Friday, May 18, 2018

Six Questions for Rachel Evelyn Sucher and Claire S. Lee, Co Editors-in-Chief, Counterclock Journal

Counterclock Journal is an online literary & art publication founded in summer 2017 dedicated to showcasing high-quality poetry, fiction, nonfiction, visual art, and cross-genre work. Read the complete guidelines here.

SQF: Why did you start this magazine?

Counterclock Journal: Our mission at COUNTERCLOCK is to heal, destigmatize, and empower through writing and art, to explore the diversity, complexity, and resilience of the human experience.


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

CJ:

  1. Poetry and prose with a consciousness to language without sacrificing a clear narrative. Oftentimes, we will receive submissions (usually poetry) with clear attention to language but no plot/story. We look for works that strike a balance between the two; these are the pieces that remain in our minds weeks later.
  2. Work that is real, vulnerable, and makes us feel a connection towards the author/narrator. 
  3. An ending that leaves a heightened sense of awareness of the world around us.

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

CJ: Our biggest turn-offs include erotica, purposeless profanity or violence, and overly pedantic language.


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

CJ: We love reading Tinderbox Poetry Journal, TRACK//FOUR, American Poetry Review, Adroit Journal, Divedapper, Muzzle, and THRUSH.


SQF: Many editors list erotica, or sex for sex sake, as hard sells. What are hard sells for your publication?

CJ: We don’t have any hard sells. We are always looking to expand our definitions of art, and most anything is fair game to be considered 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?

CJ: What’s one piece of advice you would give to an emerging writer looking to get their work published?

Read the publication’s submission guidelines and archives to get a sense of what they like to publish. You can also look towards publications who will give feedback with submissions. Though COUNTERCLOCK is not able to give feedback on every submission, we do our best to give feedback on as many submissions as we can with a relatively quick turnaround time.

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

Friday, May 11, 2018

Six Questions for Justin Bendell and Kristian Macaron, Editors, Manzano Mountain Review

Manzano Mountain Review publishes prose to 3,000 words, flash fiction, poetry, visual art, and photography. Read the complete guidelines here.

SQF: Why did you start this magazine?

MMR: We wanted to build literary culture and awareness in New Mexico outside the typical centers.


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

MMR: Fresh language; curiosity/perceptivity; attentiveness to editing requirements


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

MMR: Cliches; General sloppiness; Stories that start in a dorm room and end at a campus bar.


SQF: What do you look for in the opening paragraphs/stanzas of a submission?

MMR: Wow moments; captivating language; rhythm; movement, in media res;


SQF: If Manzano Mountain Review had a theme song, what would it be and why?

MMR: I'd be surprised if the editors could agree on a theme song for the journal. If Justin could pick a theme album for MMR, it would be Manu Chao's Clandestino.


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

MMR: N/A

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

Friday, May 4, 2018

SQF revisited - decomP

decomP publishes prose up to 3000 words, poetry, art, and solicited book reviews on a monthly schedule. decomP does not accept genre fiction, interviews, letters, etc.

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

Jason Jordan: In no particular order, my top three are a likable protagonist, compelling plot, and interesting use of language.

Read the original interview here.

Friday, April 27, 2018

SQF revisited - Every Day Fiction

Every Day Fiction publishes fiction of 1000 words or fewer. All genres are acceptable, as well as stories that don't fit neatly into any category. The magazine caters to an adult readership, but is not interested in publishing stories containing gratuitous sex and violence. Since much of EDF’s readership may be reading from work or over a meal, anything that you wouldn’t feel comfortable reading on a workplace computer or wouldn’t want to read while eating is unlikely to be suitable for this market.

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

CGC: The very first thing I look for is competent prose. Almost anything else can be addressed in a rewrite if the piece overall seems worth it, but if the basic word-stringing skills aren’t there, the piece won’t be salvageable. Online flash fiction depends on readable prose—either sparse/clean or lyrical/poetic styles can work particularly well, so those are usually what we look for. Dense hard-to-read prose is a killer with an online readership, even if it’s well crafted; while a literary novel might get a careful close reading and complex prose might be appreciated, an online flash fiction piece has only seconds to hook a reader and stop him or her from clicking away.

