When I’m reading submissions, I’m searching for a writer who trusts their own voice and their grip on the craft. I’m looking for work that feels fresh and wildly new, that feels like no other author could have written this particular piece, that makes the familiar deliciously unfamiliar and unique. I want characters who bounce off the page and sound, talk, and act like fully fleshed out people whom I might someday meet—or might not want to meet. I’m hoping to truly “see” the setting and note how lush and immersive it is. I want to smell, taste, and touch the world the writer has created around me. When reading submissions, I often find pieces that contain one element that’s really working—setting, for example—but I’m really looking for a consummately well-crafted piece, something that transcends its subject matter, that is an undeniable yes.
—Jennifer Maritza McCauley, fiction editor, Pleiades
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