Friday, July 5, 2019

Six Questions for Samantha Daniels and Eric Orosco, Co-Directors, Levee Magazine

Levee Magazine publishes prose up to 8,000 words (including flash fiction and flash nonfiction) and poetry. Their submission page provides lists of works they enjoy and works they skim. “Overall, we won’t know what we’ll love or hate until we see it.” Read the complete guidelines here.

SQF: Why did you start this magazine?

Levee Magazine: While there’s a plethora of literary magazines in the world, there’s never too many outlets for authors to get their work out. We wanted to create a magazine that’s open to anyone from anywhere, no matter how much or how little experience they have. None of what we publish is fodder—if we don’t believe in a piece enough to invest ink and paper on it, we won’t take it. We make sure we produce a magazine that writers and editors alike can be proud of.

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

Samantha: Something that has lots of heart, lots of thought, and the craftsmanship needed to convey that heart and thought in a way that I feel it, too.

Eric: Sentence variety, momentum, and surprise.

  1. Sentence variety keeps the submission alive; it’s what creates a rhythm that keeps the reader going and shows that the author has more than a handful of words up their sleeve.
  2. Submissions that keep the momentum going with intention keep the reader engaged—I believe that a piece should always be moving toward something and that every sentence should be aiding that in some way. 
  3. Right now we have over 200 submissions to read through, and I can guarantee that a month from now I’m only going to remember the ones that found a way to surprise me. 

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

Samantha: Flat writing—be that poorly-written dialogue, lack of musicality in the language (especially when it comes to poetry), undeveloped characters and/or plot—the list goes on and on. Essentially, if I’m reading a piece and my mind is allowed to wander onto different things while I’m reading it, I’m gonna vote to reject it.

Eric: For fiction, I’m turned off by writing I can’t visualize.
For poetry, I’m turned off by poems that break lines and stanzas without a clear intention.

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

Samantha: When it comes to the opening, I expect to see craftsmanship in the writing, and I want my curiosity to be piqued.

Eric: I’m looking for the three basics: character, plot, and setting. How an author handles those in the beginning is telling of the piece as a whole.

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

Levee: We are comfortable with reading and publishing uncomfortable material. What it really comes down to for us is whether or not the writing itself can carry the weight of the material in a meaningful way.

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

What are we reading right now (besides Levee submissions)?

Samantha: I’m finally getting around to reading The Animals by Christian Kiefer. He’s got a new novel out called Phantoms, so I gotta catch up!

Eric: I’m reading Jurassic Park by Michael Chrichton for the first time and also re-reading Junk by Tommy Pico.

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

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