Read the original interview here.

Friday, April 20, 2018

Six Questions for the Senior Editors, Literary Mama

Literary Mama publishes fiction, creative nonfiction, books reviews, poetry, and more. Read the complete guidelines here.

SQF: What is the focus of Literary Mama?

Literary Mama: Literary Mama believes that all mothers have a story worth sharing and honors the many faces of motherhood by publishing work that celebrates the journey as well as the job. We celebrate the physical, psychological, intellectual, and spiritual processes of becoming a mother through words and images that may be so stark it hurts.

Our tagline—writing about the many faces of motherhood—probably says it best for the social media hashtags, but we take the word “faces” seriously. We recognize that motherhood is a lifelong process–our founding editors called it a birthing process—and that, in addition to the physical act of giving birth or completing an adoption, motherhood is psychological, intellectual, and spiritual. Literary Mama offers a venue for the exploration and contemplation of all these faces.


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

LM: We remain true to the type of work our founding editors began publishing in 2003: “that of superior craft and fresh voice. Our goal is to share stories that move readers from the outside to the inside, from observation to empathy, and we love it when our readers have the same take-your-breath-away reaction to a piece that we did.”


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

LM: Our editors are all volunteers and work on Literary Mama because they believe in its mission. However, we all have incredibly busy lives outside of the magazine, and we always appreciate the submissions that follow our guidelines to the letter. Those that do not are at risk of not being read at all. Additionally, submissions that arrive with unprofessional formatting or without a brief cover letter from the author definitely begin at a disadvantage.


SQF: Do you provide comments on submissions?

LM: Every submission receives an automated response upon receipt. Department editors send letters of acceptance or rejection within 3 to 12 weeks. Some pieces that don’t fit the mission are rejected outright. If a department likes a piece but thinks it needs revision, the editors will work with the author and provide extensive feedback. All pieces must be approved by our senior editors, who also may offer some feedback.


SQF: If Literary Mama had a theme song, what would it be and why?

LM: What a great question! We decided to ask our staff, and like Literary Mama’s tagline of “honoring the many faces of motherhood,” in giving their input, our staff showed those many faces in the wide range of song suggestions!

Regina Spektor "Fidelity": “The first verse sounds like the essence of much of what we publish--and we all know that when it comes to mothering and writing, everybody *does* say that of course it's gonna get better.”

Natalie Merchant “Kind and Generous": “I selected this song not as a representation of Literary Mama's content, but as a representation of our gratitude to every contributor who pours their passion onto the page and then entrusts the LM staff to present their voice to our readers and beyond.”

I’m throwing in anything by Patty Griffin. Her voice is the vibe I get from LM.

Other suggestions:

Helen Reddy "I Am Woman"
Nick Drake “Fly
Tori Amos “Mother
Madness “Our House
Mazzy Star “She's My Baby
Crosby, Stills, Nash, & Young “Teach Your Children
The Shirelles “Mama Said
Aretha Franklin “Respect
Louis Armstrong “What a Wonderful World


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

LM: 
Question: You'll be celebrating your 15th anniversary next fall. What keeps (and has kept) Literary Mama alive and healthy among the hundreds of literary journals?

Answer: As already noted, Literary Mama is, and has always been, a volunteer organization staffed by women who are passionate about motherhood and stories. Our current team hails from nearly 30 locations throughout the world and includes communications professionals, university professors, MFA students, writers, editors, copyeditors, photographers, and moms, but what we all have in common is a commitment to creating a quality magazine. Each department is dedicated to finding and working with strong mama writers to bring quality stories to the page. We believe this commitment will keep Literary Mama thriving for many years to come.

Thanks to the editors who provided input to these responses. We all appreciate you taking time from your busy schedule to participate in this project.