Monday, April 30, 2012

Six Questions for Joseph Quintela, Editor, Short, Fast and Deadly

Short, Fast and Deadly publishes prose to 420 characters and poetry to 140 characters. Learn more here.

SQF: Why did you start this magazine?

JQ: SF&D originated from a desire to see short-form poetry and prose directly engage with the constraints of Facebook and Twitter. This is where the 420 character prose and 140 character poetry guidelines come from. Our tag line is "in the future, 5 words will be a run-on sentence". We really believe that. The short attention span of the modern milieu guides or tastes. But that doesn't mean we aren't looking for craft and form. In fact we often err on the side of formalism. In the last year we've also started accepted Word Art and Black Market, which we describe as works in 100 words or less that only use appropriated texts such as mash-ups, re-mixes, and erasures.

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

JQ: Guts. Structure. Surprise. These are the elements of the "deadly" aesthetic that guides our choices.

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

JQ: Obviously, the single most common technical reason for rejections is exceeding the character constraints. That's characters not words. Got it. Good. Now double check it using a word count before you submit. We go by the character count that includes spaces. Besides that, we generally pass on work that doesn't drive through us like a stake. We're gluttons for punishment.

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

JQ: About 10%.

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

JQ: Absolutely.

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

JQ: One of the most important parts of submitting to a literary magazine is getting a feel for the staff's preferences for turn around time after a rejection. This can be hard to judge. At SF&D, we definitely love it when people re-submit. We've published a couple of people only after they sent us work 9 or 10 times. We wanted that one that really was a fit. This said, if you're hitting us more than every other week, chances are we're not paying much attention any more. There's definitely a threshold. Be mindful. Don't inundate.

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

NEXT POST: 5/3--Six Questions for Kate Bernadette Benedict, Editor, Umbrella

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