WILDNESS is an online literary journal that seeks to promote contemporary fiction (to 2,500 words), poetry (to 80 lines) and non-fiction that evokes the unknown. Founded in 2015, each thoughtfully compiled issue strives to unearth the works of both established and up-and-coming writers. Read the complete guidelines here.
SQF: Why did you start this magazine?
Michelle Tudor: To put it simply, we wanted to create an environment that was open to anyone who wanted to be a part of it.
We are turning 1 this year (in December), and at first we were only publishing books through our indie press, Platypus Press. It was only after a few months of doing that that we decided that we’d really enjoy the day-to-day creation of a journal and the experience of finding and sharing work more instantly.
SQF: What are the top three things you look for in a submission and why?
MT: Beauty of language is very important—the way a sentence flows upon the page.
Also, the way a piece makes me feel is crucial. If it leaves me feeling nothing, then I can’t choose it. So, a piece that might mean everything to the author might leave me cold, and I think that’s okay, because there will be another editor or another journal who it will resonate with.
The third thing is less to do with the work and more the actual submission. We want people who read the guidelines as it shows they’ve visited the site and made an effort to engage with what we’re about.
SQF: What most often turns you off to a submission?
MT: Thematically anything with excessive violence or erotica. Also, it should go without saying, but anything racist, sexist, homophobic or ableist will automatically be rejected.
Again, related to the submission, things that turn us off: work that is pasted directly into the email, fonts that are hard to read, a submission with no introduction or bio and ultimately, submissions where it’s clear they haven’t even looked at the guidelines.
SQF: Do you provide comments when you reject a submission?
MT: Unfortunately, due to the amount of submissions (a common response I’m sure), real life work and running our press, we just don’t have the time to provide comments for people we’ve rejected.
SQF: I often read or hear authors say, “Gee, I wish I’d written that.” What stories or poems have evoked this thought from you?
MT: From our issues, I absolutely love the writing of Gen Del Raye and one of his pieces that was published in Wyvern Lit, That California Light, is beautifully written and I always admire authors that can really bring words off the page.
From the wider literary world, I love Joan Didion’s words.
SQF: What one question on this topic do you wish I'd asked that I didn't? And how would you answer it?
MT: What’s next for WILDNESS?
A: Next year we are beginning a daily section called the Wilds in which five contributing editors will share pieces of work they have found and think are important. We are also hoping to do a print anthology at the end of our second year.
Thank you, Michelle. We all appreciate you taking time from your busy schedule to participate in this project.