Friday, August 29, 2014

Six Questions for Sherri Ellerman, Flash Fiction Editor, Liquid Imagination

Liquid Imagination publishes fantasy, horror, and science fiction stories (to 5000 words, 3000 preferred) and poetry, articles on writing, literary fiction, and flash fiction from 200-999 words in any genre. One aspect of Liquid Imagination that distinguishes it from other publications is its use of imagery, music, and voice to enhance the written work that appears on the site. 

(Ceased publication)

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

Sherri Ellerman: 

Depth: I often over-think things, and I seek a deeper meaning in most everything. Both of these are factors in the choices I make with submissions. I tend to look for meaning behind a story or at least a revelation within it.

The author’s trust in the reader: I would rather miss something in a story than have every little detail spelled out. One of my favorite authors, Ann Marie McDonald, demonstrates perfectly how to trust the reader. She is able to show so much without coming right out and saying it. This can sometimes lead to unanswered questions, but that is often a trademark of flash fiction anyway.

Clarity of the characters: A writer of flash fiction has so few words in which to develop his characters. His ability to do so efficiently is something I look for in submissions.
SQF: What most often turns you off to a submission?

SE: Besides a lack of the above mentioned, it would be an obvious disregard for proper grammar and usage. I am strict on myself concerning this when I write, so those mistakes bother me. Because of that, they are a distraction from the story. I will accept a piece that I have to edit and work with the author on, but it has to be really good in every other way that matters.
SQF: Will you publish a submission an author posted on a personal blog? 

SE: We prefer pieces of writing that aren’t already available to readers on the internet. How can we surprise our readers with fresh ideas if we are publishing something that they may have already seen?

SQF: Your guidelines state stories that "surprise us with fresh ideas and language” have the best chance of being accepted. Is there a particular story (or stories) that stand out as examples of this? Why?

SE: Going Under by J.J. Roth

This story drew me in with all of its subtle metaphors and symbolism. It could technically work even if the reader misses both, so it took a lot of trust from the author to let the readers see what he intended for them to see. He kept the language simple yet was able to show so much with the details he chose to include in his descriptions
SQF: What magazines do you read?

SE: To be honest, I can’t recall the last time I bought a magazine. If I have a lot of time to read, I will pick up a book. For a small window of time, I will go to the internet—to online magazines. I know that sites put together well, like Liquid Imagination and Fabula Argentea, will always have something to offer.
SQF: What one question on this topic do you wish I'd asked that I didn't? And how would you answer it?

SE: When I submit a piece for possible publication, I often wonder about the editor who will ultimately decide to decline it or consider it. If I could ask just one question of an editor who will be reading one of my flash submissions, it would be this:

How did you become interested in flash fiction?”

His answer will give me a strong indication of what he is looking for in submissions.

My Answer: Because I have a limited amount of time to write, I was getting bogged down in finishing my longer projects. Flash gave me an opportunity to write shorter pieces that contained complete story arcs but took less time to complete. I found the same satisfaction in reading flash fiction.

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

NEXT POST: 9/5—Six Questions for Dash, Editor, Expanded Horizons


  1. How many pieces of flash will you accept in 1 submission?

  2. According to the guidelines, one at a time.

  3. Hi Jim since it did not stipulate a number [that I could find?] I sent 3 at around 200 words each. I assume you will disregard all but one?

    1. I'm the SQF moderator, not the editor, so I don't know how they handle this situation. Under fiction, it says to send one. You're correct that under flash fiction it doesn't indicate number. I'd wait and see what happens.

    2. Hi Deborah,
      I will read all three of your submissions. I will ask, however, that next time you send them each as a separate submission. Thank you for submitting to LI. I look forward to reading your work.


  4. Sherri thanks so much, so would it be alright to send 3 eices of flash IF each was sent separate. I still feel I need to clarify this.

  5. Yes, I encourage you to send them :).