Thunderclap publishes "poetry that keeps the human condition awake at night" and "flash fiction that sets even the rustiest of mechanical hearts on fire." Read the complete guidelines here.
SQF: Why did you start this magazine?
AD: I started this magazine for various selfish reasons. I was sinking a little bit in my day to day life. I was in an absolute funk in the way that I felt about myself, what I was doing, what I loved. I was still trying to combat homesickness three years after I had left Canada for America. I was pissing off my husband. I needed a creative outlet so I turned to what I know, and that's the small press and the little magazine. My first experience with the small press was at University when I studied post-war poets from Montreal who ran Contact Press, First Statement and Northern Review (just to name a few).
SQF: What are the top three things you look for in a story/poem and why?
AD: Something physically clicks for me. It's like the first time I heard Robert Browning's My Last Dutchess, I'm pretty sure I got wet from it. It was so sensational. I think there were beads of sweat on my forehead. I remember being very hot. I'm not saying I get that from every poem or short story I fall in love with or publish, nor should I really or else I would probably need to see a doctor. I look for pieces of work that make me slightly uncomfortable. I look for writing that has a certain "fuck you" quality to it. Also, for me, the shorter the better.
SQF: What are the top three reasons a story/poem is rejected, other than not fitting into your answers to the above question and why?
AD: First and foremost, I'd say wordiness. I'm a "yes to modernist" kind of writer/editor. I'm also a "let's be frank" type of person. I like straight talk. If it takes a writer 500 words to process a single, small thought then I'm outta there. I have a short attention span as a reader of prose or poetry so it needs to literally catch my attention in the first few words. A lot of writers will still send me work that is super long and I know I fail to read it properly. When I say flash fiction, I literally mean flash "in less then 500 words" fiction. Lastly, I'd say subject matter can turn me off too. A few inexperienced writers have sent me submissions of writing dedicated to over-reaching themes like war. I'm not particularly interested in your time in Kuwait and it's probably not worth a poem...unless it's done "right", of course.
SQF: When reading a story/poem, how do you know it was written by a novice author?
AD: Partially what I said above. When a piece of writing has it's mind set on a subject and the writing feels... omnipotent... it loses me and it's clear that inexperience is present. Also, concepts of language. I've seen so many words used in the wrong ways. I feel, personally, that poetry needs to be studied (whether in a university/college setting or through individual study) in order to understand the basics. Without those basics, even free verse doesn't come together and it's obvious. There is something to be said about people who spend years of their life studying this beautiful art. It's not just bullshit. It's worth something.
SQF: Will you publish a story/poem an author posted on a personal blog?
AD: Absolutely. Only a small percentage of writers have their blogs read regularly, anyways. It doesn't rub me the wrong way.
SQF: What one question on this topic do you wish I'd asked that I didn't? And how would you answer it?
AD: Well I'm kind of happy you didn't ask where I see this project in five or ten years. I'm not too good with those sorts of questions pertaining to the future. If you had asked me what do I feel is the greatest thing to come out of this project, I would have told you that most of the people I have met via Thunderclap are friggin' incredible and I'm thinking about starting my own AWP called AFWC (Amanda's Fabulous Writer's Conference) just to meet them in person.
Thank you, Amanda. We all appreciate you taking time from your busy schedule to participate in this project.
NEXT POST: 4/27--Six Questions for Chris Deal, Editor, Nefarious Muse