Tuesday, March 26, 2013

Six Questions for Kathy McEathron, Fiction Editor, Sleet Magazine

Sleet Magazine publishes fiction, flash fiction, poetry, interviews, and irregulars (cross-genre works). Read the complete guidelines here.

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

KM: It tells me something about the human condition, sentences are concise and move the story along, there is a balance and a beginning, middle and end. 

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

KM: The writer tells too much so that as readers we aren’t inspired to use our imaginations. 
Details are incorrect; if you mention specific things to a period of time or setting they must be correct so the story is authentic. 

We didn’t care about the characters.  We want a reason to like or dislike a character. 

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. 

KM: Character is more important than plot.  The right character can make us believe anything is possible.  Action or drama for its own sake isn’t interesting; it’s the love that gives us a reason to keep reading.

SQF: What advice can you offer new authors hoping to publish their first submission in Sleet Magazine?

KM: Read your story out loud; make sure each sentence, each word pushes the story forward.

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

KM: I think writing is mostly difficult and solitary, through Sleet Magazine I learned there are thousands of other writers struggling with the same things that I am.  When I read a story, I know the author spent many hours thinking and writing and mostly, I feel honored to have the opportunity to read their work.

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

KM: How do you know that you made the right decision in selecting one story over another?

Sometimes I know right away that I want to publish a story.  There are others that we really agonize about.  We make mistakes; we can only publish a very small number of pieces that are sent to us.  We may reject a story that should win an award.  

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

NEXT POST: 3/29--Six Questions for Kate Brown, Fiction Editor, The View From Here

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