Friday, October 3, 2014

Six Questions for Annabelle Edwards, Editor, Control Lit

Control Lit publishes poetry, flash fiction (to 500 words) and short stories (to 3000 words) in any genre, as well as visual arts. “We are a quarterly publication. We publish music and literature reviews in between issues.“ Read the complete guidelines here.

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

Annabelle Edwards:

1. Strong imagery and word choice

2. An original voice

3. Something that makes me want to go back and reread. Something that I'll still be thinking about three days later.

SQF: What most often turns you off to a submission (besides the converse of the above)?

AE: There are some additional things included about this in our submission guidelines.

Nothing previously published.

Also, when it is evident from the work submitted that the writer did not read our guidelines or the magazine.

The content within Control Lit is free and if someone cannot take ten minutes to read a few stories, the chance of us accepting your work is low.

Submitting significantly more words/pages/poems/stories than allowed.

Addressing the wrong editor or magazine.

An obvious lack of editing. A few errors is not a problem, but when the grammatical errors distract the reader from the story that is being told that is when I take issue.

Not having a strong ending. There is a huge difference between wanting more and being left unsatisfied.

Formatting that is so complicated I am not able to read the story/poem in the proper order.

Having plot holes. I am all for leaving things up for interpretation, but it is not the same as vague.

Using hard to read fonts. Super small sizes, or single spaced prose.

Bios that include like ten or twenty places where their work has been previously published. Three of the most recent is good.

Things that are extremely gory/disturbing/violent without a purpose.

Using complicated vocabulary just for the sake of trying to seem smart.

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

AE: Yes, often the work of my own that ends up being published comes from my personal blog. I feel getting feedback in some way, shape, or form is important before sending something off to be submitted.

SQF: You’ll publish your third issue of Control Lit soon. What has surprised you the most about publishing an online magazine?

AE: A few things have surprised me about it.

1. The amount of work that goes into the magazine. Being naive, I planned to run everything for Control Lit myself. When submissions poured in, I realized I needed help. I am so grateful for my fabulous co-editors: Allison, Chaz, Anne, and Raven. We are also adding two more editors to our staff, Tracey and Chelsey who I am very excited to work with.

2. The process of laying out each issue is more complicated than I originally anticipated. Allison makes each issue beautiful.

3. The support that we have gotten in such a short period of time is amazing.

4. The quality of submissions has been outstanding.

5. The number of connections that I have made in the literary world and all the great people out there doing extraordinary things.

6. How many people have submitted. I appreciate the amount of time it takes to submit your work, the patience that comes with it, and the trust. Out of all the literary magazines out there, I am honored people choose Control Lit.

7. How much I have learned in a short period of time and how much fun I have had working with such talented people.

8. I never thought I'd be setting up music and book reviews in between issues. But that is just as thrilling for me as reading submissions for the issues of Control Lit. I love music and literature, so to meet other people that do too and are able to express that is wonderful.

SQF: [Cliche alert!!] If you were stranded on a deserted island, what three authors (living or dead) would you like to be there with you and why?


1. Tim O'Shei: The author of How to Survive On a Deserted Island (though I may elect to substitute him with Lana Del Rey. She could sing to me and write me songs. Then I would be perfectly content to stay on said island forever.)

2. JK Rowling

3. Maya Angelou

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

AE: How has being a magazine editor improved my own writing and my own confidence about my work?

Obviously, one of the best ways to improve as a writer is to read. I have become familiar with so many different styles and forms of writing since starting Control Lit. The different characteristics of a writer's prose or poetry are so rich. I find myself experimenting more because of that influence.

When I first started submitting to literary magazines, I took each rejection personally. I thought I sucked and that it was me. I thought I was terrible and nothing I wrote would ever be published.

Being an editor, I now realize rejections are not personal. Sometimes the piece does not fit with a magazine's aesthetic, maybe it doesn't hit the editor(s) the same way as it does someone else. There are loads of reasons. Being behind the scenes has helped me embrace all the rejection that comes with the submission process. I am more confident now and rejection no longer bothers me.

I also am better at editing my own work. I notice errors quicker and am able to identify grammatical mistakes I would have overlooked before.

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

NEXT POST: 10/10—Six Questions for Dawn Lloyd, Editor in Chief, The Colored Lens

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