Editorial Preferences in Fiction: John Chakravarty

Reading submissions for Superstition Review allowed me to think about the stories I love to read. I’ve found that the best stories have a character I can connect with, and also an interesting problem.

There are so many elements that can make a piece of writing good. The first thing that comes to mind is characterization, which means creating round characters, with both internal and external struggles, and a full life that exists outside the page. My sister says that when she finishes a good book, she sometimes misses the characters and the time that she’s spent with them. One of my professors will always remind us in class not to say the word character, because writers are actually creating souls.

But it’s not enough to have an interesting character sitting in a room doing nothing. What makes a character truly endearing and relatable is their problems and how they choose to deal with them. Even Nick Carroway and Jay Gatsby without their dramatic love affairs would likely not hold a reader’s attention very long.

This is where I feel we get the human experience: when we read about someone relatable that has a problem foreign to us. Or someone that is completely foreign to us, and how they’ve overcome their problems (or not). Stories are about what a character wants and what they are willing to go through to get it. These struggles create an empathetic connection between the reader and the outside world.

Scientific American recently highlighted a study that found reading literary fiction helps young students to learn empathy. The experiment presented young groups with various types of reading; literary fiction, genre fiction, nonfiction, and nothing. The young readers that read literary fiction were significantly stronger at inferring others’ thoughts and emotions. Through seeing someone else’s trials and tribulations, a person is able to learn better how to interpret other people.

Interesting souls with interesting problems create the basis of fiction that empathetically moves readers. These are the kinds of stories that I love; stories that help to build an understanding of the world around us.

Fiction Editor for Issue 20 of Superstition Review

Bio: John Chakravarty is an undergraduate student at ASU majoring in English and Creative Writing. He is the Fiction Editor at Superstition Review. He also interns at Four Chambers Press reading submissions. When he graduates he hopes to write, edit, and publish for the comic book industry.

Contributor Update: Anthony Varallo

Hey everybody! We have some great news today that’s been some time in the making: past contributor  Anthony Varallo, featured in the Fiction section of our 5th issue, has a new short story collection titled Everyone Was There, out now from Elixir Press. You can read the title story of the collection here, and when you’re finished, go ahead and grab the rest of the collection at this link hereEveryone Was There was the recipient of the Elixir Press 2016 Fiction Award, and we here at Superstition Review could not be any happier than to have been there along the way to this wonderful accomplishment.

Buy this book!

Everyone Was There, the new collection of short stories out from Elixir Press, written by past contributor Anthony Varallo.

Contributor Update: Hannah Lee Jones

Hey there, folks! We’re proud as all get out to announce that past contributor Hannah Lee Jones was recently featured on Copper Canyon Press’ Official Facebook Page as part of their #MeetTheInternMonday segment. The whole Q&A can be viewed here. Hannah Lee Jones’ work was featured in the Poetry section of our 16th issue, and can be read here. Jones is also responsible for the blog Primalschool.org, a wonderful community resource for poets and writers pursuing their craft outside of the MFA system. Check out her work and her website as well, and drop us a line in the comments section below!

Hannah Lee Jones

Past contributor Hannah Lee Jones, who was recently featured in Copper Canyon’s #MeetTheInternMonday segment, is also responsible for Primalschool.org.

Contributor Update: Patricia Clark

Hello everybody! We here at Superstition Review are pleased to bring a bit of follow-up news regarding past contributor Patricia Clark (featured in the Poetry section of our  7th, 8th, and 17th issues) and her brilliant new book, titled “The Canopy.” Clark was interviewed by WYCE 88.1, a local radio station in Grand Rapids, as part of their Electric Poetry series, while “The Canopy” was recently reviewed by Cultured.GR, an art blog based in Grand Rapids.  The entire review can be read here, and while you’re at it, do yourself a big favor and listen to the interview here. Patricia Clark’s “The Canopy,” out now from Terrapin Books, can be purchased here. Do yourself a favor and check out “The Canopy” and see for yourself what all the hype is about!

Buy this book! Tell yr friends!

The beautifully rendered cover for The Canopy, out this year from Terrapin Books.

Contributor Update: Meghan McClure and Michael Schmeltzer

Greetings, dear readers! We here at Superstition Review are pleased to provide a double dose of good news: two of our past contributors, Meghan McClure and Michael Schmeltzer, have collaborated on a new book coming this June from Black Lawrence Press, titled A Single Throat Opens. Schmeltzer’s work was featured in the Poetry sections of both our 6th and 10th issues, while McClure’s work was featured in the Poetry section of our 6th issue and the Nonfiction section of our 18th issue. Preorder the book here, and check out both of these fine writers’ work out in our Archives (links here, here, here, and here)! Let us know what you think in the comments section below.

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The cover art for “A Single Throat Opens,” by past contributors Meghan McClure and Michael Schmeltzer.

Contributor Update: Roy Guzman

Good afternoon, everybody! Today brings exciting developments from the field: past contributor Roy Guzman, featured in the Poetry section of our 18th issue, has been selected to have his poetry included in the brand new anthology from Tia Chucha Press, titled The Wandering Song: Central American Writing in the United States. The anthology is scheduled for release this month, and was edited by Leticia Hernández Linares, Rubén Martínez, and Héctor Tobar, with a foreword by Juan José Dalton. Go pre-order this brilliant collection of work here, and do yourself a favor (if you haven’t already) and go read Guzman’s poem in our 18th issue here. Let us know what you think in the comments section below!

Pre-order now!

The cover for The Wandering Song, featuring the work of past contributor Roy Guzman.

 

Contributor Update: Come Together With Mary Sojourner

Good afternoon, everybody! Today, we are excited to announce that past contributor Mary Sojourner, featured in the Fiction section of both our 3rd and 10th issue, will be teaching a women’s writing circle at Changing Hands Bookstore in Tempe this Sunday, April 2, from 1:30 pm to 3:00 pm. Details can be found here. This wonderful opportunity coincides with a reading/book signing of Mary’s new book “The Talker,” out now from Torrey House Press. The price of admission is just purchasing a copy of “The Talker,” so if you’re at the reading and want your copy signed, joining the writing circle is a breeze! Come through, hear selections from “The Talker,” and come together as part of our wonderful writing community!

Go to this reading, buy this book!

The cover of Mary Sojourner’s new book “The Talker.”