SQF: What are the top three things you look for in a submission and why?
ES-M: Creativity, vivid language, and the ability to get a physical reaction from me, be it nausea or chills, I like to be affected in some spine tingling way.
SQF: What are the top three reasons a submission is rejected, other than not fitting into your answers to the above question and why?
ES-M: Cliche subject matter, poor dialogue and uninteresting characters, plot holes. But please always check spelling and grammar, I can forgive the little things, it's just nice if you don't have an extreme amount of typos, I like to feel like you actually read your piece before submitting it.
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.
ES-M: Plot and character are equally important. You can have a great plot, but if your characters are weak then I'm not invested in them enough to care and vice versa. I need something to be moving my characters if they're interesting, especially when it comes to writing horror.
SQF: What advice can you offer new authors hoping to publish their first submission?
ES-M: Duotrope is great for finding new magazines that fit with your writing. When you find publications that you would like to submit your writing to, do a little research, visit the site, read the work that is already there so that you can get a feel for the kind of writing the editors are looking for. Submit as often as possible and do not take rejection harshly, only look for a chance to improve, not everyone will love everything you write.
SQF: Based on your experience as an editor, what have you learned about writing?
ES-M: Have fun with writing, and proofread. Writing is a gift, and those of us who are fortunate enough to even be in the game know how cruel and arduous that game can be, but you can't let the critics beat you. Just because one editor doesn't like your work doesn't mean it's the end of your career as a writer. And never compare yourself to others, they have a different voice, a different style, they are not you. I've read pieces of writing that I felt unfit to judge because they were so good, but then I realized that I could not compare myself to the many talented individuals out there. Being an editor is a humbling experience and one I'm very pleased to have.
SQF: What one question on this topic do you wish I'd asked that I didn't? And how would you answer it?
ES-M: Why did I start my website? The answer is fun and simple: I started The Carnage Conservatory because I wanted a publication that was tailor made for the kind of writing I wanted to do. I could not find a publication that I felt was open enough to accept what I was creating. I spoke with other writers and I realized that they had similar problems with the guidelines imposed by some of the more well know publications. So, I made my own magazine and I've met some of the most talented amazing people through the site. I'm grateful for all the support and fantastic work that they're doing. I have the most fun with Carnage, it's a great experience and the perfect first endeavor in being an editor.
Thank you, Emily. We all appreciate you taking time from your busy schedule to participate in this project.
NEXT POST: 11/30--Six Questions for Zak Block, Editor, The Squawk Back