Tuesday, November 20, 2012

Six Questions for Troy Palmer, Editor, Little Fiction

Little Fiction publishes literary short stories that are digital, portable, and free. Read the complete guidelines here.

SQF: Why did you start this magazine?

TP: I dipped a toe into indie (pseudo-self) publishing in the mid-90s and had been looking for a way back in that made sense in our digital times. The world of short stories felt like a good fit and Little Fiction seemed like a way to offer something a bit different. To that end, I wouldn't consider us a magazine, though we do publish monthly. Our stories are released, intended and designed to stand on their own.

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

TP: Conflict, character and a reason to care about what's happening to the people in the story. Because that's what storytelling is.

SQF: What common mistakes do you encounter that turn you off to a submission?

TP: Lack of detail, and characters that we don't know enough about. I see a fair number of submissions where it feels like the writer knows what's going on, but they haven't given enough to the reader. Providing enough (without too much) detail in a short story isn’t easy.

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

TP: Almost always. The process of submitting stories isn’t just about getting published; it's about trying to become a better writer, as well. It's also a lot for writers to open their work — and themselves — up to rejection; I figure they deserve something of value in return. Of course, there are still times when all I can offer is that the story just isn't right for Little Fiction.

SQF: Based on your experience as an editor, what have you learned about writing?

TP: That you need to keep doing it, first and foremost. But also that you need to really immerse yourself in the works that you love. It's not about reading more; it's about looking closely at the craft. Notice the subtleties, the things you as a reader connected with, and you'll begin to notice what might be missing from your writing. The craft is the details.

SQF: What do you want authors to know about the submissions you reject and how authors should respond? Along this same idea, do you mind if authors reply with polite questions about the comments they receive?

TP: I don't mind at all if authors reply with questions, and I'll do my best to help them out. As for how they should respond... they should just keep going. Keep writing. Keep learning. Keep trying.

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

TP: I'm not sure what the question would be, but a last piece of advice is to target your submissions. Know where you're sending your work and only send stuff to places where a) you think your story will be a good fit and b) where you want your work to appear. Don't just submit your work anywhere. You'll get better results that way, even if your story gets rejected.

Oh, and if you can, share your stories with someone who isn't afraid to be tough and honest with you before you start submitting them.

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

NEXT POST: 11/23--Six Questions for Tom Vater, Publisher, Crime Wave Press

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