Wednesday, May 25, 2011

Six Questions for Michael J. Solender, Editor, MiCrow

MiCrow is the tiny sibling of Full of Crow and looks for Flash Fiction in the under 1000 word range. "We publish two issues per year, one in the summer (June) and one in the winter (December). We also look for images and poetry." Read the complete guidelines here.

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

Emotion. I want a story to engage me and speak to me viscerally. Stories that connect on any type of gut level with their reader and take them to an emotional place are stories that I want our readers to read.

An arc. It sounds trite, but I am a traditionalist and want to read stories that have a beginning, middle and an end. This is more difficult in micro-flash, but it is even more important in my mind to build an arc and develop scene and character while at the same time advancing the story.

Construction and voice. Again micro is a unique subcategory within flash that demands compactness, well constructed pieces that have a clear identifiable voice, one that speaks loudly and has something to say.

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

MS: We are a themed publication. Typically it is a one word theme such as “void” or “search” that is very deliberately ambiguous to allow for wide interpretation. Yet some submitters don’t pay the slightest attention or try and make a connection. We have a fairly high accept rate as we enjoy providing a platform, though I do want to see pieces that fit together and offer the elements I mention above.

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

MS: Overworked stories that try to be clever, pedantic word choices, pieces that don’t allow readers to bring part of themselves to the story – this is a big one for me. I don’t like stories that fill in every blank and don’t let their readers imagine.

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

MS: It really depends. I am open to giving feedback to anyone who asks, and I do try and provide input. Selection for publication is really such a subjective thing and a matter of taste. I don’t like to “judge” people’s work – only evaluate if it fits my publication, so I do convey that when not accepting a piece.

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?

MS: The one thing that does annoy me is when I accept a story and the author informs me it has been accepted elsewhere. We have a long submission/publication schedule as a biannual. We let people know that upfront both before they submit in the guidelines and then after submission. I notify every submission when they will hear back. So it is annoying when I find that someone has neglected to tell me their piece has been accepted after that, and I don’t tend to look favorably on that author. Re questions – yes as above.

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

MS: I want people to experience joy when writing for and reading indy press publications. We have a great community here, and I wish you’d asked me about feedback from writers and readers – tell us when you like our work, tell us when you don’t. This endeavor is collaborative and editors want to hear from all involved with their publications.

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

NEXT POST: 5/27--Six Questions for Executive Editor, Journal of Microliterature


  1. Thanks to Jim for hosting! Note MICROW summer edition 2011 is coming out soon and will be PACKED with literary and graphic goodness. You'll be able to find it here:

  2. Insightful interview, Michael. You have a damn fine publication there and I look forward to reading the summer issue.

  3. I'm already standing on line for the summer edition. Michael rocks!