Thursday, November 29, 2007


  • Zine: ChiZine
  • Editor(s): Brett Alexander Savory, Hannah Wolf Bowen, Michael Marano, Gord Zajac
  • Pay rate: 7¢ / word
  • Response Time: 3 months
  • Description (from the editor): Dark. Well-written. 4,000 words or less.
  • Submission Guidelines:
NOTE: Horror author D.L. Snell conducted the following interview to give writers a better idea of what the editors of this specific market are seeking; however, most editors are open to ideas outside of the preferences discussed here, as long as they fit the basic submission guidelines.


1) What authors do you enjoy and what is it about their writing that intrigues you?
I could go on for ages with this question, so I'll just name a few off the top of my head, in no particular order: Clive Barker, Chuck Palahniuk, Craig Davidson, Stewart O'Nan, Stephen King, Douglas Adams, Kurt Vonnegut, Paul G. Tremblay, Kelly Link, Neil Gaiman, Peter Straub, Mark Z. Danielewski, James Morrow, Ramsey Campbell, et al. As for what I like about them, boy, they're so disparate, it would take me several essays to answer that!

2) What are your favorite genres? Which of these genres would you like to see incorporated into submissions to this market?
Horror, slipstream, surreal, bizarre, literary, science fiction, noir, mystery, crime, etc. Anything dark, edgy, and well-written.

3) What settings most intrigue you? Ordinary or exotic locales? Real or fantasy? Past, present, or future?
Setting is less of a concern to me than character. We publish mostly character-driven pieces.

4) Explain the type of pacing you enjoy, e.g. slow building to fast, fast throughout, etc.
I'm not a fan of wasted words. I like punchy, economical writing. And I love being dropped into the middle of a story right from the start. Don't meander and fuck about with your narrative, just dive right in and let the story come through the characters and dialogue.

5) What type of characters appeal to you the most? Any examples?
No type in particular—at least not that I'm conscious of. Just well-written, solid characters. I guess fucked-up characters are always fun to read about. No one wants to read about the guy who has his shit together, right? That's not very exciting.

6) Horror and violence can be blatant a la Romero, or suggestive a la Hitchcock. Which one do you prefer and why?
I generally prefer the subtler horrors, but on very rare occasion a guy like Craig Davidson (Patrick Lestewka) comes along and can tell a seriously graphic story with literary flair. Quite uncommon, but possible. However, a safer bet with us is to go for subtle, creepy, disturbing, and weird.

7) In fiction and in life, what do you find most horrific?
No one thing really stands above any other on the horror-meter for me. All kinds of things are horrific—or can be made horrific—in both fiction and life.

8) What are the top three things submitters to this market should avoid?
Vampires, serial killers, and any kind of high fantasy.

9) What are your top three pet peeves as an editor?
Writers who 1) tell instead of show, 2) front load their stories with all kinds of boring preamble, and 3) synopsize their stories in the cover letter, effectively spoiling the reading experience for my editors and me. Just let the story speak for itself.

10) What quality are you seeking most in submissions to this market?
Solid writing. Intriguing characters. Resonant ending.

11) Any last advice for submitters to this market?
We have something like a 98% rejection rate, so if you don't sell us something immediately, don't lose heart, try again. We've had several writers submit to us for years and years as they hone their craft, getting better and better, then one day, they finally send us something that knocks our socks off and they've got their sale. Like any other job, writing is a skill. It requires practice, especially if you're trying to sell to a specific market. Read the 'zine, see what we've bought before, and then submit.

D.L. Snell is an Affiliate member of the Horror Writers Association, a graduate of Pacific University's Creative Writing program, and an editor for Permuted Press. Snell's first novel, ROSES OF BLOOD ON BARBWIRE VINES, pits vampires against mutating zombies in a post-apocalyptic setting. David Moody, author of the Autumn series, calls it "violent and visceral...beautiful and erotic," and Jonathan Maberry, author of Ghost Road Blues, says, "[I]t has all the ingredients needed to satisfy even the most jaded fan of horror fiction." For more information and to read sample chapters, visit

This article may be freely reprinted in any e-zine, newsletter, newspaper, magazine, website, etc. as long as all links and this message remain intact, as well as Snell's byline and bio. The formatting may be adjusted to fit the venue, but the content of the article must not be altered without written permission from D.L. Snell.

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