SQF: What are the top three things you look for in a story and why?
KR: In addition to a unique and compelling story:
- Voice -- the expression of the writer on the page, a mixture of the writer's passions, dreams, thoughts, fears, attitudes coming through in every word.
- Characters -- believable, likeable, memorable, with quirks and traits and unique details
- Pacing -- a story that moves, is snappy, with efficient structure and no extra words
SQF: When reading a story, what clues tell you the story was written by a novice author?
KR: Long paragraphs (little white space), formal or writerly language, dialogue that doesn't move the story and isn't constructed correctly (example: just use "he said" and not "he chortled" or "he exclaimed.") And exclamation points -- you get one a year.
SQF: What other common mistakes do you encounter that turn you off to a story?
KR: Oftentimes, a writer is so eager to submit that he fails to proof adequately and completely.
SQF: Do you provide comments when you reject a story?
KR: No. Because of time, I am unable to provide comments. I will on occasion send a piece back with a request for certain corrections.
SQF: What do you consider to be the primary responsibilities of an editor?
KR: To make the writing shine, with the author's voice intact
SQF: What one question on this topic do you wish I'd asked that I didn't? And how would you answer it?
KR: How important is it to read the submission guidelines? It is basic. You will learn the type of material needed, the word count, the format, and any other request of the editor.
Thank you, Kathy. We all appreciate you taking time from your busy schedule to participate in this project.
NEXT POST: 2/23--Six Questions for Liz (with input from Laura), Editrices, The Toucan Magazine