Monday, December 21, 2009

Six Questions for Idgie, Editor/Owner, Dew on the Kudzu

Dew on the Kudzu began publishing in 2005 and is "an online magazine celebrating the Southern way of life." Fiction, poems, and book reviews are posted on a weekly -- sometimes daily -- basis. The Dew’s main goal is to encourage writers to take that first step and share their writing with others.  Another goal is to share the South in a positive light. Read more here. 

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

Idgie: The Dew does not have a lot of structure in what we look for in a story. Our only real requirements are that the story is either set in the South or that the author is Southern. I will say that I try keep The Dew “family friendly” and aim to appeal to a wide variety of readers. 

SQF: What are the top three reasons a story is rejected, other than not fitting into your answers to question one and why?

Idgie: If the story ridicules the South or Southerners, if it’s too violent or graphic in its writing,  regardless of how well written it might be, these are not the stories The Dew is after. I think if you take a minute or two to browse The Dew pages, you get a pretty good picture of what we’re about. 

SQF: What common mistakes do you encounter that turn you off to a story?

Idgie: I don’t look for mistakes per se in writing, as I personally feel that a writer should have artistic license with their own words and what one person feels is a mistake might be someone else’s way of articulating. There are so many writing styles out there, what one person doesn’t like, three others may very well love.

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

Idgie: Most definitely! I’ll be honest, I reject very little, but when I do it’s usually because the story just doesn’t fit in with The Dew. So I make sure to let the author know that I will not use their story only because it’s not a match with our readers, and not because I had a negative reaction to the story itself. I feel that there’s someone for every story and just because it’s not my cup of tea, that certainly doesn’t mean it’s unworthy of publication. 

SQF: I read a comment by one editor who said she keeps a blacklist of authors who respond to a rejection in a less than professional manner. I'm sure you know what I mean. What do you want authors to know about the stories you reject and how authors should respond? Along this same idea, do you mind if authors reply with polite questions about the comments they receive?

Idgie: I think my reply to number four shares why I reject certain articles, so I hope most authors understand that. I always ask if they would like to submit a different type of story to The Dew and have generally experienced success with that. I’ll be honest, I’ve been lucky and have generally received positive responses from the authors. I think it does help me that I don’t criticize the work, ever, but just let them know if it’s not a fit. This goes along with the goal of The Dew, which is to encourage writers and to not try to fit them into little “this will sell” boxes. I have no issues with receiving responses to my rejections and have only ever received one that was less than pleasant. 

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

Idgie: I think that might be, “Why did you start The Dew?” I not only know what it’s like to be a frustrated writer who could use a little encouragement, but I also was so tired of reading nothing but ridiculing statements about the South. One day I was moaning and whining on a private blog and someone wrote back to me – “So do something about it!” Well, I did. The Dew is not famous (yet!), but I definitely feel that we give something back to the writers out there. The response I have received both from writers and readers has made this endeavor very rewarding to me. I also have great relationships with quite a few publishing houses and The Dew’s book review section is my own personal joy and writing outlet.

Jim, this link is to a little article I wrote a month or so ago that I think explains my thoughts on writing and writers a little more. You might be interested in a blurb or two from it – I leave that to you. 

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

NEXT POST: 12/28 -- Six Questions for Stephanie Lenz, Founding Editor, Toasted Cheese

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