Friday, April 5, 2024

Six Questions for Grace Black, Founding Editor, Ink In Thirds

Ink In Thirds is a boutique literary magazine established in 2016. Publishing Poetry, Prose, and Photography/Art. The focus is on the emotive, visceral layers of the human condition, bringing artists and writers together in cohesive fluidity. 

“Our only absolute requirement: Make us feel something!” Read the complete guidelines here.

SQF: Why did you start this magazine?

Grace Black: This magazine began as a passion project. In 2014, I ran a weekly poetry prompt challenge called Three Line Thursday as an online contest via Blogspot. It ran for two years with a wonderful group of artists and writers. As that chapter came to a close, I knew I wanted to continue championing talented artists and writers, so I thought, why not start a lit mag? So, in 2016, I did just that. Meh…

Ink In Thirds had much success early on, and TLT's supportive following was the impetus for resurrecting TLT as a weekly inspiration feature on the website of Ink In Thirds Magazine.

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

GB: Our only absolute requirement: Make us feel something! Sad, fine. Tormented, better. Angst, gah. Happy, meh, we’ll take it. Just remember to move us with your words.

Obviously, we want submissions that take the art of writing seriously, work you know someone has taken the time to craft. A typo happens to the best of us, but when I read a submission and forget my editor hat entirely, lose myself bit by bit as I marinate in the language of the submission, I know it’s going straight into the to-be-published box!

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

GB: I’m not a big fan of forced narrative. I love stories that unfold slowly, layer by layer, and deliver a value of surprise near the end. For poetry, it's all about language: usage, flow, and what is left unsaid.

SQF: You like brevity in your writing given the 333 word limit, as well as 100 Word Wednesday, and Three Line Thursday. What drew you to short fiction/poetry?

GB: Ahh… yes! Brevity, my beloved. While I enjoy vivid imagery, emotional depth, and creative language in all writing, I adore the idea that less is more regarding actual word count. Something about the craft of evoking all the senses and creating an entire story or scene with the fewest possible words excites me. I’m not sure exactly when it became a conscious decision I set out to curate. Still, it has evolved and seems particularly relevant given the times we live in currently, with attention spans getting shorter and shorter. Why not pack a punch.

SQF: If you could share a meal with any three authors (dead or alive), who would they be and why?

GB: Don Delillo, the man, can craft a sentence like no other. One sentence, and you can see, touch, taste, and smell the smallest intricacies of the mini worlds DeLillo creates. I’d like to pick his brain and learn to craft a sentence that can transport people the way he does.

Sylvia Plath, hands down. I am tired of the trite, “she’s a novice,” “it’s so cliche,” “schoolgirl nonsense,” I couldn’t care less what stuffy-shirted academics want to pontificate about and their preferred heralding of writers I am not a fan of. Plath makes you feel like you are in the room with her, a fly on the wall, even as sad as it was in the end. It’s no secret (to those who know and follow my personal writing) that I am a big proponent of Mental Health Awareness and abuse survivors. I’d jump at the chance to sit with Plath and dive deep about the cloying darkness that hovers like the unwanted buzzing wasp in Spring and the energy it requires to plaster on smiles day after day when you feel out of place inside your own skin.

Anaïs Nin, where to begin—a sensual woman of remarkable strength and presence who wrote freely and without fear. I first read Henry and June years ago and was transported in a literary vehicle fueled by curiosity. I’d love to share a bottle of champagne and listen to her life story firsthand, the good, the bad, and the ugly. After all, writers, the good ones, are all a little mad.

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

GB: Why submit to Ink In Thirds?

  • We are kind
  • We are inclusive of all
  • We respond to all submissions
  • No submission fees
  • Fast turnaround time (typically under 5 days)
  • We are a full-color Print Mag (also available in digital download)

You can submit once each open reading period. We also encourage those we previously declined to submit again and keep writing. That is the only way to improve your craft: keep at it!

One last PSA: We do this for our love of all things art and writing. We don’t air our petty grievances across SM. We never limit inclusion based on any criteria. And we believe wholeheartedly in kindness. Voices need to be heard and art acknowledged, and we want to help get them out there for more to enjoy!

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

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