Friday, September 15, 2017

Six Questions for Mark Antony Rossi, Editor-in-Chief, Ariel Chart

Ariel Chart publishes poetry to 40 lines and microfiction to 1,500 words. Read the complete guidelines here.

SQF: Why did you start this magazine?

Mark Anthony Rossi: I have been an associate editor for many publications for the past few years. And I didn’t appreciate what I saw or experienced. Too many good writers rejected because head editors were committed to piling their friends into the publication. I don’t want to be a part of that. It was more politics than literature. Plus, I should be able to respond to submissions on why rejected. And that was never allowed at any publication I helped to helm.

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

MAR: I want to hear the voice of the writer, even if the material is not completely original. That can be forgiven. But if your voice is muffled in vocabulary or flowery speeches --- I am done with the piece. I expect the piece to be readable regarding spelling and basic grammar. It’s heartbreaking to read something inventive but reject it due to bad grammar or spelling. The work must say something. Have a point of view. Writing is not a collection of words that sound cool. It’s the byproduct of emotion and thought and downright work to rewrite it into shape. Say something or don’t write at all.

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

MAR: Sloppiness or laziness regarding content. If I read another disease of the week story from the suburbs, I just might scream through the computer. While I have no geographical prejudice, I often wonder if some of the more technically sound writers have lived much of life. I read pieces from people who obviously have done little in their lives but score high on the SAT. This achievement may impress the public, but it does nothing to satisfy the whims and wants of Art. Give me something beyond your Grandmother’s illness, and I can build on helping that writer become a fantastic writer.

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

MAR: Perhaps the second or third reason why I needed to start up on my online literary journal. We always provide comments. Always. With aim to honestly help the person become a better writer.

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

MAR: Poets & Writers, Gravel & Iconoclast.

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

MAR: How has the journal experience been thus far?

Phenomenal. We are reaching 16 countries with nearly a hundred writers and two thousand readers submitting, commenting and enjoying the publication. Can’t be any more pleased.

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


  1. I enjoyed this interesting and insightful interview.

  2. This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.

  3. Thank you for sharing this interview. It is very helpful.

  4. It was after I read this interview that I had a sense of what the editor wanted. Mark, thank you for the insightful interview responses.

  5. Thank you for publishing this! It gave me hope in submitting my poems.

  6. Thanks for the honesty. My work falls into all of the categories of reasons why you would reject a story, so you've saved me a lot of time.