Friday, January 15, 2021

Six Questions for Mark Danowsky, Founder/Editor, ONE ART: a journal of poetry

ONE ART aims to publish poetry that adds value to the life of our readers. A poem must not only be good, it must be lasting. Ask yourself what poems you return to again and again. Those are the poems we want to share with the world.” Read the complete guidelines here.


SQF: Why did you start this magazine?


Mark Danowsky: In all seriousness, it felt like I finally had enough experience for it to be appropriate to do so.


A while back, I was a reader for two journals that are now defunct. I then became involved with the Schuylkill Valley Journal (svjlit.com). Years of working with the SVJ and engaging in the literary community provided the 10,000 hours (so to speak) necessary to fine-tune my editorial toolkit. 


My hope is that ONE ART can amplify the voices I believe are urgent for others to hear.


I want to build bridges, to be a good steward of The Arts, to make artists feel empowered about their creations, to make spaces for creators to flourish.



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


MD: There’s an interview with the critic James Longenbach where he mentions how it’s a big deal when a poet finally gets to the point of sounding like themselves on the page. It’s a huge accomplishment and this cannot be overstated.


It’s essential to maintain voice and tone from start to finish. This is harder than it sounds.   


That the poem has something invaluable to share and, moreover, the poet said it right. If you look at many perennial poems you’ll see that the poet managed to articulate something or capture a moment in a way that feels like they nailed it. Every time you read that poem you feel the gut punch. A good goal is to feel this when you read your own poems, too. 



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


MD: Often, I suspect, the overall problem is the poet just hasn’t come into their own yet. They just need more practice. Read and write. Read and read and write. I want to like the work, I promise.


I’m not a fan of machismo. I don’t want to read poems about the crush you remember from high school. I’m not impressed by the use of vulgar language for inexplicable reasons; I know plenty of folks that have lived wild lives and they can talk about it without being obscene.



SQF: What do you look for in the opening stanza(s) of a submission?


 MD: Speak to me on the level. I want to feel the person behind the speaker. Don’t hide. 



SQF: Many editors list erotica, or sex for sex sake, as hard sells. What are hard sells for your publication?


MD: I’m not big on white space for the sake of white space. Use your words. There are many ways to incorporate silence. There are many ways to reveal your cadence. 



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


MD: The state of publishing.


In recent times, there are similarities in the literary world and the music industry. The emphasis on singles vs. albums is not unlike the individual poem vs. a collection. The old industry concept of waiting years for publishing seems out of touch with the pace of our society. Bearing that in mind, I aim to publish poems within 2-3 weeks of acceptance. In a world where it feels we are all living on borrowed time, I want to get the material out into the world in a timely fashion.


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


Friday, January 8, 2021

Six Questions for Devin Vandriel and Rosa Meronek, Editors, The 504 Podcast

The 504 publishes fiction, non-fiction and poetry to 5,000 words and flash fiction, flash non-fiction and poetry to 1,000 words. Read the complete guidelines here


SQF: Why did you start this literary magazine?


Devin and Rosa: We went to school together, and we thought it would be nice if there was a place where writers could submit their work and not be charged a “reading fee.” 



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


Devin and Rosa: 

  1. We want to feel something. Most submissions have no emotion in them, or evoke no emotional response in us.

  2. We want to feel invested in the characters.

  3. We want to be surprised. For most submissions, we can tell from the first paragraph how the story will end. We don’t like that. 


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


For Devin it’s an excessive use of “ly” adverbs that do nothing for the story. 


For Rosa it’s a lack of readability. It needs to have been proofread a few times. If she can’t understand the meaning on the first read, it gets set aside. 



SQF: What do you look for in the opening paragraph(s)/stanza(s) of a submission?


Devin and Rosa: We look for a subconscious question to be posed. We want the opening to pose a question and add tension while setting the tone that will carry through the work. These things are necessary for a good work of writing and mark a writer who has spent time studying their craft. 



SQF: You offer Master Classes and Services. What classes and services are currently available? 


Devin and Rosa: 

Rosa offers an editing service for manuscripts and short stories.


Devin offers a private, one-on-one class to authors seeking to strengthen their social media following. She also offers a class on the basic structure of story writing for new writers. 


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

Friday, December 18, 2020

Six Questions for M.M. MacLeod, Editor, Frost Zone Zine

Frost Zone Zine is a Canadian Quarterly Anthology Zine of Horror, Speculative, and Literary Fiction (600-3000 words), and Poetry. The editor wants spooky stories and eerie or eerily-beautiful poetry. Read the complete guidelines here.


SQF: Why did you start this magazine?


M.M. MacLeod: This magazine was started to offer a place for original horror and dark fiction to be published. The idea of starting an indie publication had been on the back burner for a long time. As a writer and artist based in Canada, I noticed there didn’t seem to be enough markets here for this type of fiction. Frost Zone Zine is a place where genre and literary styles can meet and, I think, complement each other in a collection of chilling works by new and established writers.



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


MMM:

  1. Genuine voice: the author’s voice should shine through with authenticity from the beginning.

  2. Structure, mechanics, syntax: a great story idea can disintegrate if the writer does not know how to put it together, and move it forward with smooth transitions and balance.

  3. Originality: Either a new idea or a classic idea presented in an original way. If the author writes honestly, chances are the work will show originality.


