An Interview with Jack Fisher
by Grady Hanrahan
Fiction Submissions – Jack Fisher has had fiction published in over forty magazines. His most recent sales include The Fractal, The Blue Lady, Black Moon, Shadowland, Dread, Frightnet and E-scape. He is the senior editor of Flesh and Blood: Quiet Tales of Dark Fantasy & Horror.
Q: What are the main criteria for a “good” fiction submission?
As an editor, I look for stories that have all of the following in them: a smooth, clean writing style, a unique, fresh and powerful idea, and, for Flesh and Blood, stories that are very dark with a heavy emphasis on the supernatural and the fantastic with elements of magic in them.
Q: What do you dislike most about fiction submissions?
I can’t stand it when a story is sent to me without a word count, an address and when cover letters are written in lower case. How do you expect me to take your submission seriously? How am I supposed to know what to pay you without a word count and where I am going to send it? What also irks me is when the writer pays no attention to my guidelines. I ask for horror, dark fantasy and fantasy stories, NOT SCIENCE FICTION AND NON-GENRE STORIES.
Q: What are the qualities of a “good” fiction editor?
I believe that when a fiction editor takes the time to comment on why the story was rejected makes for a “good” fiction editor. I also believe that a patient and friendly person make for a good editor; someone who wouldn’t mind editing a submission to make it a little better or suggesting other outlets for it.
Q: What are your writing habits, if any?
I prefer writing fiction, especially vignettes. My work is usually laced with some sort of the supernatural, magic and dark, dark fantasy. It’s what I read and it’s what I seek for Flesh and Blood.
Q: What advice do you have for beginning fiction writers?
Practice. Practice a lot. When you’re done writing something, put it away for a few weeks then take it out again, blow the dust off of it and re-read it; you’ll find many mistakes and notice a lot of things you’ll want changed. Never give up. It sounds trite, but it’s true. Send your work to as many markets as you can. Share your work with others. There are many groups out there that offer free critiques that can help a lot! Prepare for the worst. Don’t feel bad when rejected. Stephen King threw away his Carrie manuscript after a slew of rejections until his wife, Tabitha, fished it out of the garbage and pushed him to keep trying. Also prepare for those certain editors who are touch when they decide to offer criticism.
Be courteous. Don’t snap back at editor’s because they chose not to accept your work like I used to do when I started submitting to fiction markets. It’s a turnoff. If they do decide to publish you, send them a letter of thanks to show that you appreciate it and that you’re grateful.
© Grady Hanrahan 1999