Monday, June 25, 2012

Six Questions for Krisma, Primary Editor, Diverse Voices Quarterly

Diverse Voices Quarterly publishes literary poetry (30 lines max), short stories and personal essays to 3,000 words (or two shorts that add up to 1,000). Art and photography also accepted. Read the complete guidelines here.

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 I'm not just referring to the unpublished, but also a writer's overall tone or style.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.

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