Friday, December 8, 2017

Six Questions For Shannon Connor Winward, Founding Editor, Riddled With Arrows

Riddled with Arrows is an online literary journal dedicated to writing about writing. We seek (short) metafiction and metapoems, and writing that celebrates the process and product of writing as art. No restrictions on genre or form, so long as the work is about writing, straight up. Read the complete guidelines here.

SQF: Why did you start this magazine?

Shannon Connor Winward: I kept seeing guidelines for journals and lit mags that specifically discourage writing about writing.  It blows my mind that there's this taboo in the literary community against literature exploring itself.  I think that's ridiculous and unnecessarily limiting and in a way it devalues what poets and writers do.  Riddled with Arrows was created to fight against that, in some small way--we want to create a safe haven for metafiction and metapoems, and writing that celebrates the process and product of writing as art.


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

SCW: First, the submission must have some meta- or writing-related element, since that is our primary editorial interest.  If we are reading for a themed issue, the submission must also satisfy that theme.  Secondly, I look for a strong voice, evocative language and artistry, great storytelling, a clever twist, a killer line—something compelling and noteworthy.  Lastly, I look for work that is not exactly like what we've already published—I want a new approach to the genre, something I never thought of.  But it also has to snuggle in with the concepts I'm developing for a given issue.  I like to arrange poems and stories so that they take on new dimensions when considered with their surrounding work.  Each issue is meta-tastic.


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

SCW: Erotica for its own sake with little or no consideration of our editorial mission, particularly where women are merely objects in some guy's gore-fantasy.  I also get twitchy when it's clear a submitter didn't read our guidelines. 


SQF: Do you provide comments when you reject a submission?

SCW: It isn't always practical, but I try.  The submission process can be so demoralizing.  I want to let writers know they are valued and that a rejection isn't personal. 


SQF: If Riddled With Arrows had a theme song, what would it be and why?

SCW: "My Baby Loves a Bunch of Authors" by Moxy Fruvous, for reasons I think are pretty clear.  (Great question!)


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

SCW: Are we a paying market? Damn right we are, because we value authors.  That said, most of our budget is funded by financially struggling authors, so we welcome contributions.  There's a "donate" button on our homepage.

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

Friday, December 1, 2017

Six Questions for Katie Winkler, Editor, Teach. Write.

Teach. Write. publishes flash fiction  under 1,000 words, short fiction of 1,000 to 5,000 words, poetry up to 100 lines, and creative nonfiction to 2,000 words written by authors who are, or have been, a writing instructor at a college, university, public school, or through continuing education programs. The first edition premiered to great success on September 1, 2017. Submissions for the Spring/Summer 2018 edition open on October 1, 2017, and close on March 1, 2018. Learn more here.

SQF: Why did you start this magazine?

Katie Winkler: I have taught English composition at the high school and college levels for almost 30 years and have been actively pursuing publication for over 20. During that time, I have noticed that as I improved and began having my work accepted, that my teaching began to be positively affected. My understanding of the revision and editing process has improved, but even more importantly, as the rejections have rolled in, I have gained empathy with my students that I didn't have before. Also, experiencing the joy of acceptance has inspired me as a teacher and a writer so much that I wanted to provide a venue for my fellow writing teachers to feel the same.


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

KW: The top three things I look for are craftsmanship, because it is one of the main things writing teachers are trying to teach; authenticity, because gimmicky writing or writing simply to be published often leads to a shallow piece; and love for language, because there is nothing more enjoyable for me to read than someone who is head over heels for the marvelous form of communication that is English. Other languages have their charms, especially German, my second language, but it is my native tongue that still makes my heart go flippity-flop.


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

KW: Poor craftsmanship. How can I publish a poorly crafted piece in a journal for teachers of writing? I mean much more than grammar and mechanics. Occasional errors will not necessarily cause me to reject a piece.  Weak sentence structure, poor word choice, lack of organization, a pattern of errors, or a general disregard for submission guidelines -- these types of things show a lack of respect for the craft, and for me as an editor, and are likely to prompt a rejection letter.


SQF: What magazines/zines do you read on a “regular” basis?

KW: New Yorker, Glimmer Train, Huffpost, The Flash Fiction Press, The Oxford American, The Pedestal, Bold Life (local magazine)


SQF: If Teach. Write. had a theme song, what would it be and why?

KW: "School's Out for Summer" by Alice Cooper because summer is when I do most of my writing and marketing. I am too busy working with other people's writing during the school year to have much time for my own.


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

KW: How do you feel about your writers? I have only published one edition of my journal so far, but the quality of submissions and the graciousness of the writers accepted for publication have awed and humbled me. I feel that my contributors and I have formed some sort of special bond similar to a cast and crew working together to produce a play. I didn't expect this feeling, but I like it.

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