Dialogual is the sole magazine that publishes dialogue-only stories, and it publishes quality. Read the complete guidelines here.
SQF: Why did you start this magazine?
Adrian George Nicolae: I was going through a phase where I was writing short scripts and I decided to write short stories out of dialogue. Upon searching around, I found that there was no magazine that published this (although there is one that has a yearly contest), and I took it upon myself to make things happen. Prior to this, I had a dialogue-only flash fiction piece accepted which spurred me on.
Now, I sometimes write dialogue-only pieces, but I still don't have anywhere to send them. At least others can send them somewhere :)
SQF: What are the top three things you look for in a submission and why?
AGN: I want a story that's not riddled with the same old clichés that you see everywhere.
I want correct grammar and punctuation because when I keep seeing "you're" instead of "your" I just want to stop looking at that story.
I want something that's not boring. If the dialogue is boring and doesn't say absolutely anything, then you've lost me. Oh, and it has to sound real.
SQF: Writing dialogue-only stories is not easy. What mistakes do authors make in the stories they submit?
AGN: Not knowing the grammar and punctuation. Now, I've had submissions from foreign people (as in their native tongue isn't English) and they still wrote it better than some that have English as their main (or only) language. I find it hard to understand why this is happening, especially when you're a writer and you want your message out there.
There are a few who still send in stories with "he said, she asked" even though I wrote in the guidelines that I don't accept that.
Another thing, and this might seem like a bit of nitpick, but all the stories I published are with " ", yet people send me stories with - as the dialogue line, which isn't how it's supposed to be. I know, in other countries or cultures, that's how it is in books, but in English it's only with " " or with nothing at all (very rarely, but still).
Writing dialogue-only isn't that hard once you grasp the limitations and let your mind loose.
SQF: Do you provide comments when you reject a submission?
AGN: Sometimes. Depends on if I have something to tell them.
SQF: If you could have dinner with three authors (dead or alive), who would they be and why?
AGN: This is a tough one. One would be Roland Topor and I'd ask him about his absurdist stories and how he decided to publish them (because wacky in those days was different than now).
Another one would be Theodore Geisel and ask him how come he decided to draw his own things instead of letting an illustrator do it.
The third would probably be Ed McBain (and not Evan Hunter) simply because of his great dialogue and how he decided to do that instead of just being Evan Hunter (who wrote different things).
SQF: What one question on this topic do you wish I'd asked that I didn't? And how would you answer it?
AGN: I don't think there is one.
Thank you, Adrian. We all appreciate you taking time from your busy schedule to participate in this project.