Pure Coincidence publishes flash fiction to 1000 words, prose poems to 1000 words, and 2D art. 6-word story and 4-word poem contests are held monthly, and the winners have a chance to be published in an issue. Read the complete guidelines here.
SQF: What are the top three things you look for in a submission and why?
Amanda Nicole Corbin: Concision. Why say something in two paragraphs when you can express it in one sentence? With such a limited word count, every word needs to carry some weight and communicate with the reader as much as it can. You’ve all heard “show; don’t tell” and flash fiction is the prime genre to implement this idea and move us through the story quickly, but with all the necessary details important to the character, plot, setting, mood, etc.
Deliberateness. We want you to play and experiment, toy with us, make puns, and surprise us. However, it needs to be clear that these things are deliberate, and what the implemented devices are trying to do. Sometimes we’ll get a story that has an opportunity to do something great, and it’s missed, or a piece with something that’s clever, but on accident. And even though the author might have a purpose in mind, the reader needs to feel it, too.
Cleverness. As stated, we like surprises and experimentation. Taking expectations and twisting them into something completely different is very satisfying to us as readers, especially when it’s well done. We love clever alternative and traditional literature.
SQF: What is most likely to turn you off to a submission?
ANC: Flowery, clichéd language. There’s a lot of stuff out there that might sound good at face value, but when we take a closer look and the language is hollow, it is very unsatisfying. Clichés take us right out of the piece, and it’s not always easy to dive back in.
And follow the guidelines! We get pieces that are over 1000 words and poems that aren’t prose. That’s great and all, but not what we publish.
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.
ANC: Ah, one of the age-old questions. I’m going to be bold here and say character is more important than plot, because a good character informs the plot. Really, it’s more of a chicken-or-the-egg question, and character should (usually) come first. However, that’s not to say a well-constructed, interesting plot isn’t vital to a piece at all; we’ve accepted some stuff where you could say the plot is the character.
SQF: What advice can you offer new authors hoping to publish their first submission in Pure Coincidence?
ANC: Revise. Make sure your piece is free of errors and offers something new to your readers. When in doubt, have someone you trust read it, give honest feedback, and summarize the piece. Is the summary what you want someone to take away?
Submit! And if you get rejected, submit again! We do something a lot of magazines don’t—we offer feedback. While we’re just a few opinions, we’re happy to offer what we can to help better your writing, whether you plan to resubmit or take it elsewhere.
SQF: Based on your experience as an editor, what have you learned about writing?
ANC: There are many flavors of writing. Really, the spectrum of genres and styles that are out there is broad, and we like a lot of them. The most important thing is, if a story is well constructed, we will enjoy it. This has helped me better my own writing by playing with forms and styles that are outside my “usual” method. Finally, it reminds me that even though a piece is good, it might not fit a certain magazine, so that being discouraged by rejections is just silly.
SQF: What one question on this topic do you wish I'd asked that I didn't? And how would you answer it?
ANC: What made you want to start Pure Coincidence Magazine?
I believe flash fiction is increasing in popularity with the internet and current generation, and I found few magazines that specialize in short pieces only. Both flash fiction and prose poetry create a space where concise, deliberate language is encouraged and I wanted to spotlight these genres in the writing community. Moreover, we have an all-star staff that brings a wide array of perspectives, which helps create a unique tone for the magazine. Lastly, I want to help emerging writers get their voices heard.
Thank you, Amanda. We all appreciate you taking time from your busy schedule to participate in this project.
NEXT POST: 11/29--Six Questions for Elizabeth MacDuffie, Editor, Meat for Tea: The Valley Review