Monday, March 21, 2011

Six Questions for Tannen Dell, Publisher, Editor-in-Chief, Indigo Rising Magazine

Indigo Rising Magazine publishes fantasy, scifi, and other genre fiction to 5,000 words, poetry on any subject that is no longer than thirty lines, abstract and surreal art and photography, essays on art and literature, and book reviews. Read the complete guidelines here.

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

A. Authenticity. Please don't use phrases that are cliche unless a character is saying them, and even that should be done sparingly. This is not an opinion from me, this is a collective thought in the eyes of every colleague I've met so far. Don't try to be original, just be real and the story will be original on its own. In addition, it's sort of unofficial plagiarism to use stock phrases.

B. Characters. In literary fiction, this development is a must. Any writers who want to return glory to genre fiction should please make some character-based stories with the plot coming second. It has been done, it just needs to be done more.

C. Language. In my opinion, any writer of fiction should study the art of poetry, not necessarily to write it, but to understand the poetic potential a sentence can have.

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

TD: Basically, if the story lacks question 1 (A,B and C).

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

TD: Honestly, the way a writer presents the submission email means a lot. We've found that the more relaxed, cheerful or strange the submission email is relates directly to the way they write. We get turned off if the writer is constantly predictable, we don't need a twist, but by god, nobody wants to know the whole story a few sentences in.

SQF: What is the best part of being an editor?

TD: The same thing as worst part, the position. We don't have to create something to edit, we are mediators of creativity. We on the staff are all artists in one way or another, so rejections are hard to give and acceptances are wonderful. I've come across some pretty ruthless destroyers in my day, as many of you have. I would say, for me personally, it's the opportunity to be a nice but fair editor.

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?

TD: If a writer is rejected, then they have the right to know why. Some magazines don't really care and will not respond, but really, the same way you would speak in real life applies. If you are kind and just looking for some explanation there should be no problem. Not being courteous or demanding anything will simply excommunicate future possibilities with that publication.

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

TD: I was hoping there would be a question about poetry, though this seems geared towards fiction. In today's world, the two crafts appear side-by-side all the time and being familiar / creating a togetherness between the two forms might be more conducive for the expansion of Art. But that's just a thought.

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

NEXT POST: 3/23--Six Questions for Kim Göransson, Editor, kitchen

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