Friday, February 26, 2016

Six Questions for Trivarna Hariharan and Devanshi Khetarpal, Co-Editors-in-Chief, Inklette

Inklette is a not-for-profit, online literary magazine managed by high school and college students that publishes flash fiction to 250 words, novel excerpts to 2500 words, short stories to 1250 words and all types of poetry to 500 words. Read the complete guidelines here.

SQF: Why did you start this magazine?

Devanshi Khetarpal: Inklette was initially a small newsletter with (very) limited circulation. In the beginning, I had no goal of elevating it. It was when I started to interact more with young artists and writers of my age, that I developed a vision and realized the potential Inklette had. It was also on the insistence of Trivarna Hariharan, the most valuable friend I have, that I finally made the decision to expand it with her. We started Inklette with the sole aim that this magazine would be all about honesty. Both of us have realised the importance of being honest to oneself and to one's art. Through our friendship and our involvement in literary and artistic circles, consisting of people from all over the world, we have observed how crucial collaboration is to artistic creation. Inklette was an attempt to create a unique magazine that provides an experience.

Trivarna Hariharan: I absolutely agree. Inklette is not one of those magazines with lofty aspirations, like we say in our bio. What we genuinely wish to do is build a community of writers and artists from all over the world, and form an unbreakable bond with them. Our aim is to be as authentic to ourselves and to our art as possible. Embarking on this journey with Devanshi has been extremely enriching, and we hope we can reach out to as many artists out there as we can.

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

DK: Several young writers want to have their own 'voice.' But it is something rather organic than cultivable. Firstly, we look for submissions that refresh us. We like pieces that wake us up and make us see absentee forces, or those that push form and refuse to conform. This is, of course, only the structural aspect and refers to the 'craft' in a piece of art. Secondly, we look for experience. One of my creative writing teachers once said, "If a work makes you laugh, cry or think, it's good. But it's even better if it makes you do all three." We do look for passion, drive and emotion in a submission. Without them, any poem or form of prose can easily go astray. The 'experience' of reading is equivalent to sensing proximity when seeing a flame in soft focus in the distance. (Does that even make sense? I had one too many Americanos this morning) Well, above all, if a work is able to appeal to the intuitions of readers having different, or sometimes opposite tastes, it's probably doing the right thing. Personally, I like any work of art that appeals to my intuition, or makes me see how I, along with forces in and around me as well as the very work itself, integrate into a surprising singularity.

TH: Authenticity is a must. Honesty and genuineness are prerequisites, and we definitely look for them in the pieces we receive. Originality is equally significant. Work that completely mirrors a certain set pattern or style is not what we’re looking for. Writing is an extremely subjective process and should reflect one’s thoughts, ideas and emotions. An individual “voice”, or even if not that, art that tells us who you are as a person is important to us. Also, we love pieces that evoke emotions, make us feel something and help us see the world in a different light. We love uninhibited work, work that stems from absolute conviction. Work that pushes the boundaries of our minds, yet, make us feel home. It’s imperative as an artist to acknowledge an individual journey, and seek strength from it. Therefore, we greatly value pieces that question perspectives we’ve lived with for all our life and don’t ape an already laid out path. We like work that carves world of it's own.

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

DK: This is quite simple: irrelevant and improperly constructed cover letters, plagiarized work, submissions that don't follow guidelines and clearly suggest that the writer doesn't know the kind of work we seek.

TH: Pretentious writing. Writing that leads us nowhere. Constricted pieces; pieces that are afraid of saying what they actually want to say. In other words, dishonest, inhibited writing. Also, fragmented ideas pieced together, or writing that feels disconnected from its idea or theme. And work that evokes no emotion.

SQF: Inklette is student run. Are submissions limited to students?

DK and TH: No, submissions are not limited to students. Anyone, from a five-year old to a five-hundred-year-old (looking forward to that, by the way!), can submit.

SQF: If Inklette had a theme song, what would it be and why?

DK: I am not sure what all the staff members would say. It is an interesting question, and I will ask them. Jasvina Sodhi and Smriti Verma suggested Hall of Fame and Don't Stop Believing by Journey respectively. We completely concede. For me, I think it would be 'Applause' by Lady Gaga because, well, Inklette deserves it. Period. However, on a more serious note, that song has always surprised me. Every frame of that video itself is so artistic. It's definitely 'Applause', for the love of Lady Gaga and Inklette.

TH: Every happy, cheery, optimistic song there is. Also, all of Yiruma's compositions. They're so soothing. They remind me of Inklette. Inklette too, feels extremely liberating.

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

DK: This is tough. I was wondering why you didn't ask about what Inklette means and has done for us as editors. To be honest, Inklette is one of the best things to have happened to me. It re-instills my belief in art everyday. Each day, I grow as a person and writer, and Inklette has a lot to do with it. It has exposed me to myself. What really makes me happy though is that Inklette is forming its own community and relationships. It is hard to articulate it, but it is a release into a newer body and a greater world altogether.

TH: “What do you expect from Inklette?”

I don’t know, to be honest. It’s clichéd to say that expectations lead to disappointments; but then again, clichés exist for a reason. We don’t have too many expectations, or huge aspirations. We just want to make all artists and readers out there as happy as possible.

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

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