has a unique imagination fueling it.

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


NEXT POST: 4/18--Six Questions for Erin Maggard McClelland and Chris McClelland, Editors, The Provo Canyon Review

Friday, April 11, 2014

Six Questions for David Gray and Mary Gearhart-Gray, Editors, 4 Star Stories

 4 Star Stories publishes science fiction and fantasy stories between 1000 and 5,000 words. Submissions over 5,000 words and up to 10,000 words are serialized in consecutive issues.  Read the complete guidelines here.

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

4 Star Stories:
  1. Exciting stories featuring an original idea or a different slant on an old idea.
  2. Credible, engaging characters.
  3. Interesting, well-plotted stories

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

4SS: Submissions that are not in a standard template. We prefer submissions to be in RTF (Rich Text Format).

Submissions that have not been spellchecked and/or contain grammar or punctuation errors not enclosed in direct quotes.

Derivative stories. Fantasy stories are particularly susceptible to this problem. Write about what you know. It is usually painfully obvious when you don't. If you don't know something, ask someone who does know it.

Show, don't tell. The most common mistake beginning writers make is they tell you what is happening rather than showing you.


SQF: Which of the following statements is true and why? Plot is more important than character. Character is more important than plot. Plot and character are equally important.

4SS: Plot and character are equally important because deficiency in either one can ruin a story.


SQF: What advice can you offer new authors hoping to publish their first submission in 4 Star Stories?

4SS: The same advice that any editor would give them: you can't be published if you do not submit stories. Send us your story.


SQF: What magazines do you read most often? 

4SS: Daily newspaper, "Discover" magazine. I read a lot of history and watch a lot of History Channel on cable TV.


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

4SS: What is another common mistake beginning writers make? Everyone thinks their writing is sacrosanct. Believe me, I know. I'm just as bad as any other writer. Be open to the editor's suggestions. Remember that he/she wants you to turn out a good story as much as you do. The difference is the editor can actually make your story better. Good luck, and keep those submissions coming.

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


NEXT POST: 4/15--Six Questions for Larry Lonsby and Dayne Edmondson, Founders/Editors, Beyond Imagination