Check out our latest YouTube video! Our Social Media Manager Roxanne Bingham took the time to sit down with Superstition ReviewFounding Editor Patricia Murphy and Hayden’s Ferry Review Supervising Editor Katherine Berta to give you some insider advice as the submission season begins.
Don’t miss the tips and tricks they discussed in this video, and don’t forget to submit your work to Superstition Review by August 31st for the chance to be featured in our 26th Issue!
We are proud to announce that the theme of Issue 26, our inaugural themed issue, is Social Justice. On behalf of Arizona State University and the College of Integrative Sciences and Arts, we have chosen to dedicate this issue to work that promotes inclusion and explores new ways to dismantle racial and social inequality. We believe in the importance of magnifying voices that have been traditionally undermined by our histories, institutions, policies, laws, and habits of daily life.
We hear you and are here for you on your journey to inspire change through art.
What Is Social Justice?
Social Justice is defined by the Oxford English Dictionary as “Justice in terms of the distribution of wealth, opportunities, and privileges within a society.” It is a movement for change to improve the lives of individuals who are not treated fairly or justly in our society. It is a choice to stand as a community in support of what we believe in.
We believe that everyone deserves an equal chance, regardless of their race, gender, sexuality, religion and any other part of who they are.
Being isolated in our homes gives us writers that sweet time we always crave to actually get some writing done. Personally, I’ve been reading through my old work, sprucing it up and sending it in to some of my favorite magazines. I might as well while I have the time, right?
One of the most helpful parts of being the Fiction Editor for Superstition Review this year has been learning what editors look for in writing. And since it’s been helpful for me, I thought it might be helpful for you! Here’s an insider’s look on the selection process here at Superstition Review.
The first thing I did as Fiction Editor was make a mistake. I linked my editor’s account on Submittable to my personal submissions account. That means, every time I opened Submittable to review submissions, the first thing I saw was all of my rejections for stories I’ve submitted over the years. For the first hundred stories, I felt like I owed it to every author to at least read their story all the way through, because that’s what I want for all of my stories. Soon enough, I was weeks behind on deadlines and extremely tired of reading every page of the stories that I didn’t enjoy. Thus, I learned my first lesson.
Lesson 1: It’s the first page or two that makes or breaks a story. If I’m bored early on, I will not read the rest. Make that first page captivating enough to make me read the second page, then make that page captivating enough to make me read the rest of the story. Otherwise, I do not have the time.
I started catching up, but I was still behind. Submissions poured in faster than I could read them. Our Founding Editor called me and gave me some new helpful advice. We are a magazine that does not read blind. That means we read your bio and cover letter before we read your story. Trust me, the bio and cover letter are more important than you may think.
Lesson 2: Don’t waste your editor’s time with your bio and cover letter. By all means, include a bio and cover letter, but this is a brief blurb about who you are, your degree if applicable, any major awards you’ve earned for your writing, and maybe where else you’re published. This is not your resume, your life story, or a list of your Boy Scout merit badges.
Finally, I had all my favorite stories picked out. I met with our Founding Editor and the Senior Fiction Editor, and we compared notes. Unsurprisingly, all three of us have different tastes in fiction, but none of us caved to the others. We fought for the fiction we liked, and, in the end, we all left happy. This lesson is a stretch, but bare with me.
Lesson 3: Your story doesn’t have to be universal. I feel I have to address this because lots of literature is praised for being universal. There are plenty of good niche stories out there, and they are all the better because they aren’t forced to appeal to everyone. We all fought for the stories we felt the strongest about, and we all had our absolute favorites published.
I’m really proud of the upcoming fiction section in Superstition Review. The authors who wrote the stories we’re publishing should be proud as well. The authors of the stories that didn’t make the cut but were counted among our favorites should be proud. Everyone who submitted should be proud that they put their work out there.
Lesson 4: Keep writing, keep submitting, keep aiming for publication in your favorite magazines. Every time I logged on to Submittable to review new fiction submissions, I saw all of my rejections from over the years. Honestly, I was proud of them. That’s how many times I’ve put myself out there with stories I was proud of.
Keep up the good work! And thanks for a fantastic submission season.
Back in the dial-up day, before there were so many online literary magazines and publishing resources, I used to scroll through the Call for Submissions in the print version of Poet and Writers, looking for anthology themes as a means to find inspiration to start writing about something, anything. Now the calls for submissions flood my Facebook and Twitter feed, entangled between the endless calls to sign petitions, dogs howling at TV videos, and the tiresome parenting memes. The expediency of posts is overwhelming. At night, my dreams are filled with so many imaginary Instagram and Snapchat images, I feel unmotivated and unable to write notes in my dream journal.
