Beyond Imagination is a digital literary magazine dedicated to all forms of fiction, be it short stories, short-shorts, or poetry. The magazine also features book reviews, interviews with authors and advice articles related to publishing or writing fiction. Read the complete guidelines here.
SQF: Why did you start this magazine?
Beyond Imagination: We started Beyond Imagination because we want to help authors. I (Dayne) published my first fantasy novel, Blood and Shadows, in August 2013 and knew first-hand how difficult it could be to promote a book on the Internet. So, one day we got the idea for a magazine that didn't just feature one particular genre of fiction, such as science fiction/fantasy, but promoted All forms of fiction. We believe that all forms of fiction have merit and that there is a story for everyone. Beyond Imagination seeks to bring the work of talented authors to readers in the form of prose (short stories, short-shorts), poems, book reviews and author interviews. It's basically free promotion, as we don't charge anything to submit - we're doing this to give authors another avenue of promotion.
SQF: What are the top three things you look for in a submission and why?
- We look for a story that makes us feel something. Whether that is horror or laughter or suspense, it has to be engaging. An engaging story will have a better chance of connecting with readers, which in turn causes them to connect with the author on social media, by reading their blog or buying their other published works.
- We look for interesting characters. We want the story to make us actually care about the characters and whether they live or die or have a happy ending, etc. One story in particular, which will be in the first issue of our magazine, is a horror story, but the way the author built the character really hooked us. We immediately asked the author if they had other stories featuring that character or other characters set in that world to possibly do a serialization with.
- We look for interesting concepts. An interesting concept could be a different take on Cinderella. For example, what if she were evil, and everything she did in the traditional fairytale we all know was really with ill intentions? That story will be in our first issue. Other unique stories that don't just rehash the same tropes of their genre are what we seek.
SQF: What most often turns you off to a submission?
BI: Honestly, a lot of grammatical errors and plot holes or incomplete endings will turn us off pretty quick. We don't expect people to have their stories completely edited, but at the same time, we only proofread the stories before publication, to make sure everything is spelled correctly and grammatically sound. We don't have the time to "fix" a story with lengthy edits, so if it doesn't read clearly, it's a big turn off.
A boring story will cause us to toss it around among the team to get some differing perspectives. What might be boring to one member might be interesting to another. Or another member of the team may have a different perspective on a story. That has happened a few times in going through the initial round of submissions in late 2013.
SQF: Do you provide comments when you reject a submission?
BI: We generally say it's just not a good fit for us and provide a brief summation of what in general we didn't like. We don't want to bash authors in any way, so we might say something like "too many grammatical errors, plot holes" or "needs a better hook" or "didn't interest us." Just because a story doesn't fit for us doesn't mean it may not fit in another publication, so we aim for our comments to help them improve the story so that it may be accepted somewhere eventually.
SQF: Based on your experience as an editor, what have you learned about writing?
BI: We've learned that stories come in all shapes and sizes. We've also learned that there are such a huge variety of topics that go outside of the genre norms that authors can explore. Going through the submissions, we've learned a lot about our own writing, ways to improve it, ways of looking at the world differently, which is reflected in our writing.
SQF: What one question on this topic do you wish I'd asked that I didn't? And how would you answer it?
BI: One question that wasn't asked and I wish had been was "How did you choose the name of your magazine?" We chose the name of our magazine because when an idea is created by an author it exists solely in their imagination. That setting, those characters, that story exists only in their mind. But when an author takes that leap beyond the boundaries of their mind, essentially going beyond their imagination, and writes that story down, they are sharing something special with the world. No two stories are exactly the same, because each has a unique imagination fueling it.
Thank you, Dayne and Larry. We all appreciate you taking time from your busy schedule to participate in this project.
NEXT POST: 4/18--Six Questions for Erin Maggard McClelland and Chris McClelland, Editors, The Provo Canyon Review