Monday, March 11, 2024

Six Questions for Suzanne Craig-Whytock, Editor-in-Chief, DarkWinter Literary Magazine

DarkWinter Literary Magazine publishes short fiction (under 2000 words) and poetry (500 words max) with a twist. “Whether you're emerging or established, we want your weird, your traditional with a twist, your humour, your dark thoughts, or your elation.” Read the complete guidelines here.

SQF: Why did you start this magazine?

Suzanne Craig-Whytock: It's often difficult for emerging writers to get their work published--many literary journals around here only publish a couple of issues each year or once a month, and have limited space. We wanted to create a platform where anyone with a strong story or poem could see their work out there in the world for others to enjoy, despite perhaps not having a resume full of publishing credits. We feature two different writers twice every week (Mondays and Thursdays), so there's lots of space for a wide variety of stories and poems.

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

SC: The top three things we look for are first, an original story. We don't publish fan fiction, or "the true story of" an existing character (unless it's REALLY different), or stories that have already been explored ad nauseum. We're interested in weird and twisty tales, or stories with a strong emotional arc. Second, we're suckers for a punchy ending--we love a story where the last line makes us sit back and say, "Wow." For poetry, we like pieces that aren't so personal/abstract that only the author understands the references; other than that, we publish free verse, rhyme, prose poetry, and so on--again, anything that leaves us with a powerful reaction. Third, clean copy. We're willing to do some editing, but we appreciate it when submissions aren't full of typos and obviously haven't been given a second look before being sent.

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

Our inclusivity statement makes it very clear what we don't publish (no racism, sexism, homophobia, or transphobia), so anything that contravenes that policy would immediately be rejected. We also don't like anything with a lot of gratuitous violence, anything with gratuitous animal cruelty in it, or anything explicitly sexual.

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

SC: A really strong hook--something that grabs our attention right away and makes us want to engage in the story. For poetry, we look for vivid images or compelling ideas.

SQF: You also host two presses, DarkWinter Press and Baxter House Editions. Please explain how these differ.

DarkWinter Press is our main imprint and we publish new work (poetry collections, short story collections, novels, and novellas) from both emerging and established writers. Baxter House Editions was launched at the beginning of February to support some writer friends whose publisher dissolved and their books were "unpublished". It's our reprint press; that is, Baxter House republishes valuable work that through no fault of their own, are no longer available. Baxter House has reprinted three different publications already and submissions are always open to anyone whose work has gone out of print.

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

SC: A lot of people ask if they have to pay to publish with us and the answer is no. We're a small press but still traditional. We have a Frequently Asked Questions document on our Press submissions page that addresses any concerns a potential submitter may have and explains our processes.

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

1 comment:

  1. I'm enjoying the bi-weekly posts on DarkWinterLit. Such variety. Enjoyed your interview.
    Thank you.