Friday, June 22, 2018

Six Questions for Cathy Evans, Editor, pennyshorts

pennyshorts publishes fiction of 1,000 to 10,000 words in all genre (except children’s lit). Read the complete guidelines here.

SQF: Why did you start this magazine?

Cathy Evans: pennyshorts is a website (rather than a magazine) which makes shorts stories of all genres available for free download. I started it because I've been part of three different writing groups over the past 15 years, listening to amazingly fresh and original short stories which more often than not ended up mouldering away in hard drives, with no natural home. pennyshorts is an easy and accessible way to connect short story writers with readers.

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

CE: I want a fresh, original voice and competent writing. I want to feature writers who will show me all that's required for me to inhabit their story and no more. Knowing what to withhold is key: I love writing that allows me to do the heavy lifting myself, thank you very much.

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

CE: Gratuitous sex, violence and miseryporn. So the kid dies in your story? Make me care.

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

CE: Competence! I can tell within the first paragraph if I'm in a safe pair of hands.

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

CE: These kind of submissions are usually very poorly written and, well... boring. If I received something that was well-written and not gratuitous, I'd publish it.

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

CE: What's the worst submission you ever received?

A story about a depressed abattoir worker who vents his frustration on his dog. He sexually abuses the poor creature and then beats it to death. 'Nuff said.

If you have any other questions, I'd love to hear from you.

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

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