Tuesday, January 7, 2014

Six Questions for Lee Costello, Editor, Microscenes

Microscenes publishes 60-90 second videos, poetry to 500 words, vignettes and flash fiction (300-500 words), triptychs, and comics. Issues are themed.  Read the complete guidelines here.

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

LC: Microscenes submissions have to be under 500 words, but prior to a hiatus of about 5 months the word limit was 250. I started the blog to give people a monthly serving of short, thought provoking, fiction & poetry that fits with the very busy and attention deficit way we take in text/information, and I think I succeeded. However, a lot of submissions would fail to grab my attention and I decided that the 250 word limit was just a little too restrictive. 

Three things I look for in submissions now are:

Insight. I need the writer to know their subject inside out if they're gonna teach me about it in 500 words or less. Even an emotionally motivated piece, if not written from a place of sincerity, can be inaccurate and fail to convey the feelings it is trying to convey.

Voice. Writers who know themselves (their strengths, weaknesses, limits) and are aware of their particular frame of reference regarding the world around them will 99% of the time create much more consistent and engaging reading than somebody still finding their voice. (I fall into this bracket)

Texture. Names I've never heard before, situations I'd never pictured, songs I know & songs I don't, colour palettes, scenes from movies, etc... Sensory writing/writing that stimulates different areas of my mind regularly is generally more enjoyable for me than prose that flits between the philosophizing of a first person 'I' and occasional dialogue. This is a hard area to strike a balance, but if done correctly it can 'make' a piece of fiction. 

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

LC: A lack of the above, bad grammar (unless it is a grammatically experimental piece), unnecessarily awkward formatting (fuck cutting, pasting, then intensely reformatting a 350 word poem for 4 hours. No chance is that piece getting into the issue.)

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

LC: Probably not. Unless it is perfect for the theme of the issue and I rate the writer highly already, I'll probably avoid doing this. I think I've done this twice with Microscenes that I'm aware of and those pieces generally got underwhelming receptions in relation to the 'likes' and reblogs the original posts got.

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?

LC: I think I cover this in what I've already written, but one more thing is including a bio and links to your site or blog. These are kind of vital to you gaining recognition as a writer so why wouldn't you include these with a submission? Including these will allow an editor to do their job more comfortably without having to trawl Google for author info.

SQF: What magazines (online and in print) do you read most often?

I mostly read blogs and E-zines, such as: The Newer York, Pop Serial, Metazen, NAP, Up Literature, Shabby Doll House, Internet Poetry, Neato Mosquito, Alt Lit Gossip. There are a lot more but I can't recall them off the top of my head. I have a long way to go before my efforts as an editor/curator come close to what these guys are all doing.

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

LC: How does someone go about submitting to FRXTL or Microscenes? The answer is simple. Go to frxtl.com and click the 'submit' link at the top of the page, or by visiting the Microscenes page. Alternatively you can email frxtlfrxtl@gmail.com for more info or to hit me with a speculative submission. 

Also, has the internet made it more difficult or easier for a writer to get noticed? I'd say yes and no. It is a lot harder to get noticed if you are an older writer or somebody who isn't naturally able to set up and maintain a multiple platform social media presence, but it is easier for you to submit writing, to read other's writing, and to network with other writers. A lot of 'wheat' is getting lost among the 'chaff' because of an over abundance of 'platforms' for writers. My advice would be to set up a Twitter account, communicate predominantly through that and Facebook, and maybe set up a tumblr account, if you're into sharing other peoples' work as well as your own. Along with a blog of your own, that's pretty much all you need. Then it's just about writing and refining your voice.

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

NEXT POST: 1/10--Six Questions for Benjamin Russell Perry, Editor-in-Chief, Blank Fiction Magazine

No comments:

Post a Comment