Thursday, June 23, 2011

Six Questions for Terry Martin, Managing Editor/Publisher, Murky Depths

Murky Depths publishes dark speculative prose from 500-5,000 words, comics from one to ten pages, traditionally metered poetry and is prepared to consider non-fiction if a synopsis sounds right. Also, a synopsis of 250 words could get a story of up to 10,000 words considered. All the artwork is commissioned but artists can send samples or links to their work if they’d like to be considered for a commission. Read the complete guidelines here.

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

TM: A grabbing start, pacy middle, and a satisfying ending.

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

TM: Unoriginal in plot and format, badly edited – most typos and grammatical errors should have been ironed out – which is plain carelessness, and not bothering to send the correct genres for Murky Depths.

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

TM: Not following the guidelines. Telling us we’d like the story – even if we do, that kind of comment grates. “I’d like to send you my story . . .” – you just have! ETC.

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

TM: Receiving a story that gets you excited and getting the commissioned artwork back from an artist.

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?

TM: Yes, I know what you mean. One of my editors nearly packed it in once because of an arsy response – she’s a tad tougher now though! If the story makes it through the first hurdle but still gets rejected, we try to give a good reason of how we think it could be improved (remember that someone else might like it as it stands). We might respond to a polite question – we have – but then again we might not. No harm in trying though.

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

TM: That’s the last question I put to the people we interview in Murky Depths. They never come up with an answer either.

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

NEXT POST: 6/27--Six Questions for Kara Ferguson, Editor, Midnight Screaming

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