Friday, November 29, 2013

Six Questions for Elizabeth MacDuffie, Editor, Meat for Tea: The Valley Review

Meat for Tea publishes poetry, essays, flash and micro-fiction, art, and short fiction to 2500 words. Read the complete guidelines here.

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

Elizabeth McDuffie: The top three things I look for in a submission are a complete absence of errors or typos, fresh, insightful engaging work, and wit. I should want to curl upon my couch with the piece and read it. I should not want to stop reading. I should be compelled by the power of the work.

SQF: What most often turns you off to a submission?

EM: I'm turned off when I receive a submission addressed to "Dear Editor" because this shows me the author hasn't taken the time to visit the website or learn anything about my magazine. I'm also turned off when there are glaring errors and typos in the submission. Tortured, gothy poetry of what I call "the torn fishnet and black lipstick" variety never appeals to me. Neither does genre writing, like vampire stories, for instance.

SQF: Will you publish a submission an author posted on a personal blog? 

EM: I would publish a submission that an author has posted on their blog.

SQF: What do you want authors to know about the submissions you reject and how authors should respond? Along this same idea, do you mind if authors reply with polite questions about the comments they receive?

EM: I want authors whose work I've rejected to make sure they thoroughly edit and proofread their work and to visit the website and learn to whom they should send their submission. I also want them to know that, although I was an English professor, I am now an editor and I am not going to give them writing instruction when I reject their work. Writing classes are not free and I don't provide them for free. Mainly, I want them to know they should keep trying. One fellow had his work rejected by Meat for Tea four times, but he kept improving his writing and his fifth submission was accepted. I want authors of rejected work to know that most Meat for Tea contributors hold terminal degrees and many are English professors or edit their own journals. The competition is stiff.

SQF: What magazines do your read most often?

EM: I read "The Believer," " The Paris Review," "The Massachusetts Review," Lady Churchill's Rosebud Wristlet," and "Cabinet" to list a few.

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

EM: The question I could have used, though I worked it into an answer is "What are the typical credentials held by your contributors?" Many of mine hold terminal degrees and have won or been nominate for prestigious literary awards like the Pushcart Prize.

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

NEXT POST: 12/3--Six Questions for Mikael Covey, Editor Lit Up Magazine

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