Monday, December 12, 2011

Six Questions for E.S. Wynn, Editor, Daily Love

Daily Love is no longer accepting submissions.

Daily Love publishes a new love story every day. The editors are looking for fiction to 4,000 words (1,000 or less preferred) poetry, experimental forms, etc. Read the complete guidelines here.

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

EW: For Daily Love, I tend to look for uniqueness and skill in storytelling above all else. Sure, there aren't a lot of untold stories within the love poetry / romance genre, but that doesn't mean a told-to-death story can't be a good story. Being a daily magazine, Daily Love is pretty open when it comes to submissions. Writers with a firm story to tell who can infuse that story with elements that make it fresh and provocative are sure to be accepted at Daily Love, though always make sure to proofread anything you send my way.

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

EW: I think the number one reason I reject pieces that come into Daily Love has got to be typos. I'm not going to reject a piece outright if a few words are misspelled, but if I have to go through and radically rebuild the whole thing from scratch because every other sentence has a serious grammatical error, the story better be the most amazing story I've ever read. Sad laments about broken hearts tend to get tossed aside as well, mostly because there are so many of them. Everyday at least five poorly written poems cross my desk about how much it hurts that "he" or "she" left the writer and how much the writer wants that person back, even if just for one more kiss. I'm not faulting people for their feelings and I'm certainly not devaluing them, but if Daily Love was all this kind of poetry, who would want to read it? I wouldn't. Not every story has to be a happy ascent into the heavens of bliss (I get a ton of those too), but realistic, romantic, heart-gripping love stories with both pain and happiness are what really hit my sweet spot. The third reason is most certainly length. Granted, Daily Love isn't exclusively a flash-length fiction site, but as both an editor and a reader, I prefer writing under 800 words. Writers who send me something in the 2,000 to 5,000 word range usually have to wait a week (or two) for me to stop putting off reading their work, and by then, the schedule has often filled up.

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

EW: If anything for me is a pet peeve, its rhyming couplets. I have read so many rhyming couplets at this point that I have to fight my instincts and not immediately reject them without a cursory read. Now, poems that rhyme in strange and creative ways (not couplets!) and show a great deal of poetic skill through elegant consonance and alliteration are intriguing, but the best pieces (in my opinion) rhyme only when it suits the emotion of a particular line. Poetry isn't soft serve ice cream. You can't just squirt it into a form and call it a poem because the words you chose rhyme. Poetry is liquid emotion. It is art. It is thought, condensed.

SQF: What is it about the characters in a story that makes them pop off the page and grab hold of you?

EW: Realistic dialog is the thing that usually hooks me. Characters with interesting, well-defined traits hook me. I love stories that aren't fairytale happy or tragedy sad. Love is life, it is real life, and real life is happy, sad, comical and strange all at once. The best stories often are too.

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?

EW: When I first started editing, I was against the idea of the blacklist, but as time has gone on, I've had to institute one. I have never blacklisted someone for responding to rejections with frustration or anger because I understand where they are coming from (and I think penalizing them for something I too have felt in my younger days is both petty and elitist), but I have blacklisted (after a warning) those who try to pull stories out of my schedule even after a solid agreement has been made. One of the most infuriating things that any writer has ever done to me is to send me a submission, wait until I accept it, load it into the schedule and move on before suddenly deciding the day before the launch that another, perhaps more prestigious (in their eyes) or higher paying magazine should have it instead. Sending a submission to Daily Love constitutes a legally binding agreement to allow the site to publish that story if it is accepted by Daily Love before another site agrees to publish it. Backing out once everyone has come to a complete agreement is not only extremely irritating, it constitutes the breaking of trust and of a contract. I don't mind if writers send polite questions, ask for clarification, or even call me dirty names because I've rejected their masterpiece (all have happened before) I just ask that they don't send me a story, thank me for accepting it, turn around and sell it to another magazine, then yank the rug out from under my feet the day before the story is scheduled to hit the site. Nothing is more unprofessional and callous in my opinion. It's like writing a check you know is going to bounce and then giving it to a starving street musician who is playing to try to make the rent.

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

EW: I think one of the most interesting things I have encountered while editing for Daily Love is the number of people who send me stories under one name and then later ask me to change that name to a separate pen name. I don't mind doing it, and I understand the reasons why people choose to do it, but the frequency of it is interesting, for lack of a better word. For better or worse, love and sex are still very much sensitive subjects in the minds of men and women.

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

NEXT POST: 12/15--Six Questions for Stephen M. Wilson, Poetry Editor, Abyss and Apex

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