The Los Angeles Review publishes short-short stories to 500 words, fiction of 1000-4000 words, poetry, reviews, and translations. The editors seek compelling prose containing rich details and told in a distinctive voice. Read the complete guidelines here.
SQF: What are the top three things you look for in a story?
SF: Originality, lovely language, and lately humor/absurdity.
SQF: What are the top three reasons a story is rejected, other than not fitting into your answers to question one?
SF: Unoriginal, tired topic, cliche'd writing.
SQF: What other mistakes do you encounter that turn you off to a story?
SF: Melodrama, sappiness, cutesiness, predictability in plot/character/scene/setting/subtext etc. and also the opposite end: trying-too-hard-to-be-edgy with dialogue or plot while leaving the characters empty.
SQF: What is it about the characters in a story that make them pop off the page and grab hold of you?
SF: They feel quirky, real, and I want to get to know them better. I don't already know these characters, they are new people that interest me. I don't know what they are about to do, or say, or think, or feel. They are the folks I'd people-watch.
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?
SF: I don't mind a polite question now and then, but most writers don't ask because they already know that editors are overwhelmed with submissions and don't have the time they'd like to take to offer suggestions or feedback. I've only had a few people respond to a rejection in a less-than-professional manner, which is just plain idiotic. The numbers alone tell a writer that a magazine can't possibly accept EVERYTHING. They just can't. Someone has to get rejected. It is just a fact. So, you send out more submissions and keep on writing.
SQF: What one question on this topic do you wish I'd asked that I didn't? And how would you answer it?
SF: Q. How on this God-given rich-soiled earth can people subscribe to the bountiful Los Angeles Review? A. Go here!
Thank you, Stefanie. We all appreciate you taking time from your busy schedule to participate in this project.
NEXT POST: 3/1—Six Questions for Ramon Collins, Micro Fiction Editor, The Linnet's Wings