"The Ofi Press Online Literary Magazine publishes poetry, fiction, interviews and reviews each month. We're based in Mexico City and aim to use this magazine as a way to connect writers whose work is both written in English and Spanish. Whilst publishing international works, ultimately our aim is to publish young, Mexican writers in English and to create a forum for regular readings of short stories and poetry." Read the complete guidelines here.
SQF: What are the top three things you look for in a poem and why?
JL: I love to read poems that evoke emotions, yet those which are subtle. I like to read works that break boundaries yet have a familiar structure. I like poetry that takes me to another world, one outside of my own life.
SQF: What are the top three reasons a story is rejected, other than not fitting into your answers to question one and why?
JL: The main thing which puts me off a story is when the author lists events with very little description. The characters are flat and the dialogue is unbelievable. I love an edgy story, one which has you on the edge of your seat and one that leaves you thinking at the end. In terms of poetry, I HATE it when poems are sent as attachments! A story is okay though.
SQF: What other mistakes do you encounter that turn you off to a story?
JL: I hate it when writers haven't proofread their story. It's fine to have a few errors but please check for typos, spelling mistakes and punctuation errors. It makes me think you don't care too much about getting published!
SQF: What is the best part of being an editor?
JL: I love spending each day reading other people's poetry and short stories from around the world. It gives me great pleasure to see other people's ideas and styles, and it also helps me to think about ways to improve my own writing. Editing The Ofi Press has also been a wonderful way to make connections with the global writing community. I have met wonderful artists, writers, and thinkers and it really has enriched my life a lot.
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?
JL: It's very rare that I read a piece which I completely dislike. Often, it is well written and interesting, however I just feel it doesn't fit in with our magazine. With poetry, sometimes it is just one line which to me doesn't sound right. Sometimes I'll send it back with some suggestions as I know, as a person who writes, I find this to be very beneficial. This also works with authors and readers providing 'constructive' criticism of The Ofi. I just want it to be the best that it can be!
If authors would like to send a polite question or comment, I am always happy to receive them!
SQF: What one question on this topic do you wish I'd asked that I didn't? And how would you answer it?
JL: I wish you had asked me if I had any advice to young writers. All I can say is to just do it! Write with passion. Dedicate time each day or week to it. Don't be shy when sending it off for publication and most of all enjoy it. I look forward to receiving submissions from readers of this site.
Thank you, Jack. We all appreciate you taking time from your busy schedule to participate in this project.
NEXT POST: 3/18--Six Questions for A. W. Gifford, Editor, Bete Noire