Here on Daily (w)rite, as part of the guest post series, it is my pleasure today to welcome Alyssa Songsiridej, the current editor-in-chief at Storyscape Journal who responds to various questions on writing for magazines, and the magazine she edits.
1. What drives the Storyscape Journal? What are your plans for its future?
Practically speaking, Storyscape is driven by our all-volunteer staff! Our mission is to provide a unique space for unusual writing that does not fit into traditional publishing categories. This is why we publish as Truth, Untruth, and We Don’t Know and They Won’t Tell Us. We plan to continue highlighting great work and hopefully do another print anthology.
2. What do you look for in a story you accept for publication?
We’re looking for stories with unusual energy, especially great writing that might be overlooked or underrepresented in the current publishing landscaping. We tend to be drawn to voice, to stories told through the author’s particular lens. We may not care if the story has been told before, if it is told in a new way.
3. Please link us to a few of your favorite pieces at the Storyscape Journal.
Hard to pick with so much great work! But some of my personal favorites include C.E. Shue’s piece, “Someone to Watch Over Me”
4. As an editor, how do you work with writers to help shape their story? What are the various stages of editing?
My goal is always to help the author achieve their own mission or vision. I know, as an editor, that there are sometimes parts of a piece that I might be missing, and try to trust the author. I may ask the author questions about certain parts, the way I would as a student (I used to teach creative writing) but defer to the author’s final decision.
5. You’re a writer yourself. How does that inform your reading as an editor?
Honestly, I think my reading as an editor is less informed by my own writing than with my experience teaching. You learn how to respond to the energy in the piece, to really pay attention to what’s there.
6. What books/ stories have you recently read that you would recommend to the readers of Daily (w)rite, and why?
I recently read Ariana Reines’ fantastic book of poetry, The Sand Book, lyric poetry for the Twitter age. I love the size and breadth and ambition of the book, that it can’t be neatly contained. Also recommending Ma Ling’s Severance to everyone I know. Funny, smart, sad, never seen a book that defies expectations and expertly uses proper nouns.
7. Are you more comfortable with writing short fiction or a novel? In your opinion, how are the two different?
I don’t know if I’m particularly comfortable writing either. Maybe I’m most comfortable with drafting a novel, because you don’t have to keep entering a new voice. With short stories, you have almost no room for error. Every word choice, every sentence has the correct resonance because there are fewer words. Novels are much messier, in a good way, and energetically chaotic.
8. Your stories have been widely published, and you’ve been honored with various grants. To an aspiring writer, what would be your advice regarding: a. Submissions for magazines b. Grant and Fellowship Applications
a. For magazines, read the magazine! Find the magazines that fit your writing by paying attention to where the writers you like are getting published. Then submit, be persistent. Seek rejection like it feeds you.
b. For Grant and Fellowship Applications, be organized. Subscribe to a listserv or newsletter that publishes regular deadlines and add them to your Google Calendar.
9. Link us to some of your published stories, so that readers new to your work may find you.
“A Brief History of Touch” – The Offing
Alyssa Songsiridej is a writer and editor living in Cambridge, MA. Her work can be found or is forthcoming at StoryQuarterly, The Offing, and Columbia: A Journal of Literature and Art, and has been honored by the Ucross Foundation, the VCCA , the Ragdale Foundation, the Vermont Studio Center, and the Kimmel Harding Nelson Center for the Arts. You can find her on her Twitter & Website
Have you been writing for magazines? Do you subscribe to any fiction or non-fiction magazines? Have you read the Storyscape Journal?
It is available in India here.
Reviews are appreciated–please get in touch if you’d like a review copy.