Editor Interview: Star 82 Review (*82)
Q: Describe what you publish in 25 characters or less.
A: respectfully odd stories
Q: What other current publications (or publishers) do you admire most?
Up the Staircase Quarterly
Q: If you publish writing, who are your favorite writers? If you publish art, who are your favorite artists?
A: A partial list of writers:
A partial list of artists:
Michael C. McMullen
Q: What sets your publication apart from others that publish similar material?
A: We have two unique categories that explore the connections between writing and art: Postcard Lit and Erasure Text. Postcard Lit is the opportunity for the writer to include an image and/or the artist to include words—combining two artistic media to say different things, making the whole greater than each part alone. Erasure Text is an experimental and alternate form of creating expressive new meaning out of a previous text (inspired by Tom Phillips, A Humument).
In terms of content, we hope that the fictional and nonfictional stories and poems speak across nationalities, race, gender, sexuality, age, and economic situations, and are linked by emotional truths that all human beings share. We are interested in providing a home for stories about the displaced person and those considered outside the mainstream, all in a respectful atmosphere.
Q: What is the best advice you can give people who are considering submitting work to your publication?
A: Read the magazine (it’s online) and note the tone, feel, humor, subject matter, type of conflict and how it is or isn’t resolved, and the sound and use of language. Don’t send your piece until you’ve read it aloud several times. Follow the guidelines, and spell the editor's name correctly.
Q: Describe the ideal submission.
A: It is clear that the submitter has read the guidelines, knows how to format a document, chooses words well, and guides us on a journey that makes us see the world a little (or a lot) differently. If it’s personal, it also connects with the reader on a shared universal level. Even if it is poetry it tells a story. The piece shows a love of language, a little edge, interactions, and an underlying tone of humanity, humility, and humor.
Q: What do submitters most often get wrong about your submissions process?
A: Usually tone is the problem. Pieces are too violent, graphic, sentimental, self-centered, self-satisfied, hate-filled, judgmental, or show no indication that the person has a love of or affinity for language.
Q: How much do you want to know about the person submitting to you?
A: I am interested in seeing a 50-100 word publication-ready bio that includes a couple of related activities (such as teacher, editor), possibly one interesting fact, the author’s geographical location, and a limit of 3 or 4 publications followed by “and others” “among others” or something like that. Brief, but just enough to give a feel for who you are.
I am not interested in lists of nominations or long lists of any kind.
Q: If you publish writing, how much of a piece do you read before making the decision to reject it?
A: Since the pieces are short, I am delighted to read entire pieces. The first paragraph gives me a strong hint, but unless it is too disgusting, hateful, violent, or judgmental, I will rarely reject it before I have read it completely.
Q: What additional evaluations, if any, does a piece go through before it is accepted?
A: Each piece gets two to five readings. I read it when it comes in (Submittable users will see “Received”), usually wait a few days and then read it again one or two times and tag it (“In Progress”), then wait a few more days and read it a third time to see if I still feel the same (“Accept” or “Decline”). It is a joyful feeling when I read one for the first time and know it is a YES. Once it is accepted, it is read closely for word choice, grammar, and structure as it is formatted and yet again for spelling and typos as it is proofread.
Q: What is a day in the life of an editor like for you?
A: I edit Star 82 Review for love, so my day is a mix of writing, editing, making art, making food, walking, and teaching as an adjunct professor.
Q: How important do you feel it is for publishers to embrace modern technologies?
A: Each new technology provides tools. It's wonderful to have a variety of choices. Editors make their own decisions based on the tools they need: what they hope to accomplish and with whom they wish to communicate.
Q: How much do you edit an accepted piece prior to publication?
A: Once the piece is accepted, I do a close reading for anything I might have missed. Generally, if the changes are minor, I make them without comment. Occasionally, I may ask someone to rewrite or ask if we can make a change. I respect the writer's vision, though, so I prefer not to tamper with it. Format, however, must conform to both the print and the online edition guidelines regarding tabs and justification.