Last month I had the honor of being featured in Sapling, the weekly newsletter of Black Lawrence Press.
Sapling is a subscription-based newsletter dedicated to showcasing small presses and journals (details and subscription options can be found here.) It’s an excellent resource for writers that includes open submission calls, interviews, and more. My interview as RwA founding editor is reprinted below, with permission.
Sapling: What should people know who may not be familiar with Riddled with Arrows?
Shannon Connor Winward: Riddled with Arrows is an online literary journal dedicated to metafiction and metapoems (ars poetica), and writing that celebrates the process and product of writing as art. We are zealously writer-friendly: we offer a modest payment for contributors, a super-fast turnaround on fee-free submissions and—when possible and warranted—a personal note for rejected work.
Sapling: How did your name come about?
SCW: The journal takes its name from “Poetry,” a poem by Pablo Neruda:
“…and I wrote the first faint line,
faint, without substance, pure
of someone who knows nothing,
and suddenly I saw
with arrows, fire and flowers,
the winding night, the universe.”
Sapling: What do you pay close attention to when reading submissions? Any deal breakers?
SCW: Riddled with Arrows exclusively publishes metafiction/poetry and writing about writing. You could submit the most stunning piece of writing we’ve ever read, but if it is not about writing, or at least self-referential in some way, we can’t use it.
Sapling: Where do you imagine Riddled with Arrows to be headed over the next couple years? What’s on the horizon?
SCW: Right now we’re working towards sustainability. Riddled with Arrows is a passion project that is entirely writer-funded—we have been blessed with a wide network of writers and linguaphiles whose financial support has launched us into our second year—but we are hoping to generate enough in-house income to keep paying contributors for years to come, and maybe even raise our contributors’ rates.
Content-wise, we are very interested in the interactive nature of web design as it can be applied to literature. We’ve been dabbling in hypertext and embedded effects that enhance the reading experience—we definitely want to do more of that. The focus of Riddled will always be the writing, but we’ve got some fun interactive projects in the queue.
Sapling: As an editor, what is the hardest part of your job? The best part?
SCW: The hardest part comes at the very end of the selection process when I have to choose which of my favorites to put in an issue and which to set free. It’s always painful to say no to something wonderful that just doesn’t fit, for whatever reason. The best part, though, is seeing that finished product, and admiring the way all the selected works fit together to complete an issue. Particularly when Ro, our Design Editor, starts working her magic to make the words come alive on the site–it always surpasses my original vision. With all of the administrative work that goes into producing a journal, even an online one, it’s easy to get overwhelmed and lose sight of why we decided to do this—but that moment when it finally comes together makes it all worthwhile.
Sapling: If you were stranded on a desert island for a week with only three books which books would you want to have with you?
SCW: An anthology of world poetry, a blank notebook, and the fattest dictionary I can find.
Sapling: Just for fun (because we like fun and the number three) if Riddled with Arrows was a person what three things would it be thinking about obsessively?
SCW: Which journals are opening/closing to subs this week, a better word than “perspicacious” in the penultimate line of that poem, and whether coffee is the source of or the solution to all these strange somatic symptoms…
Shannon Connor Winward is the author of the Elgin-award winning chapbook, Undoing Winter and winner of the 2018 Delaware Division of the Arts Emerging Artist Fellowship in Literature. Her work has appeared in Fantasy & Science Fiction, Analog, Lunch Ticket, The Pedestal Magazine, Minola Review, The Monarch Review, Qu, Literary Mama, Rivet, and elsewhere.www.shannonconnorwinward.com