Our Issue 9 Fiction Editor Sarah Murray shared these thoughts about the editorial process.
What was your favorite piece?
“The Ruins” by Elizabeth Rollins. The details in her story were so vivid and poetic. I saw a vast humanity in her desert imagery.
Where there any submissions that you would have liked to include but you weren’t able to?
There were several. There was one about a little girl, set in India, that really left an impression on me. I think it was her agency that attracted me.
How do the editors choose which submissions to publish?
Submissions were honed through a voting process, and after we had figured out which ones got the most responses from our editorial staff (Fiction had 4), we would have a round-table discussion about each one. We really do pay a lot of attention to each submission.
Were there times that you just knew that a piece was perfect for SR?
Yes. Those are the pieces that, when you read, you can’t shake them for days afterwards.
What were some of the common pitfalls of the submissions that were not selected?
That’s actually a really hard question to answer, because a lot of the submissions we received were very different from each other. We did receive quite a few pieces that we did not feel were fully developed yet, and at that point it’s really easy to decide that it’s not the right time to publish, both for Superstition Review and the author.
What was the strangest submission you read/reviewed?
In the realm of fiction, there isn’t really a lot that I would consider strange, because it’s an arena where anything goes. Otherwise, it’s not art.
Please sum up what you’ve gained from your internship this semester. Do you feel like you have a better grasp on editing? Literary magazines? Why?
This internship was my first experience with literary magazines from the inside. I know what it’s like to submit to one, but it’s comforting to now know what goes on behind the scenes. You learn how to navigate your audience better, working for one. It was definitely a great experience.
How has editing impacted your own writing?
Reading always affects writing, and I’ve read more literary fiction through this internship than I had before.
What were some of the obstacles you faced in preparing for Issue 9?
Mostly it was just the decisions on which stories to publish and which ones you had to say “no” to. Those were really, really difficult decisions.