Monday, May 7, 2012

Six Questions for Michael Brantley, Editor, What The Fiction

"What the Fiction Journal is a labor of love — love of well-crafted stories, love of reading and love of publishing. We want to see the best work of writers on our pages, whether those writers are world famous or never-before-published." Read the complete guidelines here.

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

MB: We want a story that gets our attention early, and gives us a reason to keep reading. Little things matter, because a writer who does not pay attention to detail may not be passionate and thorough in his/her work. We set guidelines and expect submissions to comply.

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

MB: A story that doesn't get our attention in the first page is rejected. One that doesn't comply to our submission guidelines is rejected. We like fresh stories, especially if using an "old" theme. A story has to engage the casual reader for us to publish.

SQF: Which of the following statements is true and why? Plot is more important than character. Character is more important than plot. Plot and character are equally important.

MB: I don't think there is a correct answer. It depends on the writer, the story and how the whole thing develops. Case by case is how you judge something such as this.

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

MB: Sometimes, if a piece is really, really close or we agonized over it. But we get a lot of submissions.

SQF: What do you consider to be the primary responsibilities of an editor?

MB: An editor has to be the gatekeeper of the journal and keep a high standard. An editor has to be fair to all writers, even if it is not a story the editor finds appealing ... it can still be well done.

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

MB: How do you decide what goes in your journal? It is purely subjective. That's why we always encourage writers to submit elsewhere if we reject a story. Just because it doesn't connect with us, doesn't mean it is not good.

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

NEXT POST: 5/10 -- Six Questions for M. R. Branwen, Editor, Slush Pile Magazine

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