Friday, February 28, 2020

Six Questions for Nick Olson, Editor, (mac)ro(mic)

(mac)ro(mic) publishes flash fiction and creative nonfiction to 1,000 words. “We want your heart, your soul, the pieces that are a part of you.” Read the complete guidelines here.

SQF: Why did you start this magazine?

Nick Olson: Before launching (mac)ro(mic), I had edited at a few other magazines (I was at one point Associate Editor at Cease, Cows, Assistant Editor at The Citron Review, and Managing Editor at The Arrival Magazine), and I absolutely loved the process—discovering and publishing new writers, breaking dry spells for experienced writers, and just generally championing the work of others. Starting/running my own magazine seemed like a worthy challenge and a logical next step, so I took it. I’m very glad that I did.


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

NO: Honesty, voice, and clarity. I’m not picky when it comes to POV, tense, perspective, genre, etc. What it comes down to is that I’m looking for powerful work, and in my experience, powerful work comes from honesty. If not factual honesty in the form of creative nonfiction, then emotional honesty. I can tell when a writer really feels what they’re writing, when they’re pouring themselves into a story, and I can usually tell that within the first sentence or two. I live for that. After that, voice and clarity tend to tag along automatically when you’re writing with honesty.


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

NO: The intent to impress rather than express. Vocabulary is great, and a witty style is fun to read, but it all has to be in service to the work. If it veers too far into look-ma-no-hands territory, it quickly takes me out of the story. Once immersion is lost, that’s pretty much it.


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

NO: I look for a hook, a hint toward theme and tone, and a character/situation that I need to know more about. I tend to have one of my old college writing professors in my ear while I’m reading submissions, with questions like: Why does this story need to be told? And: Why now? I don’t need or want those questions to be answered right away, but I want to have some possible answers of my own when I finish the story. Also: never, ever, ever underestimate the power of an excellent first sentence.


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

NO: Great question! I love Wigleaf, and I was already a huge fan of The Citron Review and Cease, Cows before I was brought onboard at those magazines. Also: Cleaver, Molotov Cocktail, decomP, Oblong, Eunoia Review, [PANK], Monkeybicycle, Tin House, Glimmer Train, SmokeLong Quarterly… The list goes on and on. There are so many wonderful editors and writers, so many incredible magazines out there. It’s a great time to be a lover of literature.


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

NO: I wish you’d asked whether I knew about SQF before this interview, because the truth is that I’ve known about this site for quite some time, and I love what you’re doing with it. I used to read your interviews with editors back when I was a younger writer without a published story to my name, when I was looking for ways to get my work out there and make it stand out, so it feels surreal to be doing an interview with you all these years later, now that I’m an editor myself and have been lucky enough to have my own work published in a bunch of really cool places. Thanks so much for the interview, and thanks so much for doing what you do. It really makes a difference.

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

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