Friday, December 22, 2017

Six Questions for Jason Bougger, Editor, Theme of Absence

Theme of Absence publishes speculative flash fiction to 1000 words and an occasional longer piece. Read the complete guidelines here.

SQF: Why did you start this magazine?

Jason Bougger: I had been blogging on my other site for a while and thought it might be fun to start doing contests or occasionally posting other writers' stories. One thought led to another, and I decided it would be better to make that a separate project. I had owned the domain Theme of Absence since 1997 and was planning to let it go, but then decided to keep it and make it the home for the new ezine project.

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

JB: If an author follows the guidelines to the letter, that is always a huge plus. I also like stories that get right to the point and don't waste a lot of time showing the "daily routine" of the main characters. Finally, the best submissions I receive are the ones that have an ending that makes me say "Oh, cool!”

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

JB: The biggest turn-off is a second-person narrative. That style just doesn't work for me at all. I also reject stories without reading if they are either previously published or fall outside of the word count limitations.

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

JB: Bards and Sages Quarterly, The Story Shack, and Electric Spec all provide quality short stories and flash fiction.

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

JB: Erotica isn't exactly my thing, but I'd consider it if it's well-written. I very rarely accept second-person narratives or slice-of-life pieces, and I generally won't consider stories that show sexual abuse of any kind.

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

JB: What makes your ezine different?

Quite a few features separate Theme of Absence from similar sites. I believe we've got a great, unique look, adding illustrations (sometimes original art) to each story. We also offer every author the opportunity to do an interview with the site, and also hold a semi-pro paying annual Halloween contest.

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

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