Pithead Chapel publishes literary flash fiction to 1,000 words and literary short stories to 4,000 words. At Pithead Chapel, we’re looking for engaging stories told in honest voices. Most of all, we want to feel something. We want to reach the last word and immediately crave more. We want your story to leave a brilliant bruise. Please read our complete guidelines here.
SQF: What are the top three things you look for in a submission and why?
PC: Since readers are the life blood of any good journal, we usually begin each submission with them in mind: will this story capture our readers from start to finish? If the answer is yes then the submission is off to a good start. Other than that our staff also looks at consistency, language, and voice, among others. We like stories that are fresh, stories that make us say damn when finished. It’s our goal, always, to publish the best fiction that we can find; we want stories that make our readers get lost in the created world, in the act of reading, and come back each month for more.
SQF: What common mistakes do you encounter that turn you off to a submission?
PC: We get discouraged with stories that aren't ready to be submitted yet—stories with grammar or clarity issues that could have been fixed with more time spent making the work as clear as possible. If you send us a story that needs lots of work, we'll most likely pass because of time constraints. Now, we're writers too, and we understand that sometimes little things get missed. That's fine with us, but if the work has lots of homonyms, misspellings, or grammatical issues we're going to believe that it just isn't ready for publication, at least not with us.
SQF: Do you provide comments when you reject a submission?
PC: We try to provide comments when we can. Often, though, we just don't have enough time. If a story, however, just needs a little bit of guidance, we usually try to provide some feedback.
SQF: Will you publish a submission an author posted on a personal blog?
PC: We don't publish stories that have appeared elsewhere—this includes other journals, blogs, or any other venue that’s public. Our goal is to publish stuff that is fresh, work that other people haven't viewed on the internet or in print. Plus, it also saves us from searching the rights that still could exist on the work.
SQF: What do you want authors to know about the stories 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?
PC: Authors should understand that rejections are part of the process. As writers, we all get them—hell, lots and lots of them. The best thing to do is send the work to a few places and see what happens. Sometimes, a piece just isn't right for a certain journal, but it might be for another. It's hit or miss really. And if we provide feedback and the author has some polite questions concerning the comments, we'll be more than happy to answer those questions. Otherwise, keep working and try us again. The next story might be the one to get you in the door here or elsewhere.
SQF: What one question on this topic do you wish I'd asked that I didn't? And how would you answer it?
PC: Why should writers consider submitting to Pithead Chapel?
Like any journal of worth, we’re here to promote work from emerging and established writers. We strive to be a journal that writers are proud to be involved with. And we take great pride in providing quality material to the masses, in promoting literature and its creators any way we can. Since we’re all writers at PC, we hold our journal to the same standards that we seek in our own attempts to be published: we want the work to be in a good home, to be shared and enjoyed as much as possible.
Thank you, Keith & Molly. We all appreciate you taking time from your busy schedule to participate in this project.
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