Friday, 6 September 2013

Ficta Fabula

Today I'm joined by the lovely Darlene Poier, publisher of the excellent Ficta Fabula (and I'm not just saying that because Darlene has recently accepted one of my stories) Anyway, I'm sure you're more interested in what Darlene has to say about her publication and her advice for getting your work in there than you are my bragging, so I'll get on with it.

'Darlene, you're the person responsible for Ficta Fabula (previously Pages of Stories), can you tell us a little about that?' 
Thank you Patsy. This time around for Ficta Fabula, I’ve had the great good fortune to have my friend Laura Crowe edit this magazine. She took on that challenge with a tight time frame and did an excellent job. The editing process we go through is probably very similar to other magazines with a few notable exceptions. Because it takes a different skill set to write a short story than it does a novel or a novella, we also have to edit it a little differently. What I’ve noticed with many of the short stories we’ve published, is that a story can be completed in about 2,500 to 3,000 words. The challenge for the author is to ensure the entire story line is captured and completed within that word count, that there aren’t too many characters so that the ones that are there have enough time and space to be developed. So when I’ve edited in the past, I’ve looked for continuity of plot and character development. I’ve looked for redundancy in the setting of the environment and – even though it’s fiction – sometimes fact checking is still a part of this.

'What do you look for in a submission to the magazine?'
Any genre of fiction is accepted as long as the minimum word count is met. Interesting and unique characters work well in a short story and / or a well developed story line. What I want to give our readers is a quick fiction fix that will allow them to escape for a few minutes that day into another world where they don’t have to solve problems and can just enjoy the story unfold.

'Is there anything the writer should avoid doing if they want their story accepted?'
I really value correspondence with the authors that have submitted the stories. I like knowing a little something about the people that have sent their work to us and one of the things I ask is that if an author is considering submitting a story to Ficta Fabula, send an email requesting the guidelines. Because the guidelines can change at any time it’s really best to get the most current copy. This also allows for dialogue to start with the author. I know that many publishing companies can have a trying relationship with their authors, I’m determined to not be that way. Sometimes in the past I’ve received emails from potential authors with no message and just “guidelines request” in the subject line. I find that unprofessional and lazy.

'What's the most fun part of your job?' 
Definitely reading the stories! There is so much talent out there that it can be really challenging to whittle the stories down to 25 to send off to the story selection committee.  It’s a challenge I love.

'How can people download a copy of Ficta Fabula?'
There's both an Android app and an Apple app available. There will also be pdf and epub downloads available off the Ficta Fabula site sometime in the next few months. (You can download 'bits' which is a free taster, here)

'I believe there's a print version too?'
Yes, you can just send an email to info@pagesofstories if you want a printed version.

Darlene thought it only fair to allow her editor, Laura Crowe to reply too. That seems reasonable to me. So, Laura, Can you tell me a little about your job what do you look for in a submission?

Thanks, Darlene and Patsy. When editing for Ficta Fabula and my other clients, I look for several things: a story opener that catches the reader’s attention; well-developed characters that are real and use natural sounding dialogue; characters that act in ways that both fit their personalities and manage to surprise the reader, creating a interesting plot; an ending that resolves the story and gives the reader a sense of satisfaction, even if it’s a little open-ended; unnecessary words or scenes that detract from the main thrust of the story.

After I completed the editing for the July edition of Ficta Fabula, I communicated with each author, sending them an edited version of their story and answering any questions they had about the changes I had made. On the whole, the authors were very gracious and appreciative. It was a great experience and I am looking forward to doing it all again for the next edition!

18 comments:

  1. What a great interview. Thank you Darlene, Laura and Patsy!

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  2. Well done Patsy, and thank you to Darlene and Laura for revealing these fascinating insights.

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    1. It's good to have an insight into what's likely to appeal, isn't it, Anne.

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  3. Interesting insight, thanks. I haven't written many new short stories recently, maybe I should try my hand again.

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    1. No you shouldn't, Suzanne. I don't need any more competition!

      Er, I mean yes you should and good luck.

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  4. your never going to bag a Man with a mug like that miss collins!! LOL! glad i don't have to face that when i view my genetically blessed appearance in the mirror. LOL! oh dear darren palmer, to live inside your mind. go to a bloody DR, and make use of the script!. life is very short! GET OUT AND BLOODY WELL LIVE!

    :0)

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    1. Beatrix, I suspect the correct response to this is something like OMG! Whatevs ROFLAO lol!!!

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  5. Thank you Darlene and Patsy for this post. I will definitely be in contact with Darlene to learn more about Ficta Fabula guidelines and to look over recent issues - excellent name by the way!
    Congrats Patsy on your story acceptance too - when is it coming out?

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    1. Thanks, Tracy. It's in this current issue. If you look at 'bits' you can read the opening(of each story)

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  6. I hadn't heard of Ficta Fabula so will be checking it out! Thank you, Patsy :-)

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    1. It's new, Linda so you're excused not having heard of it until now.

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  7. Just had a look at the site and the stories seem pretty diverse. Looks like a good opportunity to try something different. Thanks for the interview and the link, Patsy.

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    1. Yes, there's a good mix of styles and genres, Keith.

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  8. Hi Patsy, Darlene and Laura .. interesting to read the criteria and note your comments about entries.

    I totally agree with the professional aspects to communication - so important in this day and age ..

    Good luck to all - cheers Hilary

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    1. I think I tend to be too strictly professional with emails, Hilary. If I meet someone, or even speak to them on the phone I'd say 'hello, how are you?' etc but with emails I tend to get straight down to business. Maybe it makes me seem rude?

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  9. Hi Patsy, I was reading your story the other day, the car boot one, good stuff, that's my kind of life. I've sent in a submission, so fingers crossed, and toes, and legs and everything else.

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Thanks so much for commenting!