Friday, December 18, 2020

Six Questions for M.M. MacLeod, Editor, Frost Zone Zine

Frost Zone Zine is a Canadian Quarterly Anthology Zine of Horror, Speculative, and Literary Fiction (600-3000 words), and Poetry. The editor wants spooky stories and eerie or eerily-beautiful poetry. Read the complete guidelines here.

SQF: Why did you start this magazine?

M.M. MacLeod: This magazine was started to offer a place for original horror and dark fiction to be published. The idea of starting an indie publication had been on the back burner for a long time. As a writer and artist based in Canada, I noticed there didn’t seem to be enough markets here for this type of fiction. Frost Zone Zine is a place where genre and literary styles can meet and, I think, complement each other in a collection of chilling works by new and established writers.

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


  1. Genuine voice: the author’s voice should shine through with authenticity from the beginning.

  2. Structure, mechanics, syntax: a great story idea can disintegrate if the writer does not know how to put it together, and move it forward with smooth transitions and balance.

  3. Originality: Either a new idea or a classic idea presented in an original way. If the author writes honestly, chances are the work will show originality.

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

MMM: Writing that includes superfluous material – paragraph upon paragraph of detailed descriptions, characters that have no reason to be there, or side stories that go nowhere and are not relevant to the plot.

Also: poorly structured submissions, stories that are not at all suitable (seems apparent guidelines and 'about' page were not read), stories loaded with media tie-ins, and current affairs references.

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

MMM: There are many ways to open, but whatever method the author chooses, the reader should be drawn in immediately with at least a hint that something interesting is going to happen, or has happened. Ideally, the protagonist, problem/goal, and perhaps setting should be introduced.

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

MMM: That example and others are included in a ‘what we don’t want’ section of the submission guidelines. But to give additional, specific examples... for fiction, I’d rather not see vignettes, or character sketches with barely any plot – something has to happen. Epistolary fiction (story told via letters or diary/journal entry) is a hard sell, too. Dialogue-heavy pieces can only work if done well. In poetry, being obscure for obscurity’s sake does not show well. Rhyming is fine, but not forced rhyming.

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

MMM: Is there anything else you would like to say to those thinking of submitting to Frost Zone Zine?

Yes, please do send along your stories. A few poets will also be published in each issue. Everyone is welcome to submit, from anywhere - as long as they know how to write, and take the time to learn what type of pieces are sought. I recommend the guidelines and linked page of additional information be read just prior to submitting. As a new and evolving publication, things are bound to change from issue to issue, and those changes will be noted in the guidelines, the additional info page, and the about page. There is a bit to read but don’t let that dissuade you. Every single submission is appreciated, even if it turns out to not be a fit for this particular publication.

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

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