Friday, October 20, 2017

Six Questions for Christopher Moriarty and Keri Moriarty, Co-founders/Editors, Bunbury Magazine

Bunbury Magazine publishes flash fiction to 250 words, short stories to 1,000 words, poems to 40 lines, articles to 1,500 words, reviews to 500 words, and artwork/photography. Read the complete guidelines here.


SQF: Why did you start this magazine?

Christopher: We started this magazine as a way to showcase grass roots creativity and give meaningful feedback to writers. As writers ourselves, submitting to magazines for publication, we felt that the feedback we were offered about our writing was either not constructive - a lot of 'yes, we love it's or 'this piece is not quite for us's with no further explanations - or it was non-existent completely. The feedback is a crucial

Keri: What he said basically. We, as writers, were fed up to the back teeth of either one word responses from publishers or of being told that our work was very publishable but not quite what they were looking for. Like many things, for me it was born of frustration and passion.


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

Keri: Number one for me is the hook. If I'm not grabbed in the first three sentences, I find it difficult to invest in the rest of the piece.

Use of language, how the narrative is woven throughout the piece and if the storytelling is consistently strong with good pacing. All of those come under one banner for me because you can't really have one without either of the other two.

The third is, probably predictably, a good ending.

Christopher: I agree with everything Keri has just said completely, naturally! I like to see something different in a piece - a poem that subverts a concrete form of poetry, a short story that turns tropes of narrative on their heads.

I also like good characters in a piece. It is the people both behind and on the page that will carry a piece and help the reader invest. If the characters are not strong, the piece can fall apart completely.

I also like to see writers that can stick to the briefs outlined in our submissions guidelines. With all the work we do with writers, we are always trying to help them develop their work and how they go about it. If they can stick to briefs - word counts, piece counts - they will stand a better chance when it comes to competitions and trying to turn their passion into a profession.


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

Keri: Not following the guidelines which are accessible on the website (www.bunburymagazine.com) under the 'Submit to Us' page. It may sound harsh but they're there for a reason and it's a big thing for me if they aren't followed. Poor spelling and grammar is up there for me too. I'm dyslexic myself so I know the challenges written language has to offer but if I'm at the stage where I think a piece of mine is ready to go out into the world, I ask people to proofread (I know rather a few pedants, always handy!) because I know that I'll probably have mucked it up somewhere along the line. It's a difficult one but important.

One more thing that turns me off a submission is rude cover emails. This really is more of a pet peeve but writing is such a personal thing, so to get such impersonal emails with just the work attached or the words 'Consider this/these pieces', really isn't the way forward. I'm not saying I want a groveling email filled with platitudes or a bio as long as my arm but please and thanks are always welcome.

Christopher: To reiterate what Keri has just said, grammar and spelling are key in a successful submission. At the end of the day, we can edit a piece but we will not proofread. Sending a piece that is full of errors in spelling and grammar shows a lack of editing and the piece being unprepared for submissions.


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

Keri: We don't on out and out rejections, for instance, those not within guidelines but we do with pieces we do decide against. This way, the people who submit to us get constructive criticism and are able to improve their work.

Christopher: We do, yes. We want to help develop writers and what they do. We give feedback on everything we consider for each issue. That way, writers who have pieces accepted know what they are doing right and can continue to do so and writers who have pieces accepted know their own areas for development and can target their efforts to improve.


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

Keri: I tend to read a lot of books and poetry collections of various sizes from poets and authors as we also attend a lot of book launches and spoken word events as well as running our own and a writing group.

Christopher: I read a lot of graphic novels and comics. At the moment I am ploughing through both the Marvel stuff and The Walking Dead. In terms of lit mags, I prefer to read a cross-section of many different zines such as Blink Ink and The Misty Review.


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

Keri: I wish you'd asked how we came to name the magazine 'Bunbury'.

My answer would be that it is a reference to Oscar Wilde's work. It stands for escapism of all kinds.

Christopher: I wish you'd have asked why we do not just focus on one form of writing, such as poetry, and feature a wide variety of content.

My answer would be that we try and have something for everyone. We know that some people like poetry, some prefer short stories, some like looking at art and photography. There are a few out there who like it all! We try to cater for everyone and bring as many people into the Bunbury family as possible.

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

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