This past week, on a day when I thought things couldn’t become even more bleak at work, they did. Then a call for submission flashed by with the theme: A World in Pain. Seemed like a twisted moment of fate.
But I did not want to address this theme about our World in Pain since that has seemed to be our country’s mantra since the last presidential election. The dogs and I took the easy way out and we left for a walk.
When I returned from the walk, for some stubborn reason I decided to tackle this unpleasant theme, but not in my usual creative nonfiction form, but as a migrating bird flying from Canada to Mexico, flying over those borders with relative ease, free of the Facebook and Twitter feeds, the endless news on TV and radio. At times, the effects of climate change made the journey more difficult, and the bird learned to be on the lookout for the elderly, who have already endured a life time of personal tragedy, leaving them less grief-stricken and immobilized, and more enthusiastic about the arrival of the birds.
Then the short story ended and I felt a little better about life.
Until I submitted the story and discovered that the magazine had closed their fiction submissions early, perhaps even at the very moment I tried to send the story, because just the day before, I could have submitted the story, had I not decided to sleep on it first. Perhaps this was their own personal twist to their theme of pain.
And then, just like that, another call for submission emerged with a climate change theme, and that bird flew off for another migration while my submission now enters a form of hibernation.
We are happy to share news that Iron City Magazine is currently accepting submissions for their third issue.
Iron City Magazine is, as put by Jessica Fletcher — former Superstition Review Intern and Iron City Magazine’s fiction editor — a “journal devoted entirely to writing and art from the prison world.”The journal publishes these works to help show that prisoners are not solely defined by their crimes, but are human also. Submissions are limited to current and former inmates, prison volunteers, and staff.
The submission deadline is April 15th, 2018.
Iron City Magazine can also be supported through donation here.
For greater detail about Iron City Magazine’s mission and submission guidelines visit the Iron City Magazine’s website.
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.
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.
Chocolate and Art Show Phoenix is seeking both attendees and artists! Chocolate and Art Show is one of the biggest underground art shows in Phoenix. It boasts over 1,500 attendees per show. As they say, “There is something for everybody, including live body painting, live music, face-painting, and free chocolate!”
The show will take place on Thursday, September 14 and Friday, September 15. It will go from 8pm until 2am both nights. It will take place at The Monorchid Gallery (214 E Roosevelt Street, Phoenix, AZ 85004). You must be 21+ to attend. Tickets can be bought via Eventbrite, ranging from $5 to $15 depending on time of purchase. They can also be bought at the door for $20.
If you’re an artist, the show is also still accepting art submissions of all mediums! Artists can sell their artwork at the show for 100% commission. If you’re interested, email ChocolateAndArt@gmail.com or fill out this form.
A warm welcome on this warm afternoon, everybody! Today, Superstition Review is proud beyond reason to announce that former intern Elijah Matthew Tubbs, who was with us for the Fall of 2015 and the Spring of 2016, was recently featured by the good folks over at Passages North, an annual literary journal sponsored by Northern Michigan University, with his poem titled “In through a Door, out a Window.” Elijah is the founder of ELKE “a little journal,” which you can check out here, and his poem over at Northern Passages can be read here. Our congratulations to Elijah, and to our dear readers, stay posted for further updates on the successes of the staff and contributors of Superstition Review.
Good afternoon, dear readers! We here at Superstition Review are thrilled to announce that past contributor Jennifer Givhan, who was featured in the Poetry section of our 14th issue, has won the 2017 Blue Light Books Prize for her collection “Girl With Death Mask.” Says contest judge Ross Gay “How many times I found myself looking into space, sort of shaken, sort of grasping, turning and turning inside a line or phrase, inside an image or metaphor, inside some devastating music while reading these poems, I do not know. But again and again. Put it like that. These poems beautifully, convincingly do what I hope poems might–they disrupt what I know, or what I thought I knew. And in that way they invent for me a world. A world haunted and brutal, yes. But one mended, too, by the love and tenderness and vision and magic by which these poems are made.” The winning collection will be published in 2018 by Indiana University Press, but you can get a taste of Givhan’s work now, by checking out her poem here.
Morning, readers! Today we’ve got a spectacular bit of news: past contributor Victor Lodato, who was featured in the Interviews section of our 8th issue (which can be read here), has published his newest novel, titled “Edgar & Lucy,” out now from St. Martin’s Press. Hailed by the New York Times as a “riveting and exuberant ride,” Lodato’s novel can be purchased here. Do yourself a favor and read the novel Lodato spent ten years in the making, and see for yourself exactly why we here at Superstition Review think that “Edgar & Lucy” is destined to be your new favorite book.