Reviewing Pieces for Yorick Magazine
Dear you Crazy Diamonds,
I want to thank everyone who has submitted to Yorick Magazine as of now. It’s not easy submitting work to the painful scrutiny of others. That’s why I want to make this submission process a little more transparent than other magazines may. Whether this destroys the mystique that literary magazines carry is as precarious a consideration as to whether Philippa and Henry David Thoreau would make great friends.
First we take a submission and put it in a folder labeled “Season 20XX Manuscript.” We ensure that all submissions are gathered and placed in aggregate Word documents for easier viewing. Then, we give our courtesy to the writer, letting them know the submission was received. Seems fair enough.
It’s the deliberation that always villainizes the magazine. Here’s how we’re not villains.
When we review submissions, we don’t let a writer’s accolades precede their work. That doesn’t fly. A T-Rex that eats three Deinonychi will always be more formidable than a T-Rex who is reputed to have been able to eat four or five Deinonychi but gives of show of only eating two.
So no, reputation doesn’t cut it. What does “cut it” is quality. Good stories and good poems are determined by two deciding factors: 1) Their inherent quality and suitability to the reviewers’ tastes and 2) The quality of competing submissions. A short story may be magnificent, but if it’s fated to be matched with another short story that is 1.1% more magnificent, and both are deadlocked for the last position in the issue, then the least magnificent story probably won’t be accepted.
One component of this whole process is very important to illuminate: if all submissions are just plain terrible, then the issue won’t be produced. Standards are created for a reason. The prefixes “stand” and “stat” draw from the same meaning, which is something that remains and does not move. Some examples are statues and statutes. Immovable entities. Standards shouldn’t lower just because the content we receive is sub-par to what we usually publish.
Fortunately or unfortunately, all of the submissions we’ve gathered so far are maddeningly wonderful. It’s going to be hard to choose what goes into the Spring 2013 issue. Whatever is selected, just know that we’re picking diamonds from a glorious field of, well, diamonds – if that makes sense.
– Alex, Editor-in-Chief