Filed under Blog Tours on May 23, 2007
Tagged: Christian Science Fiction and Fantasy blog tour, christianity, editors, theswordreview.com
As promised, I’ll conclude my contribution to this tour with the final part of my interview with Marcy Rockwell, one of the editors of The Sword Review.
Q: So, now you’re an editor for TSR. How did that come about?
MR: I’m friends with one of the poetry editors there, Marcie Lynn Tentchoff – we’re in a poetry group together. They needed help, and she asked me if I’d be interested. SR had published a bit of my poetry by this point, so I guess they trusted my judgment.
It’s been interesting being on the editorial side of the desk. You have to really think about why a poem does or doesn’t work – it’s not enough to say “I like it” or “Yikes, this is bad.” You also really gain an appreciation for how important it is to follow a publication’s guidelines.
Q: As an editor, what is your vision for the future of TSR?
MR: I’m a poetry editor, but I do also read and comment on fiction when I have time. I’d like to see more people submitting poetry – but they need to remember, SR publishes speculative work. If it’s a lovely sonnet praising God, that’s great, but we can’t use it. If it’s about aliens praising God, on the other hand… That being said, it’s extremely hard to do formal poetry well. If you have to make bizarre word choices just to get something to rhyme, don’t. Stick with free verse.
In terms of fiction, we’re pretty overstocked right now, so we’re being incredibly picky. People might want to hold off submitting anything until next year. For myself, I’d like to see work that has a Christian message without being preachy. And it seems like we never get enough science fiction.
Q: What do you look for when reviewing the slush pile?
MR: First – can the person follow directions? If it’s not an rtf file, for instance, or if they’ve put fifteen poems as one submission, that’s a mark against them.
For poetry – is it lyrical? Does it tell a story? Does it evoke emotion? I look for technical things, as well, especially for formal poetry, but if the answers to the first three questions are “no,” then I’m not likely to give it a thumbs-up, no matter how well the meter scans. As always, grammar and spelling count. Punctuation is a bit more flexible with poetry than fiction, but if you use it, use it correctly.
For fiction – how long is it? It’s a sad fact, but longer work has less of a chance, just because people don’t have a lot of time to read submissions. And sometimes we don’t have the budget for longer work, even if we like it.
Are there a lot of grammar/spelling/punctuation errors? If there are too many errors in the first few pages, I won’t read further. It’s the writer’s job to proofread, not the editor’s.
Is the story fresh, or can I guess the ending by the second page? Is it well-written, or full of cliches? Does the story pull me along, or do I have to force myself to finish it?
Even if it’s a great story, if it’s not speculative or if it goes against Christian morals, we can’t use it. We’ve rejected some work I really liked, because it just didn’t fit our publication. It pays to be familiar with the market you’re submitting to – any market, not just SR.
Q: Any other advice for hopeful writers submitting to TSR?
MR: Well, I think I pretty much covered it all in the last question. Read the magazine on-line – it’s free and it’s not hard on the eyes. That’s the best way to get a feel for what we like. That being said, don’t give us what we’re already publishing – we want your unique story, told in your voice.
So what are you waiting for? Send us something, already!
Thanks, Marcy. Don’t forget to visit the other stops on the tour:
- Brandon Barr
- Jim Black
- Amy Browning
- Jackie Castle
- Valerie Comer
- Karri Compton
- Frank Creed
- CSFF Blog Tour
- Gene Curtis
- D. G. D. Davidson
- Chris Deanne
- April Erwin
- Linda Gilmore
- Beth Goddard
- Marcus Goodyear
- Andrea Graham
- Russell Griffith
- Jill Hart
- Katie Hart
- Sherrie Hibbs
- Heather R. Hunt
- Becca Johnson
- Jason Joyner
- Dawn King
- Tina Kulesa
- Lost Genre Guild
- Kevin Lucia and The Bookshelf Reviews 2.0 – The Compendium
- Terri Main
- Rachel Marks
- Rebecca LuElla Miller
- Eve Nielsen
- John W. Otte
- John Ottinger
- Robin Parrish
- Cheryl Russel
- Hanna Sandvig
- Chawna Schroeder
- Mirtika Schultz
- Steve Trower
- Speculative Faith
- Jason Waguespac
- Daniel I. Weaver