Friday, July 5, 2013

Six Questions for Sofia, Editor, Cecile's Writers Magazine

Cecile’s Writers’ Foundation is a nonprofit organisation We are about to launch a free digital magazine where intercultural authors can publish their work. The editors accept flash fiction to 1000 words, short stories to 15000 words, novel excerpts to 6000 words and personal essays/memoirs to 6000 words. Read the complete guidelines here.

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

Sofia: The top three things I look for in a submission are:

If the author has any affinity with interculturalism, and I mean any, however small the author might think they are intercultural; but there needs to be a clear explanation of why they are intercultural. 

The next two reasons sound a bit clichéd, but I look for writing that has both a smooth flow and a good story.

SQF: What are the top three reasons a submission is rejected, other than not fitting into your answers to the above question and why?

  1. The authors have not read the submission guidelines and/or submit without conforming to them.
  2. A weak story: such as gaps in the plot, wrong facts, superficial characters and so on. 
  3. The last one is when the spelling and the grammar make for an annoying read. I understand that writers might have a small amount of typos, or grammatical issues; but having spelling, punctuation and/or grammatical mistakes, which make a story hard to read, will result in the story being rejected. It’s a shame, not because the stories are bad, but because I have a lot of stories to read, and if I can't read them, we will reject them.

SQF: Which of the following statements is true and why? Plot is more important than character. Character is more important than plot. Plot and character are equally important. 

Sofia: Plot and character are equally important, but so is good writing.

SQF: What advice can you offer new authors hoping to publish their first submission?

Sofia: Check the guidelines and adhere to them; edit your work to the best of your abilities; and then cross your fingers, if it’s good, it’ll probably be accepted.

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

Sofia: How to spell correctly. I know I keep on going on and on about spelling, but I used to be a terrible speller. I personally have to work very hard at my spelling; it’s part of being polite to the editors (and readers) to at least make an effort to be easily comprehensible. 

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

Sofia: Personally, I would really have liked a question like: Has your reading style changed since becoming an editor? To which my answer is: Yes and no. Yes, because since I learned to edit, I’m able to spot mistakes easier, and I’m able to know exactly why I like or don't like a piece of writing. No because I can turn the editor switch off, so I can easily enjoy a book without mentally editing it.

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

Six Questions for Josh Hess, Publisher, Decades Review

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