Insider Tips: Lori M. Myers

Insider Tips is a recurring series in which members of our reading panel and editorial staff share advice about submitting to Hippocampus Magazine. Each Insider Tips Q & A column reflects the opinions of the individual interviewed, not the magazine as a whole. We hope you find this helpful!

Advice from Lori M. Myers:

1. Why do you read for Hippocampus Magazine?

I’m a firm believer in doing whatever I can to further the literary arts. I’ve been a writer for a while but felt I could go beyond my own writing and promotion to remind others what they’d be missing if they didn’t read or write well. It’s been tough in this techno world we live in to sit people down and get them to read the wonderful work that’s out there. It’s imperative that we don’t ignore or diminish storytelling and a well-turned phrase. Words are powerful tools and they can be used to entertain or to change. Stories and words can move mountains, bring down governments, make us cry and dream. Nothing else in life can do that. I like to think that my contribution to Hippocampus Magazine is one small step towards having others love and appreciate good writing and storytelling.

2. Let’s start with the positives. Describe what type of submission screams “YES” when you are reading through pieces. For example, what elements are evident that make it a solid piece?

Generally, it’s a good story, quality writing, beautiful prose, interesting characters. If a story hits me in the gut or takes risks, or if the writing is gorgeous, interesting, and edgy then it’s a keeper in my book. It also has to have a sense of cohesiveness, a common goal.

3. What is the most common mistake–or mistakes–you see writers make in those submissions that you decline?

I tend to reject the pieces that just skim the surface of a particular situation or character. I love it when writers grab a knife and peel away the layers of life.

4. Now that you’ve been reading for Hippocampus for a while, have you been surprised by anything–good or bad?

They say there are a total of seven themes for stories. When I read for Hippoccampus, I’m surprised at what writers do with those themes. They twist them and turn them inside out. They come up with something so very unique and mind-boggling.

5. Based on your experience reading for Hippocampus and what you see accepted, rejected–and debated–what advice do you have to those looking to be published here?

Write, write, write; revise, revise, revise. Let it sit and simmer for several days, go back to it, and revise again. You’ll come up with new insights, details. You know that saying “It’s all in the details?” Well, they’re right.

6. For literary agents the rumor is chocolate. What delectable treat, for you, is bribe-worthy?

Hmm. Sushi. Chocolate peanut butter pie. Lox and bagels. One or all are acceptable and appreciated!

7. Finally, what is your favorite Hippocampus piece as of today’s date?

Wow. I have many. One that has stuck with me is Jane Hammond’s wonderful story “Holy Tribunal.” She takes us inside a process of Catholic annulment that many of us will never be exposed to. We become flies on the wall as we witness the meeting between her and Beth at the Diocese. Hammond enlivens the story with her biting humor and irreverance towards this process. We laugh at the absurdity but sympathize that she has to endure this. I also loved “Cold Feet” by Nancy Devine. It was gorgeous in its simplicity.

 

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