SQF: Why did you start this magazine?
RP: I am a writer even before I'm an editor, and when I was looking at potential markets to submit my work to I would often find online magazines that weren't very well done. I felt a little spark of the 'I can do better' attitude that motivates so many writers to write. That was the primary inspiration for forming Niteblade, though I admit, I was also curious to see how it felt to be on the other side of the submission process. It was also around that time I heard from a couple different sources that fantasy, as a genre, was dead. I think it's obvious that is not true, but the desire to contribute to the proof that fantasy is alive and well was the last bit of incentive I needed.
SQF: What are the top three things you look for in a story and why?
RP: The first thing I look for in a story is whether or not it can capture my attention right away and hold it throughout. It's also important that the story be fantasy or horror. You'd be surprised how many stories get submitted to Niteblade that are completely different genres. Stories also get bonus points if the voice is unique, or I can't see the ending before it comes.
SQF: What are the top three reasons a story is rejected, other than not fitting into your answers to the above question and why?
RP: You know, I don't keep records about why I've rejected stories, though maybe I should, just to see what the statistics look like. I would guess, however, that the top three reasons a story is rejected are flat characters, predictable plots, or just not being right for the magazine. I know that sounds cliché, but it's true. Sadly, though, the number one reason stories get rejected is probably that the writer hasn't read the submission guidelines. As it says in the guidelines, there are times I will reject a story without reading it if the paragraphs are indented. That probably makes me sound like a shrew, but I'm the only one reading slush for Niteblade, and my time is important. Not only the time I spend reading submissions (which I'd rather spend reading the stories of people who've taken the time to read my submission guidelines), but also the time I have to spend reformatting stories before sending them to Jo and BD to layout. Also, a writer's submission tells me a lot about them, and I often find myself asking, 'Do I really want to work with someone who didn't take the time to read the submission guidelines?' The answer, frankly, is no.
SQF: What is it about the characters in a story that makes them pop off the page and grab hold of you?
RP: Dimension. Characters who feel flat don't work for me. I can't stand 'perfect' protagonists, especially. I'm a fan of complex characters with interesting motives that they are true to.
SQF: Will you publish a story an author posted on a personal blog?
RP: Yes. Though I prefer unpublished works, Niteblade accepts reprints.
SQF: What one question on this topic do you wish I'd asked that I didn't? And how would you answer it?
RP: How much money do you make editing Niteblade? The answer would be that I lose money on each issue. Niteblade is something I do because I love it, that's why most of the people on the Niteblade team do it. For the love. I hope all our readers love it too.
Thank you, Rhonda. We all appreciate you taking time from your busy schedule to participate in this project.
NEXT POST: 10/29--Six Questions for Steven Seighman, Founder/Editor, Monkeybicycle