Advice from Fiction Judge
1. What is the first thing that attracts you to someone’s work?
I'm most attracted to a writer's immediate stylistic voice: the way they use language to present a unique and vivid vantage point on the world.
2. What are the other key elements that you look for in a poem or story?
I admire writers who use a light touch and infuse their work with a ready sense of play.
3. When you are considering a piece of writing for a contest like Short Grain, how do you handle different styles, such as experimental versus more formal or traditional?
I try to imagine each writer's intention with a piece, and then how well it meets that promise. But all contests are also about the fickle preferences of its jury: there are things I'm instinctively drawn to or away from, no matter how much I try to restrain these reflexes. Never read too much into one judge's opinion!
4. What advice would you give to an emerging writer?
Keep your expenses low. Write often, try to finish things, every submission is another roll of the dice.
5. Established writers have to face rejection too. What advice would you give to them(us)?
If you want to be a writer for your whole life then try to keep that perspective: this is a long habit, a practice, a life.
Whatever it is, the way you tell your story online can make all the difference.