The deadline to submit to The Fall Line Review is quickly approaching. While I know this time of the semester is hectic for us all, I hope you will set aside a few minutes to submit your creative writing and artwork by the December 1st deadline. Submitting is quick and easy. Just visit our submission page and upload your work electronically at the bottom of the page.
Additionally, some students have asked about what the editorial staff is looking for during the review process. I’d like to take a few moments to share what catches our eye and what makes a work more or less desirable as we’re reviewing it.
The Fall Line Review seeks works that showcase your unique voice and style. We want the publication to include the diversity of culture, opinions, and world-views that makes the student body of Macon State so unique. We will not censor creative content, but we do have the obligation to our readers to deny works that promote blatant discrimination based on race, sexual orientation, gender, or religion.
Creative writing that is accessible, relevant, evokes emotion, is specific in detail, and is memorable stands out as superior to our staff. Works that are less desirable are those saturated in clichés or excessive grammatical errors or those that are too lengthy. I’ll explain below what I mean by each of these important writing traits:
A work that is accessible is one that speaks in a way that is easily understood to current generations. Kurt Vonnegut wrote in “How to Write with Style” that it’s important to “sound like yourself.” Embrace your age and geography. Your social and cultural environment is interesting and relevant. Writing that imitates antiquated language may present an interesting challenge, but if you write for today’s audience, your work will stand out.
Work that is relevant draws from our current cultural, social, and political environment. Works that tap into what it means to live and exist during the here and now make an impression on our staff.
3. Evokes Emotion
This can seem complicated, but it’s simple. A work that evokes emotion without being overly sentimental stands out. Sentiment is good in that it engrosses the reader. Being able to guide the reader to feel the emotions of a character gives depth and believability to the characters and your piece, which is a great thing. But going overboard with sentimentality takes the reader out of your story or poem because of excessive or inappropriate emotion. Specificity can aid to steer your work away from sentimentality. It’s important not to rely on emotion alone to drive your piece.
The details make the piece. In writing, there is nothing more that draws in the reader than specific examples of what is being written about. Give your characters specific likes and dislikes to make them pop from the page. Give details about the setting when applicable. Providing brand names can sometime tell a lot about a character. A cigarette or a Newport, his car or his Mercedes wagon, the bar or the High Dive—these small details can make your writing more exciting and engaging to your readers.
Here is an example:
She sat under a tree.
She rested under a dying pecan tree.
Details that are usually overlooked can provide the specificity needed to set the tone so that less explanation is needed later. Mary Hood, a Georgian southern fiction writer, makes use of specificity when describing abandoned strip malls and parking lots in her works. Being specific lends to a more memorable piece.
Here’s the fun part. Take chances. Be inventive and tell a story you haven’t heard before. Make it fun, dangerous, complicated, passionate. Write from a strange perspective. Give your characters odd qualities and interests. Real life and real people are strange, embrace that and give your story the punch it needs to resonate with our staff. Writing that is memorable will stir in the mind long after being read.
The Fall Line Review staff looks forward to seeing the creative content all of you will soon send in.
Content Editor, The Fall Line Review 2012-13