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


MMM: Writing that includes superfluous material – paragraph upon paragraph of detailed descriptions, characters that have no reason to be there, or side stories that go nowhere and are not relevant to the plot.


Also: poorly structured submissions, stories that are not at all suitable (seems apparent guidelines and 'about' page were not read), stories loaded with media tie-ins, and current affairs references.



SQF: What do you look for in the opening paragraph(s)/stanza(s) of a submission?


MMM: There are many ways to open, but whatever method the author chooses, the reader should be drawn in immediately with at least a hint that something interesting is going to happen, or has happened. Ideally, the protagonist, problem/goal, and perhaps setting should be introduced.



SQF: Many editors list erotica, or sex for sex sake, as hard sells. What are hard sells for your publication?


MMM: That example and others are included in a ‘what we don’t want’ section of the submission guidelines. But to give additional, specific examples... for fiction, I’d rather not see vignettes, or character sketches with barely any plot – something has to happen. Epistolary fiction (story told via letters or diary/journal entry) is a hard sell, too. Dialogue-heavy pieces can only work if done well. In poetry, being obscure for obscurity’s sake does not show well. Rhyming is fine, but not forced rhyming.



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


MMM: Is there anything else you would like to say to those thinking of submitting to Frost Zone Zine?


Yes, please do send along your stories. A few poets will also be published in each issue. Everyone is welcome to submit, from anywhere - as long as they know how to write, and take the time to learn what type of pieces are sought. I recommend the guidelines and linked page of additional information be read just prior to submitting. As a new and evolving publication, things are bound to change from issue to issue, and those changes will be noted in the guidelines, the additional info page, and the about page. There is a bit to read but don’t let that dissuade you. Every single submission is appreciated, even if it turns out to not be a fit for this particular publication.


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


Friday, December 11, 2020

Six Questions for Lennie Cox, Editor, Our Day’s Encounter

From the website: “Please submit your day’s encounters–art, photographs, poems, creative writings (if it’s poetry, please send three poems), thoughts, journal entries, just about anything written, but this is not a pornographic site nor is it for the violent.” Read the complete guidelines here.


SQF: Why did you start this magazine?


Lennie Cox: We thought it would be interesting to see how different people encounter their days.



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


LC: We look at everything, comment almost all of the time, but mostly we want people to follow our guidelines, be creative--not trite--and make us feel something.



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


LC: They send a piece they did not edit. It's that simple.


Also people send us their novels and novellas. We're a small press. We do not have the time.



SQF: What do you look for in the opening paragraph(s)/stanza(s) of a submission?


LC: We read the entire piece so the first paragraph or first stanza is not the most important item to us. Many times the best parts are in the middle. Many times we offer help in making the piece more publishable.



SQF: Are there certain types of submissions you’d like to see more of (i.e. prose, memoir, art, etc)?


LC: More poetry--any style and genre.


More flash fiction--under 250 words. Any kind of flash fiction is fine by us. Send it on and we'll read it.



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


LC: How do we as editors deal with rejection when we send our work off? We grin and bear. Rejection is part of the learning cycle for writers. If you cannot stand rejection, perhaps writing is not for you.


One more thing: We might also answer the question: what poets do we admire?


Two: Mary Oliver who is our all time favorite--but this does not mean you should write like her to get on our site.


Michael H. Brownstein--check him out!


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

Friday, December 4, 2020

Six Questions for Lawrence Tjernell, Managing Editor, Longship Press/Nostos

Nostos: Poetry, Fiction, and Art is a literary journal published by Longship Press, an independent, small-press publishing company located in San Rafael, California. Until recently, we have released two issues of Nostos each year, but due to growing publishing volume, we now publish one issue each year. Typically, each issue is driven by a general theme, and all poetry, short fiction, and fine art of the issue addresses in various ways the theme. The guidelines for submitting poems, short stories, or art are posted on the Longship Press website www.longshippress.com.


SQF: Why did you start this magazine?


Lawrence Tjernell: After concluding my teaching career at College of Marin, I started Longship Press in the hope of bringing local writers' poetry and fiction to a wider audience. Several of my colleagues were excellent writers, and my goal was to provide them with an opportunity for formal publication. This resulted in my launching the journal Nostos. Along the way, I was fortunate to publish not only the local writers but also some well-known poets such as B. H. Fairchild, Louise Glück, Jane Hirshfield, and Robert Hass. Now, we receive submissions from all over the world. 



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


LT:

1. Modern, sophisticated tone

2. An edge of wit

3. A contribution to the idea of the theme



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


LT:

1. sentimentality

2. vague, facile imagery

3. Latinate, polysyllabic diction

4. not checking or following the guidelines for submissions

5. not bothering to check for theme



SQF: What do you look for in the opening paragraphs/stanza(s) of a submission?


LT: Nothing specific. For short fiction, I suppose I look for efficiency.



SQF: Based on your experience as an editor, what have you learned about writing and/or writers?


LT: On average, the writers with whom I have worked have been delightful, supportive, and generous. I have had only a few who are unwilling to work through common issues. The best part of my job is to interact personally with the authors and artists. 



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


LT: What recommendation would you offer to authors considering submitting material to Longship Press?


I would recommend to those interested in submitting to Nostos that they somehow become familiar with the journal in order to decide whether their work or approach is suitable. Buying a copy, or finding one to peruse in a bookstore, or merely checking out the website can make a difference.


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