The Fredericksburg Literary and Art Review publishes poetry, flash fiction (250-500 words), short fiction to 1500 words, and essays and creative non-fiction to 1000 words. Read the complete guidelines here.
SQF: How did FLAR come to be?
AE Bayne: Fredericksburg Literary Review was the brainchild of Susan Carter Morgan and Elizabeth Seaver of Water Street Writing and Art Studio, as well as YA author Steve Watkins (Down Sand Mountain, What Comes After, Juvie, and Great Falls - all from Candlewick Press). Susan took the lead on the project, and the first volume was bound and printed as a made-to-order book in fall of 2013. She also posted the entries online. After the first volume came out, Susan decided to publish FLR exclusively online as a blog that accepted rolling submissions. This continued through summer of 2014.
I was a published writer in the earlier editions of the review, as well as a features writer for a number of regional magazines. In early spring of 2015 I approached Susan about possibly taking the lead on the publication and going in a different direction. She was excited to hear my ideas for the review - a flip-magazine format, the addition of art submissions, panels of judges with writing and art experience, the addition of feature articles written from interviews I would conduct with regional writers and artists, and the opportunity to publish on-demand from our online hosting site. Susan and I collaborated on the changes during fall 2015 with Susan acting as a consultant, while I acted as editor in chief. After the fall 2015 edition, now dubbed Fredericksburg Literary and Art Review (FLAR), Susan decided she wanted more time to work on her letter press business through Water Street and I felt comfortable taking lead.
The first mission of FLAR has always been to provide a space for writers in the Fredericksburg region to share their poems, creative nonfiction, and short fiction. With the addition of visual arts, FLAR now offers a platform for our regional artists to share their work with the world, as well. Also part of our mission is to connect writers and artists from around Virginia to people in our region, and with our outreach through submission sites like New Pages, Review Review, and Duotrope, we are also extending our collaboration to writers and artists around the world. These are dynamic times for our magazine, and every new contact we make allows us to share the wealth of creative talent in Fredericksburg and beyond.
SQF: What are the top three things you look for in a submission and why?
AEB: You would think that working with a panel of literary judges would make specifics difficult to pin down, but in many cases we agree on the quality of the work that is chosen. Since we don't use guiding themes to choose work, we look for a strong clear voice with a keen eye toward the intended audience. We look for word craft and fluidity of language. We also look for universal themes that would resonate with many readers.
SQF: What most often turns you off to a submission?
AEB: We tend to vote "no" unanimously when pieces are overly internalized, self-indulgent, cliché, or sentimental. While typos don't necessarily negate a piece right off the bat, if the piece is weak and has typos one wonders if much attention to detail was paid by the writer.
SQF: Do you provide comments when you reject a submission?
AEB: No, we don't provide comments due to the small staff and large volume of submissions; however, we do let people know if their submissions were accepted as soon as we have all voted, and I will send emails out after the deadline for those pieces we did not accept to let the writers know they are released for further publication.
SQF: If FLAR had a theme song, what would it be and why?
AEB: "Sun Models" by Odesza
This song always puts a smile on my face and FLAR does the same. Both are hopeful, joyful, and full of artistry. It is my sincere pleasure to promote writers and artists creating moving and important work. The process is inspiring, as is the song.
SQF: What one question on this topic do you wish I'd asked that I didn't? And how would you answer it?
AEB: I think a good question might be: How is your publication relevant in today's over-saturated online publication market?
My answer would be that through it's outreach and mission of connecting Fredericksburg, Virginia to the world, and vice versa, FLAR becomes relevant because it serves to promote creativity, craft and artistry across geographical divides. Not only do we seek to share our regional voices, but we also hope to spread the voices of others living in other climes with other life experiences infusing their work. We are both village and global community at once.
Thank you, Amy. We all appreciate you taking time from your busy schedule to participate in this project.