Friday, January 24, 2014

Six Questions for Loran Smith & Leesa Cross-Smith, Editors, WhiskeyPaper

WhiskeyPaper publishes short stories, flash fiction, and collections of short-shorts up to 1000 words. Read the complete guidelines here.

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

WhiskeyPaper: We look to see that the story is well-written and there aren't a lot of typos/spelling errors. This proves to us that the writer cares about their work. Next up would be the heart of the story. Where's the light? Why do we care about these people/this story? And also, we look for something that lifts the piece from the ordinary; we want a flash or spark in there somewhere, something that feels special. 

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

WP: Darkness, hopelessness. Anything racist or sexist or creepy and gross. Also, more than a couple typos. Any sort of carelessness with the text makes it seem like the story doesn't matter much to the writer, so why should it matter to us or the reader?

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. 

WP: To us, character is more important than plot. Since we publish short (and sometimes very short) fiction...we're not as concerned with plot as we are with character. If we fall in love with the character(s) we will follow them anywhere. 

SQF: What advice can you offer new authors hoping to publish in WhiskeyPaper?

WP: Take your work seriously, be professional but don't be afraid to be funny. We love funny stories. And keep on keeping on! Keep working, submitting. Keep at it and always try to push yourself to be better and better. Look at every word, every sentence. Make it beautiful. Fight for it. 

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

WP: Every reader comes to the story with their own history and perceptions; a writer should be as implicit as the art allows. Don't confuse the reader or try to distract them. Get out of their way. Stand back so they can see the world through your words. 

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

WP: Does every story you accept have to/need to mention whiskey in some way or another? NO. We're called WhiskeyPaper because I thought it sounded pretty. The word 'whiskey' sounds so much like the word 'kisses' to me and I love the word 'kisses.' We don't want people thinking we want stories about whiskey because we don't. We want stories about families and babies and love and romance and relationships and sadness and fights and life. We want stories about people fighting to stay in the light. 

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

NEXT POST: 1/28--Six Questions for editor's LK Shaw, Founder/Editor, Shabby Doll House


  1. Thank you so much! I found this Q&A incredibly inspiring. I could hear a genuine love and respect for writing and reading in every answer. I love what you said about the name Whiskey. Some words are like that, so pleasing to the ear, the mouth, the heart even.

  2. Thanks, Von. Glad you found this inspiring.