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Read all the editors' answers to Duotrope's interview question: What is the best advice you can give people who are considering submitting work to your publication? Learn more.
Here is a small sampling from our recent Editor Interviews. We have interviewed over 1,625 editors.
Q: What is the best advice you can give people who are considering submitting work to your publication?
A: Write from the heart. All good letters begin with that. Also, refrain from hateful, derogatory, or damaging language. WSLM is not a home for that kind of work.
A: Be true to yourself and write! We are always open to submissions for our online magazine "Doorway to Art" where we feature poets, writers, artists and other creative people, we publish poems, short stories, art photography and art.
A: 1. Read the previous winners.
2. Make sure the readers will know what the story is about by the end of the first paragraph.
3. Convey information accurately and concisely: don't be afraid to "tell". Many of the best stories begin with simple declarations of their content; for instance, Joyce Carol Oates's story "Where is Here?" begins, "For years they had lived without incident in their house in a quiet residential neighborhood when, one November evening at dusk, the doorbell rang, and the father went to answer it, and there on his doorstep stood a man he had never seen before."
4. Be exact and specific: "Fundamental accuracy of statement is the one sole morality of writing."
5. Set your story in an interesting micro-world; if the story is about a couple arguing then it may be more fun if they're at a glass blowing class than if they're at their kitchen table drinking coffee.
6. As Kurt Vonnegut said, "To Hell with suspense," by which I think he meant that you shouldn't withhold key information. Don't tease the reader; if it matters, and the viewpoint characters know about it, the reader should know about it too. Suspense comes from giving us the facts and making us care what will happen, not by keeping us guessing.
7. Be clear about the subject matter; be ambiguous about the theme.
8. Whatever the story is about must really matter to the characters, even if it wouldn't matter to anyone else.
9. Don't waste words on facial expressions or small movements; who cares whether a character blinks or scratches her ear?
10. The reason we read is to be less lonely. Write about the secret stuff we're all too ashamed to discuss. Create humans that are duplicitous, craven, and helpless, but treat them with love and compassion. As W.H. Auden said, "The desires of the heart are as crooked as corkscrews," but as Michel Houellebecq wrote at the end of Atomised, "Tortured, contradictory, individualistic, quarrelsome, [the human race] was capable of extraordinary violence, but nonetheless never quite abandoned a belief in love."
A: Be familiar with the previous issues, of course, but also read more broadly within the scope of your own preoccupations. We're not interested in sitting with what has worked for us in the past, so send us something new, and make it interesting. Take some risks in your submission.
A: We accept work that makes our readers think AND feel. It is important to be relatable as much as possible. It is important that the writer be able to write and stand in their full truth of their own identity. Raising Mothers is more than a literary space; we treat it as a place for healing.
A: Check out that list of authors we like. Scroll through our list of contributors.
A: Two: Follow the guidelines and don't give up. You can submit to 41 different categories and have a 50/50 chance of publication into one of them. If you get a rejection, submit that first piece to another publisher of micro fiction, making the piece a little longer, and then write something new for us and send it.
A: Make sure you have edited it as thoroughly as possible. I like strong metaphors and poetry that says something, not just jumbles of images.
A: Don't fill the body of your email with a list of all your publication credits and literary accomplishments. In fact, don't talk about your personal or professional history at all, unless you want to provide the names of the mental hospitals where you've been involuntarily committed.
A: We get a lot of submissions, so please, at the least, take a look at what we've accepted in the past, and follow our guidelines. Make your query professional.
A: Read prior issues to get an idea of the art, poetry, and prose we gravitate toward and how we curate each issue by pairing and presenting works in ways that enhance their essence and reveal common threads that bind the universal experience of our shared humanity.
A: Keep it real. No flowery language required. Nothing lofty. Ground your ideas in the senses and don't tell the reader what to feel--let your imagery lead.