Friday, February 8, 2013

Six Questions for Ben White, Editor, Nanoism

Nanoism is an online publication for twitter-fiction: stories of up to 140 characters. Shorter than traditional flash fiction, it’s both a challenge to write and quick as a blink to read. Read the complete guidelines here.

SQF: Why did you start this magazine?

BW: I began writing Twitter-sized fiction in January 2009. I found the exercise fulfilling, both as a sort of public writer's notebook and as standalone stories. I created Nanoism to encourage others to do the same. After almost four years, it remains the longest-running Twitter Fiction publication.

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

1. Avoidance of overworn tropes
2. Change (explicit or implied)
3. Staying power

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

BW: A character sketch is not a story, as it is a description. No matter how pleasantly crafted, there is no motion.

The over-reliance on the sensational: murder, rapes, child kidnapping, etc. Occasionally captivating but mostly a cheap thrill.

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

BW: I used to for every single submission (even those longer than 140 characters, which would be automatically cut off by our submission form). Now, I rarely do, except for those cases that I'd like to see a rewrite of or came particularly close. I feel now that Nanoism's more than 500 very very short stories provide an excellent explanation of what it is I'm looking for. Unlike magazines featuring longer pieces, reading Nanoism's archive is not a cumbersome request!

SQF: What is the best part of being an editor?

BW: Being part of a product. There is a site that has hundreds of stories from hundreds of people chosen from thousands of submissions. It didn't exist before I made it, and now it does.

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

BW: Tastes change over time, not always for the better. The enterprise may be fickle, but the product is its own reward.

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

How far has the Twitter-fiction fever spread?
At least as far as Sweden! See

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

NEXT POST: 2/12--Six Questions for Michelle Wotowiec, Editor, The Watercress Journal

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