Dear Storywriters, Storyhearers, and Pythonians,
The Summer 2013 reading session is over. To those who submitted, wonderful work so far. We’re still evaluating your pieces and will come to a decision. To those who didn’t submit, shame, forsakenness, misdeed upon your household! Or your wifi. Whichever affects you more.
You can always submit to our fine little literary magazine at firstname.lastname@example.org. If you missed the deadline for the Summer 2013 issue, why not submit for the Fall 2013 issue?
Do it. This is a warranted challenge. So is the following:
As we run from attack dogs and march in tune, we realize that submitting work is a tough process. It’s equitable to raising children and sending them off into the world to get jobs—except your children can get rejected and you have to revise them to make them perfect.
Sounds pretty dystopian to me.
But it’s what writers do. All storytellers need to strive to find their medium. We don’t all have the honor of telling our tales to a tribe by the fireside in the desert. We don’t all have enthusiastic grandchildren who honor us with their ears. What we do have is the Internet.
The first magazine I successfully submitted to, Postcard Shorts, is a sweet affair with remote flash fictions that take your mind away for a few minutes, roughly. It’s an enjoyable publication and a reminder of why we write. Escape. A chance to travel to a new world, one not too far away but not so subtly in an inaccessible dimension.
That’s a lie. We submit to become famous. You want to be in an echelon where strangers will glorify your work and your friends will say, “Wow, I grew up with that chick, and now she’s a famous novelist/ short story writer/ poet? I really suck.” However, you can always relieve non-writer friends by reminding them that your pay affords the pens and paper you write with.
So escape and fame. What else? Here’s a thought: we’re all writing to concoct the same dream with different pieces, chemicals, people. A complete story, with a beginning, middle, and end (unless you’re one of those absurdist-surrealist compatriots, and to you I say write on). Detective solves a mystery. Lovers solve the mystery of love. Gloomy poets solve the mystery of isolation with more isolation. It’s completeness we seek; passengers on the same boat, towards the same lonely island, we take up different cabins believing we’re original.
Can you submit before the vicious dog reaches the fence in three seconds?
Yes. Absolutely yes.
Remember that even though our songs sound different, they follow the same tune. Go buy yourself some caviar, you peasant. You’ve earned it.
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