Friday, August 18, 2017

Six Questions for Mark Westmoreland, producer/editor, Story and Grit

"Story and Grit is a home for writers of Rough South fiction, crime lit, and horror. It’s a magazine that enjoys stories with a southern twist. Whether it’s short fiction that is about hillbillies stealing the copper from A/C units, crime on the streets of Atlanta or horrifies readers with scary tales from the Louisiana bayou – Story and Grit wants to read it all.” Stories should be between 700 and 4,000 words. Read the complete guidelines here.

SQF: Why did you start this magazine?

Mark Westmoreland: I started Story and Grit because I'd been submitting my short fiction to online magazines for at least two years, and didn't know of any that focused solely on Southern fiction. That was a hole in the market and someone needed to fill it.

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

MW: Story, story, story. Maybe that's a cliche answer but the story is more important than anything else. It's why people read. They want to be told an entertaining story that allows them to escape their daily lives. I can't think of a single person that's reading for the beautiful prose or the metaphors. Maybe a college professor is but no one cares what he's reading.

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

MW: Writing that reads like writing. It's usually stiff and boring and I quit reading a paragraph or two in. Every writer needs to remember Elmore Leonard's best piece of advice, "If it sounds like writing, I rewrite it."

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

MW: I include comments whenever I accept a story and whenever I reject a story. If I like a story I want the writer to know what I liked, and if I reject a story I want the writer to know what I enjoyed, and I want them to know why I rejected their story.

SQF: What magazines/zines do you read on a “regular” basis?

MW: Shotgun Honey, Out of the Gutter, Spelk, Horror Sleaze Trash, and Near to the Knuckle.

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

MW: I would say the best question to ask me would be: What's the surefire way to get your story published on Story and Grit?

I would answer: Buy me some boiled peanuts.

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

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