Friday, March 29, 2013

Six Questions for Kate Brown, Fiction Editor, The View From Here

The View From Here ceased publication 11/1/2014.

The View From Here publishes "most forms of short adult fiction, with a 5,000 word limit." Read the complete guidelines here

KB: As The View From Here is now only online, for stories over the length of 2,000 words, I would recommend you look especially hard at what we've published before and whether you think you can hold the readers attention in an online setting. I do pick out longer pieces, but most tend to be around 2,000 words or under. I'm especially keen to publish more flash fiction. We are now open to simultaneous submissions. 

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

KB: I want to be moved. It doesn't matter whether I laugh or cry, or both, I want to feel a basic human emotion (and revulsion doesn't count - there have been a few of those). I read so many submissions that start out well but leave me feeling unfulfilled. 

I want to disappear into the story and feel as if I am living inside it - and with that, to have the feeling that the writer felt that way too, when writing it. 

I'm especially keen to encourage writers who are doing something daring, who are making a leap into the unknown, and in doing so are telling me some kind of truth - a sense that the writer has quite possibly felt exposed whilst writing the piece. 

SQF: What are the top three reasons a submission is rejected, other than not fitting into your answers to the above question and why?

KB: A lot of submissions are boring. Narrative tension hasn't been considered, or isn't understood. Two other common problems are that stories are derivative, or that they are autobiography, poorly concealed. Please think about whether what you are sending me is actually a story or not. 

A lot of submissions are first drafts at best. They need to read like well-oiled machines for me to want to publish them. 

A lot of authors haven't read the magazine, and don't even realise that the work they're submitting isn't suitable. 

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. 

KB: Character creates plot as far as I'm concerned. It's the actions of the characters that make things happen, or if they're dealing with external events, then it's their responses to those events that guide the story along a particular path. 

SQF: What advice can you offer new authors hoping to publish their first submission in The View From Here?

KB: Research your market well. Read the magazine. A lot of submitting authors haven't read it. 

Proof-read. If, for example, you introduce an important character twice by mistake, I will not feel a need to publish your story. This has happened. 

The following advice may seem obvious, but often writers seem not to ask themselves these questions: 

Why am I writing the story I'm writing?

Is it a story worth telling?

What do I hope to achieve? What impact do I want my story to have on the reader?

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

KB: That we all submit too early. Even experienced authors do it. I have to admit that although I find it irritating as an editor, as a writer I find it slightly comforting to discover I'm not the only one who does it. So I trying to teach myself patience. 

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

KB: What do I do if I receive serial submissions from a writer? If you submit a story and I reject it without specifically encouraging you to submit another story within a short time, please leave it at least a month before submitting again. Sometimes people seem to see rejection as a bare-knuckle challenge rather than taking it to mean anything. If you submit another story the day after rejection I will possibly cast an eye over it, if I get another the next day, you're heading straight for the bin. 

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

NEXT POST: 4/2--Six Questions for Kerri Farrell Foley, Editor, Crack the Spine Literary Magazine

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