Friday, March 19, 2021

Six Questions for David & Katie Wasserman, Editors, Second Chance Lit

Second Chance Lit wants submissions of previously rejected works of short fiction to 1,000 words and poetry. Read the complete guidelines here.

SQF: Why did you start this magazine?

Second Chance Lit: David had published two books of poetry and was looking for a way to continue being involved with writing. He found the lit mag community and immediately fell in love. Rather than a solo venture, reading and writing was now collaborative and way more fun. One thing we noticed was how niche certain magazines were and that rejections for not fitting into an issue seemed common. We wanted to give those pieces that were excellent but not the right fit a home. Also, selfishly, we needed something for the two of us to do together other than our normal routine!

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

SCL: First and foremost we look for really emotive language—the piece has to elicit a reaction from the two of us. We think if you look at the pieces we selected for our first issue you'll notice they all really pack a punch. We also look for pieces that are extremely well-crafted, to the point that we know they must have been rejected from other mags because of fit and not quality. Last, we are drawn to works that surprise us with their perspective and/or form. We love the strange narrator or ergodic feel some writers are able to incorporate in a smart, sophisticated way.

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

SCL: We are always turned off by violent and aggressive content. That's not for us. On the other end of the spectrum, we don't really respond well to pieces that feel more like diary or journal entries. That style is completely valid, but we find ourselves looking for a little more figurative language and flowery prose.

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

SCL: We want to be drawn into the world of the piece—we want to want to read more! Don't think you're being crafty by saving a big splash for the end—we want to be riveted right from the start. We respond best to works that feel purposeful and planned.

SQF: What is The Phoenix Project?

SCL: The Phoenix Project was not something we set out to do, but seemed like a good fit for our mag and aesthetic. Some writers on Twitter were lamenting the fact that published pieces of theirs were no longer accessible because the magazine that published them became defunct and took down their website. We didn't want those pieces to disappear forever—they were loved, blood, sweat, tears, pieces of writers' souls—so we set up The Phoenix Project on our site. It is a rolling submission section where writers can send us pieces that have lost their homes to defunct magazines. As long as they meet our guidelines and we think they are a fit, we will give them a home.

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

SCL: Maybe: Why send your work to us instead of trying the magazine you submitted to originally again, or a different magazine? We think our first issue proves that we have an eye for really strong writing, can display it with style and work well with our contributors. We want Second Chance Lit to become known as a home for excellent work that just didn't find that landing spot on the first try.

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

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