Friday, March 17, 2017

Six Questions for David Jensen, Senior Editor, Chantwood Magazine

Chantwood Magazine publishes fiction from 100 to 7,500 words, poetry of 1 to 2 pages, and Artwork. Read the complete guidelines here.

SQF: Why did you start this magazine?

David Jensen: Chantwood Magazine was founded for two reasons. As undergraduate students, submitting to literary magazines always felt intimidating because it seemed like everything within them was written by MFA-holding writers with healthy resumes. It almost seemed like you couldn’t get published unless you already had several published works to your name.

Because of this, we wanted Chantwood to be a magazine that anyone could be published in. We take every submission blind; a submission doesn’t receive any special treatment. Each piece has to speak for itself. We’ve published authors with numerous credits to their name, and we’ve published authors who haven’t been published before.

As for the second reason, we think that the world could always use more creative writing. If we can inspire people to write or help authors share their work, then we must be doing something right.


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

DJ: For me, the biggest thing I need from a submission is some sort of emotional connection. And by that, I don’t mean beautiful, flowing language – that can add to a piece if it’s done well, but it doesn’t make the piece. Whether it’s through comedy, passion, or pain, I want a piece that makes me care about the story and the people involved.

Another thing that I look for is whether or not the authors have done their homework, meaning they checked their grammar and read our submissions guidelines. It’s pretty obvious when someone doesn’t bother to do it, and it’s majorly off-putting.

Third and finally, I look to be entertained. Simple enough, yes, but it really does matter. A story could be emotional as any, but if it’s a boring read, then it’s unlikely to make the cut. If a story can hook me and make me feel like it was worth the read, then it’s one I’ll recommend publishing.


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

DJ: Poor grammar is the bane of my existence. I understand having the occasional error, especially in a longer fiction piece. However, if I can’t get through the first page without finding a dozen run-on sentences and misspelled words in an age where AutoCorrect exists, I won’t want to read the rest of it. If the author doesn’t care enough about their work to make sure it’s spelled right, then why should I care?


SQF: Do you provide comments when you reject a submission?

DJ: It’s rare for us to provide comments on specific pieces, but it does happen on occasion, usually if the submitter specifically asks for a response of some sort. We don’t take these requests into account until after we’ve read their work in order to maintain blind submissions as best as possible.


SQF: What advice would you offer to a new writer hoping to be published in Chantwood Magazine?

DJ: First, I would say to not just submit to us; submit to as many places as you can find. You never know who will love or hate your work. Second, read the submission guidelines!!! I cannot stress enough how important this is. Make sure that our magazine is a good fit for your writing. Finally, don’t be discouraged if you don’t get in. Being a writer myself as well as an editor, I know how frustrating it is to get rejected. Keep submitting and putting your work out into the world; you will eventually find your voice, and no one can silence you.


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

DJ: Well, you may have wondered about the origin of our magazine’s name. It’s based off a line from Beowulf which mentions a chant-wood being used. This is what’s called a “kenning,” which is a compound phrase with a metaphorical meaning—the chant-wood is a harp, a simple piece of wood used to produce a beautiful sound.

Having this as our magazine’s name has a dual meaning. Not only do we hope to publish beautiful stories in the simple form of words on paper, but we also hope that those stories push our readers to look for the deeper meanings. After all, in this world, nothing is ever as it seems…

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


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