The One-Eyed Monster. Not Quite a Dragonfly. The Upside-Down Man.
The titles promise a world flipped around, where reality tumbles and the truth surprises. The first lines pull you in and the rest of the stories unfold with fantastic and futuristic twists.
It can mean only one thing: a new edition of Spaceports & Spidersilk has hit the internet. So it’s perfect that Word Crushes next interview is with Marcie Tentchoff, Editor of Spaceports & Spidersilk–an online fantasy and science fiction magazine for readers 8 and older (part of the Sam’s Dot Publishing lineup of magazines, novellas, and novels).
What do you look for in a story? Are there any specific types of stories or plots that you wish writers would send you?
I look for strong, well-written stories with plots and characters younger readers can relate to. Tween or teen characters and viewpoints help. A speculative (sf or fantasy) element is required. I never get enough good science fiction stories. Conflict and conflict resolution are important. Make it a real, complete story. Try to send in work that will be accessible to readers of nine or ten, but still appeal to older readers.
Why would you pass on a story?
There are a lot of reasons why I’d pass on a story. Lack of a speculative element is an automatic rejection. Too often I receive pieces about fantasy or science fiction rather than pieces actually written in those genres. Don’t give me a good poem or story, then tell me at the end that the speculative element was all in the characters’ heads or all a dream. Don’t give me a poem about how much we wish for real magic, give me a poem where magic is real.
What can writers do to make your job easier?
Read the guidelines. Please. And take them to heart. Then read a lot of stories and books aimed at readers in our age range.
What do you enjoy the most about editing Spaceports and Spidersilk?
I love it when the occasional gem comes in to my slush pile, a piece that grabs at my emotions and makes me smile, or laugh, or cry, or where wit rings through every paragraph. It’s a great feeling to read something I love and think, “yes, this will be in the next issue.” And then I love handing that piece to my kids to read.
Who are some of your favorite authors and why?
My list of favorite authors would be far too long. Some recent middle grade and YA authors I enjoy are Tamora Pierce, Patrick Ness, Holly Black, Suzanne Collins, Rick Riordan, Sarah Prineas, and Derek Landy. All of these writers have the ability to tell great stories, ones that can draw readers in and keep them reading, spellbound, until the book’s end.
Any changes coming to Spaceports and Spidersilk this year?
I may be playing more with loosely themed issues. we’ll see.
Questions for Marcie? Leave a comment .
This sounds like a wonderful magazine. I have submitted a story that I hope fits!
Great interview. I love Marcie’s list of favorite middle grade authors. They’re my favorites too.
I’ve worked with Marcie twice for stories I had in Spaceports and Spidersilk. She’s great to work with. In fact, Marcie gave me my first short story publication ever, so she holds a special place in my heart.
Thanks for stopping by Word Crushes! And you’re right: Marcie is a pleasure to work with.