Friday, January 10, 2020

Six Questions for Alice Rose and Nicola Bourne, Editors, Clover & White

Clover & White publishes poetry to 1 page, flash fiction of 200-500 words, and short stories of 500-2,000 words. “We are particularly interested in work by unpublished, emerging and underrepresented writers.” Read the complete guidelines here.

SQF: Why did you start this magazine?

Clover & White: As emerging writers ourselves, we wanted to give a platform to other emerging writers. Our goal is to offer exposure to writers at the beginning of their career as well as making them feel welcomed into the writing community. If an acceptance from us is the drive a writer needs to have more confidence in their own craft then we’ve really achieved what we are hoping for.

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


  1. We are looking for individuality and new voices. We aren’t asking you to reinvent the wheel but any kind of narrative or characters that aren’t stereotypical or clique, we LOVE. An example of this is a fab short story we published by Claire Lawrence called ‘Love Under A Halo’. It isn’t too often you get to read about two old age pensioners finding lesbian love but this was that, and it was wonderful.
  2. Another thing we look for is the strength of the piece on its own. The piece shouldn't be part of a collection or larger piece that needs explaining.  It needs to leave an impact in the small space it contacts.
  3. We love work (especially poetry and flash) which almost emulates some of the most well-known work being published right now, but adds it’s own take. If you’re going to use a dated format, you’ve got to put a modern theme on it.

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

C&W: Although we are actively seeking under-represented writers, we are only ever accepting or declining pieces based on merit alone. Therefore, we prefer polished pieces – i.e. not a first draft. It is often clear who has edited and redrafted a piece and who has not. Anything that we feel has been done endless times before will turn us off to a submission, if you are comparing love to a rose or summers day, it won't be for us.

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

C&W: I’m sure it’s been said a dozen times by countless editors but we do get a lot of submissions and therefore, anything that immediately hooks our attention will do the same to our readers. We often read a lot of poetry which is great at this but less so for flash fiction and short stories. Our tip would be to begin the piece in the middle of the action, drop your reader right into the excitement. If you think your piece begins to dwindle, look to make some cuts.

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

C&W: Anything that isn't saying something or reflecting on a wider issue is going to be a hard sell for us.  And yes, erotica would fall under that heading for us.

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

C&W: ‘If you could give some advice to an emerging writer, what would it be?’ Remember that writing is a craft/skill that needs to be honed, the only way to get better is to write and rewrite, and to read the types of writing you want to write. You can’t expect to sit at a piano and know how to compose, you have to practice.

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

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