3Elements Review was founded to spark imagination, to provide a unique creative challenge, and at the very least, to allow writers and artists a bit of fun with our three element prompts. Each issue begins with the posting of three elements and ends with a journal filled with the imaginative ways in which each writer and artist transformed those elements. Stories must not exceed 3500 words and poetry must not exceed two pages. Read the complete guidelines here.
SQF: What are the top three things you look for in a submission and why?
MS: We want to read pieces of writing that make us feel something, whether it be fear, sadness, loneliness, happiness, anger, etc. We like reading stories that offer insight into darkness and truth. Most of all, we want to read a story that we can’t put down, something that the writer obviously put their heart into.
SQF: What are the top three reasons a submission is rejected, other than not fitting into your answers to the above question and why?
- First, we do a search to make sure that the three elements are in the story or poem. If all three are not included, it is an automatic rejection.
- Spelling and grammatical errors. I do copywriting and proofreading, and CJ (managing editor) is a high school English teacher, so spelling and grammar errors are blaringly obvious to us. As writers, we do all we can to make our submissions error-free. It shows the editors that you care about your piece and that you don’t want to waste anybody’s time. If submitters don’t care enough to edit their piece, why would an editor want to take the time to read it? Our very first submission had a common word misspelled in the title of their piece. It’s very hard to look past that.
- Clichés and unoriginal ideas. Describe things in ways that nobody ever has before.
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.
MS: I feel that character is a bit more important than plot. Don’t get me wrong, I love a good plot, but if I don’t care about the character, I’m not going to care about what they are going through or desire.
Think about it this way. You read about a person in the paper who was promoted to CEO of a paperweight company. Do you have an emotional reaction to that? Probably not. Now imagine your spouse is that new CEO. You’ll feel something. Especially when you get that vacation you’ve always dreamed about!
SQF: What advice can you offer new authors hoping to publish their first submission in 3Elements Review?
MS: Read the guidelines, include the three elements, and write something that we can react to. Don’t use clichés—come up with a refreshing and creative way to express what you have to say. Be professional and edit your piece for errors.
SQF: Based on your experience as an editor, what have you learned about writing?
MS: I feel like I’m being repetitive, but being an editor has reinforced the importance of reading submission guidelines, so as not to waste the editors’ time. Most editors of literary journals are editors because they love words, but they also have other jobs, families, and probably spend a good deal of time doing writing of their own.
It is also important to read what the journal has previously published so you know what the editors are looking for.
SQF: What one question on this topic do you wish I'd asked that I didn't? And how would you answer it?
MS: “What plans does 3Elements Review have for the future?” We’re considering doing a yearly anthology of the best work, contests, featuring writers from the current issue on our website, using Twitter to interact with our readers, and perhaps creating ways for writers to tell mini-stories on Twitter in between issues so we can stay connected.
Thank you, Mikaela. We all appreciate you taking time from your busy schedule to participate in this project.
NEXT POST: 10/29--Six Questions for Yasmin Belkhyr, Founder/Editor-in-Chief, Winter Tangerine Review