Monday, August 15, 2011

Six Questions for Sarah Lynn Knowles, Curator, Storychord

"Every other Monday, features one story, one image, and a one-song "soundtrack"-- each by underexposed talent." Read the complete guidelines here.

SQF: Why did you start this magazine?

SLK: The site melds my three favorite interests—fiction, music, and art—into three-way collaborative packages that feel, to me, like little films almost. It’s fun to work on, and I hope fun to consume. A lot of literary magazines can feel too uptight and academic for non-writers to bother with, I think. Music and art blogs can be a bit intimidating, too, if you’re not an already-in-the-know consumer. So, as someone whose interests are broad but passionate, my hope is that fans of one medium will visit and maybe be enlightened to another format they don’t usually consider too much. I try to keep things simple and really accessible.

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

SLK: I’m open to most anything that impresses me. For example, my all-time favorite writers are John Irving, Kurt Vonnegut, and Margaret Atwood; and besides admiring their super-prolific output, I appreciate how well-honed and distinct their voices are. An appropriately stylized voice is important to me, whether it’s subtle or dramatic — not only for written submissions, but for the songs and art that I pair them with. I follow my gut instincts, mostly. So much rides on how the voice of each piece sets a particular tone and makes me feel.

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

SLK: Given the collaborative nature of the site. I hold onto submissions for a few months sometimes—even my immediate favorites—until I come across an equally-impressive song/story/image that suits its theme and voice. My inbox is filled with flagged emails from artists and bands I want to use that just don’t mesh with any of the fiction I’ve got on hand. So my advice to potential contributors is just to follow the guidelines and send it in… and if you don’t hear back from me in a few months’ time, feel free to submit something else. Also, it does help to mention upcoming publications, gallery showings, and album releases; I love featuring contributors the same week they’ve got a project releasing/showing in order to help plug it with a link in the bio section.

SQF: Approximately what percentage of your submissions do you accept?

SLK: It varies with the medium. But the percentage is small given that Storychord features just 1 story, 1 song, and 1 image every other week, and the number of submissions I receive has increased now that the publication is in its second year. Plus, the acceptance/rejection project is less straightforward than other publications' given that I'm curating a three-way collaboration between mediums. I honestly am sitting on so much good stuff, just waiting for the right puzzle piece to fit alongside it.

SQF: Will you publish a story an author posted on a personal blog?

SLK: Sure. Storychord does not require exclusive publication rights.

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

SLK: I was once asked in another interview, "If you were able to publish an issue of Storychord using a famous author’s story, a famous musician’s song, and a famous artist’s visuals, who would you like to see all together on a page?" The answer was fun to ponder. I think the Storychord issue of my dreams would be my favorite kind of creepy—the kind that sticks with you for days. I’d match a darkly comedic Kurt Vonnegut story with an quirkily eerie Thom Yorke solo track and a never-before-seen addition to Rene Magritte’s surreal masked figure series.

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

NEXT POST: 8/18--Six Questions for Chasity Thomas, Editor-in-Chief/Founder, Milk Sugar

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