Monday, May 9, 2011

Six Questions for Lori Titus, Editor, Flashes in the Dark

"Flashes In The Dark is looking for well-written short, horror fiction under 1,000 words. However, we are looking for real stories…not vignettes, jokes, or horrific descriptions. All stories should have a beginning, middle, and end. Just because they’re short, short stories, doesn’t mean that all the regular elements of a story shouldn’t be present: characterization, setting, conflict theme and a plot. That’s the joy - and the agony - of flash fiction, cramming all those elements into 1,000 words or less." Read the complete guidelines here.

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

LT: In flash fiction, the rules that apply to any other form are even more demanding. Characterization, plot, and an end that surprises the reader are essential.

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

LT: Well, there really is not a top three. We usually work with the authors if there are technical glitches like spelling or grammar. Even problems in logic can be fixed if the author is willing to take a second look at the story and think about some fixes.

The two things that will get an author rejected are unwillingness to listen to critique, or material that contains images or descriptions that are racially offensive, homophobic, or abusive to women or children.

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

LT: Mistakes in logic are one to look out for. They take you out of the setting of the story and block the reader from being able to focus on the things you want them to see.

SQF: Do you provide comments when you reject a story?

LT: Most of the time I do, especially if I think there is something the author did which they can improve upon.

SQF: Based on your experience as an editor, what have you learned about writing?

LT: There are a million and one ways to say anything, but what's important is finding a way to make the readers feel it. I have a new appreciation for working with a manuscript, cutting and adding things that bring the reader into the experience.

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

LT: Hmmmm. You could ask me how I started working as an editor, but that might be too long of a story for today.  :)

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

NEXT POST: 5/11--Six Questions for Bruce Priddy, Editor, Eschatology

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