SQF: What are the top three things you look for in a submission and why?
- Topics that we can all relate to, but the poem or story is written in a way that makes it stand out from all the others.
- Voices from those you might not have heard. I'm not just referring to the unpublished, but also a writer's overall tone or style.
- Clean, concise writing. The less time we have to spend proofreading, the quicker the issues can go online.
SQF: What are the top three reasons a submission is rejected, other than not fitting into your answers to the above question and why?
- A writer didn't follow our submission guidelines. The reason to be rejected is obvious with this one.
- A writer has a good idea in his/her poem, but it just isn't developed enough. It's our hope that he/she will read some of our issues (or even other online journals) to get an idea of how strong writing needs to be.
- The tried and true "show vs tell." Some writers tell a story, how this or that happened, but it needs to be told through actions and strong characters (or literary devices in poetry).
SQF: What other common mistakes do you encounter that turn you off to a submission?
K: Inconsistent formatting or fonts. Doesn't everyone know that the standard is 12 point font, double-spaced for stories, and single-spaced for poems? I mean, we won't outright reject it if it's a little off--but usually weak writing and lack of formatting go hand in hand.
SQF: Do you provide comments when you reject a submission?
K: Not usually. However, if a piece comes close, we'll mention that.
SQF: Based on your experience as an editor, what have you learned about writing?
K: To become more open-minded about different forms and styles of writing, even if it's not typically the writing I personally go for. For example, I may not like a certain topic, but if it's well-written. . . well, that just might be the piece to get accepted.
SQF: What one question on this topic do you wish I'd asked that I didn't? And how would you answer it?
K: How do you know when you have a submission that will become an acceptance?
My answer: If another editor has it, will I be upset if he/she accepts it before I do? If so, it's an instant acceptance. No debate. Additionally, this is also why we try to respond within a couple months.
Thank you, Krisma and editors. We all appreciate you taking time from your busy schedule to participate in this project.