Friday, November 10, 2023

Six Questions for Meadow Sherif, Founding Editor/Editor-in-Chief, Where The Meadows Reside

Where The Meadows Reside publishes prose to 5,000 words, poetry to ten pages, art, music and hybrid works. “We want innovation, exploration, and the enigmas of the outdoors and the world from established and emerging writers.” Read the complete guidelines here.

SQF: Why did you start this magazine?

Meadow Sherif: As a literary artist and creative, I was always fascinated in writing work that intertwines personal experiences and my reveries of the world—the enigmas of the outdoors. In this premise, the bounds for creation become endless and intriguing at every point, and while critiquing and analyzing my work is a singular pursuit, I wanted to see how others would write similar or in-theme to this concept. This uncomfortable awareness of the world—a square of land with the sweet fury of small life—the origins of beauty and chaos. The Meadows.

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

MS: Where The Meadows Reside seeks beauty and urgency, original writing and its relation to the outdoors. We love sensational awareness, desire, and unfamiliarity in all of our genres. We want to feel as much as you do. Take that and create as you may. 

We also seek work that, visually and thematically, compliments the collective. If you can look at our visual concept, website and issues, and put a similar tone into your submission—it’ll be a wholehearted yes. We don’t just want great art, we want work that fits our designed collage. 

Finally, we prefer personalized cover letters, standard formatting, and attention to detail to our Submission Guidelines and the premise that you’re engaging in what we promote. For more information, you are more than welcome to send a correspondence and we’d be glad to help.

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

MS: Odd enough, improper conventions. It’s an iteration that editors can agree on time and time again. You can write in whatever font or color you choose, though if you’re writing traditionally, stick to TNR 12-point. No Calibri or Arial. And while having every line in your poem capitalized can be great when done artfully, more often than not it reads autocorrected. We want poetry that is just as beautiful on the page as it is in reading. Formatting is the first impression of your submission, so make it count.

Second, we encourage balancing the pretty with more imagery, specificity and nuance. We don’t want poems inherently on the basis of love or its design—give it flair, hatred, meaning. For prose, get to the point and have an innate plot or story to follow. For hybrid, art and music, we want liminal creations, the dull or high contrast. We want precise and original work that only you can recount, to be challenged and in awe through every read. 

Finally, and again, work that simply does not fit the collective. Oftentimes we have to reject great submissions that don't meet our housed concept. At that point, it’s simply a matter of finding the right publisher rather than the submission, which is a bittersweet judgment among the plethora of rejection notes in publishing. Again, ensure you read past submissions and note conceptual cues before selecting, writing, and submitting your work. Look at past issues—our web-design, Instagram posts, re-tweets—as precursors. If you want the best chance, ensure your cover letter is detailed, thoughtful, and meets the Submission Guidelines. I get it, we skim the Guidelines—but come on. It’s the first, fixated thing we desire in your submission, and relatively succinct. If you don’t meet those requirements, you’ve immediately put yourself in the wrong “unsure” pile. So, be sincere and thoughtful with your submission as a representation of yourself, and it’ll make the difference.

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

MS: Set a liminal scene or open with an intriguing thought—a theory or anecdote of the world. Don’t get too philosophical and search aimlessly. Be fleeting, on theme, and keep going. That’s really all we desire. 

For poetry, I am especially fond of clean and proficient language, its awareness and how it appears on the page. If I’m intrigued after the first line(s), the next question would be if the intrigue is molded and composed for the rest of the submission, filled with theme and preserving the tight language. For prose, lengthier introductions with great imagery—when done well, it is really the caliber of a great submission. For artwork, music, and hybrid—liminal scenery that pulls at the heart and the mind. For those trio-genres in particular, we offer plenty of room to play around with what you create, so send us something stunning. 

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

MS: I’d have to agree. Erotica isn’t a topic that our collective houses and doesn’t desire in the future. If it’s right there, bright and proud in the first line(s) or paragraphs for that sole purpose, it’s an immediate rejection. Again, hinting on what the collective publishes, simply send us work that is in our best interest. 

On another note, we don’t want aimless philosophies. We don’t want love. We don’t want just pretty words. We also don’t want excessively profane or derogatory work. Try expressing that in-theme with specificity, originality, and nuance, not in direct deliveries of the like. Again, each publisher has their own preferences in what work they like, so be sure to follow those cues. 

On an informal note, keep writing and exploring new styles. Writing is expression, and it should be for you, not for the immediate pleasure of a publisher. The literary world is changing everyday, but your writing is uniquely you. Always keep it close, make this voice inevitable, and without a doubt, there will be at least one person who is truly happy with what you've created.

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

MS: “What’s next?”

While simple, I began this collective in May with the goal to house explorative work from creatives across the globe. Now, and having interacted with so many other lovely magazines, presses and artists, The Meadows seek to expand—whether that’s hosting contests judged by contributors, print issues, seeking out payment for contributors, among others. Ultimately, we want to become a space that channels notes of surrounding beauty and chaos, a timeless feeling at heart. We hope that others will seek to become part of our vision, and look forward to all that awaits for the future.

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

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