Friday, June 18, 2021

Six Questions for Hansen Adcock, Managing Editor, Once Upon A Crocodile

Once Upon A Crocodile publishes fiction to 6,000 words and poetry to 45 lines. “Once Upon A Crocodile is an e-zine that wants to bring a mile-wide grin to its readers (snaggle-toothed or not) with humorous stories and poetry.” Read the complete guidelines here.

SQF: Why did you start this magazine?

Hansen Adcock: I have had some fantasy and sci-fi stories and poems published over the years, and a couple of horror stories. Being a writer myself, I was interested in what goes on behind the scenes, and wanted to do something that would give me editing experience and know what it’s like for editors to read submissions, select work that fits the tone and theme of a publication, and work with writers to develop something that shows off their talent. I also needed an outlet to showcase my illustration work (I commit art under the name Matchsticks). Above all that, I wanted to build something new that would make people laugh! The way the world has been going the past few years, I reckoned that humans needed something light-hearted to help them escape for a while, especially nowadays with the Coronavirus pandemic.

What spurred me into thinking of doing my own e-zine back in 2018? Neil Gaiman, an author whose work I very much admire, had revealed that he once put out his own magazine when he was at school, which ran for maybe six issues. It was then that I decided, well, if a writer can make their own magazine when he/she/they are in their teens, then it was high time i gave it a shot. (But I don’t plan on stopping at six issues!)

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


  1. Humour. I have had a few submissions now that aren’t funny at all, but are either tragedy or horror. Obviously, if you can write a good horror story that is also hilarious, kudos to you, I would be interested in reading something like that. Any humour is good so long as it’s done well - slapstick, absurdism, parody (as long as the work you’re parodying is in the public domain!), limericks, even toilet humour. Humour is a demonstration of wit and irreverence in my language, (though I dislike it when it’s at the expense of minority groups). Swearwords (used judiciously) are fine. Humour is OUAC’s raison d’etre.

  2. Good writing—obviously. I have had some bizarre pieces of work sent to me in the past which have not been proofread or rewritten in any way and are therefore almost incomprehensible. I’m looking for good spelling, punctuation, use of grammar, and economy of words is a plus. If you can rearrange a sentence so it uses less words but still makes sense, then do so!

  3. Quirky, eccentric characters. They don’t have to be human, but if there’s something unusual about them then I will want to keep reading. Think like Charles Dickens, or Roald Dahl, or Diana Wynne-Jones. Their characters were often odd.

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

HA: People ignoring the guidelines! If I receive a story that isn’t readable or doesn’t contain humour, it gets rejected. The other thing I dislike (immensely) is any type of sexism / racism / ableism or discriminatory attitudes held by the narrator (unless it is used in such a way as to poke fun at the narrator for holding outdated stereotypical beliefs, and the narrator gets his/her just desserts during the course of the story.) I also don’t like stories where nothing much happens and everything is all happy-happy la-la-land.

SQF: What do you look for in the opening paragraphs / stanzas of a submission?

HA: The aim of an opening is to get the reader immersed and hooked simultaneously. So, I look for stories or poetry that start in the midst of the action. Not like a fight scene (though it could be!) but the characters have to be shown DOING SOMETHING, or in the middle of some dilemma. You know the maxim—show, don’t tell. Either that, or you can start with showing me what is unusual about your character using their actions and their surroundings. 

SQF: Will you publish works previously published on an author’s website/blog (or anywhere on the net)?

HA: Yes. OUAC doesn’t take any rights for the author’s work except to showcase it and archive it online. So as long as you have electronic publishing rights to your work, I will publish it. (A good rule of thumb is, if the work in question was last published more than a year ago, all rights will most likely have reverted to the author, but please do contact the last publisher of said work just to clarify the situation). If, at a future time, you want to publish something of yours somewhere else that I have archived, just email me at and ask me to remove it from our website, and I’ll be happy to oblige. If I start being able to pay authors and poets in future, then that might change, but if so I will update the guidelines on the website to reflect that.

Also, if your piece is on your blog, send me the link to your blog and I will share it on the e-zine “Tail” section (the author bios page) and on the OUAC Facebook and Twitter pages as well.

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

HA: You could probably have asked how I promote writers’ work and what plans I have to do that in the future.

To answer that question, OUAC has a Facebook page ( and a Twitter account (@OnceUponaCroc) where I share links to the new issues and to individual stories and poems. I also share links to stories and poetry I’ve illustrated as Matchsticks on my art page ( and Twitter page (@Matchsticks1). In the future, I plan to conduct interviews with writers OUAC publishes and share those on social media, and plan to get a mailing list set up along with a newsletter.

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

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