Friday, May 5, 2023

Six Questions for Lisa Schantl, Founder/Editor-in-Chief, Tint Journal

Tint Journal publishes flash fiction to 800 words, short stories and creative non-fiction of 1,000 to 4,000 words, poetry, art, and more. “Tint showcases the original work of writers for whom English is a second or non-native language.” Submissions must embrace the ideas of acceptance and inclusivity. Read the complete guidelines here.

SQF: Why did you start this magazine?

Lisa Schantl: During my study year abroad in the United States, I had to experience first-hand what it meant to be prejudiced because of your language background. For me, it went beyond the friendly yet somewhat bold questions after my geographical background when ordering coffee and using the region-specific vocabulary. I actually happened to receive a lower grade because a teacher assumed I would not be capable of writing an essay of the same quality than my fellow US peers. This experience nourished my wish to raise awareness for the capabilities of non-native voices, especially in (literary) writing.

We live in a globalized world, but borders persist, not only those between states but also those between cultures and languages. I dare say that most of the time these borders are not drawn by the people who cross them with open minds and hearts. With Tint Journal, I want to give the writers among these people, who also choose the English language as their medium, with a safe space, where they can explore their idiosyncracies through their unique experiences.

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

LS: At Tint Journal, we are a team of at least three editors selecting the texts for publication. Everyone of us has their own, well-informed preferences when it comes to submissions. My personal must-haves in a submission are originality, coherence and passion. 

Originality in terms of content (what have I not yet read? which perspective has not yet been covered? ...), in terms of language (use your unique language background, either below or above the surface) and in terms of style (how can a particular text be shaped, formatted, stretched or tightened? what makes your narrator unique?). 

Besides originality, I look for coherence in a submission. No detail should be added at random, everything in the text should play a role that's either plain on the page or dissectible between the lines. 

And last, I love it when I can feel the writer's passion for the craft through their writing. Such a passion can take on various forms in a text, it can flow into extravagant descriptions or a particular vibe for actions, or something else entirely. But the text has to captivate me and take me on a ride in any case. 

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

LS: If a story is begun, it should be completed. This goes back to my preference for coherence: the details presented should add up and have some kind of outcome. This outcome can be a state of ambiguity or unresolvedness, but the author has to perform this intentionally and make it matter. 

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

LS: For the same things as in the rest of the text. Yes, the opening paragraph can be catchy or the first stanza can be bold and intriguing, but none of this matters if the rest of the piece cannot keep the promise. The tricky part is to keep a story alive and to fill a poem with excitement until the very last line; the beginning is only that, the beginning. 

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

LS: We are an international and intercultural publication. In view of the diverse backgrounds of our contributing writers, we do not publish texts that violate our values of acceptance and inclusivity. There is no place on our website for texts that do not respect cultures, identities or other aspects that are different from the writer's own. 

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

LS: How do you survive as a nonprofit literary magazine? 

I think this question should be asked to everyone involved in independent literary publishing. Many magazines, including ours, are nonprofit, volunteer-run publications. I am indebted to a team of about 15 passionate volunteers spread across the whole globe who spend their sparetime working on Tint, to already more than 200 writers who agreed to having their text(s) published in Tint without receiving a financial remuneration, and to our committed readers who also happen to give to us via memberships or crowdfunding platforms. We receive some financial support from the local government, but thriving as an internationally oriented magazine working across borders is incredibly hard. I am grateful for every day that I have Tint Journal in my life, but every one of these days is also one that I am fighting for our cause. I think this reality has to be acknowleged, too, for everyone that it applies to in the literary sphere. 

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

No comments:

Post a Comment