Making a magazine? Part 3

In this final part of our series on magazine production, we consider the question ‘what do we want the magazine to be’? What sort of writing would we like to see in it?

Obviously each magazine and each editor will be looking for something that chimes personally with them, and sometimes that’s different with each of our editorial team!


From the particular point of view of Confluence, we would like the writer to have a clear idea of what they want the poem/story to be about. We want stories that go somewhere, or pieces where the language is so evocative you forget that they don’t.


We want to read poetry or prose that’s true and has done what we think the writer intended, or something different that has brilliant unintended consequences. Make sure your piece is finished, one of the most common reasons for rejection is that the piece is 80% there, but needed a thorough edit before sending, to clarify ideas. We receive a lot of poems that would actually be better as two or three poems. Remember, you’re writing for print, rather than performance where you can get away with linking two or three ideas.


Edit out extraneous language, especially in poems with a rhyme scheme. We also dislike words and phrases that have been so overused that they’ve become clichés – things like, azure blue, gibbous moon, and anything that’s ethereal!


Advice to contributors

Read the magazine beforehand. You can listen to some of our writers reading their submissions in later issues, and there are extracts in the Writer Interview and Q and A section. You can buy single issues or subscribe at Wordsmithery’s website.


Don’t submit things that don’t fit the magazine. There’s no point in sending work that, though it might be well written, is not appropriate to the magazine, eg, we recently received a nicely written chick-lit story, but it was just not  the sort of thing we’d put in Confluence.


Be professional about your submissions. We don’t like work that has been incorrectly formatted, or is full of typos. This goes for all magazines you might submit to. If they ask for an anonymous submission, don’t put your name on it. If they ask for a 50 word bio, then keep it to 50 words. Keep a spreadsheet so you don’t resubmit the same thing - we are looking for original content, so please don't send us things that have been published elsewhere!


We want to read and discover new writers, so do keep sending us your writing, even if you’ve been turned down, sometimes it takes perseverance to get attuned to what the magazine needs and likes.

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