The submissions window for cutaway magazine closed just over a week ago, so a couple nights ago I met up with fellow editor Dave Schofield to finalise the last of our acceptances. It still feels strange to use a word like ‘editor’!
This is part of an ongoing process that started back in January. We didn’t want to hang around until the end of the submissions window to start reading, so we got busy as soon as they started to arrive.
OK, I have to be honest, Dave was much more at this proactive than I was! But starting to read this early meant that we were able to send out six acceptances back in February before the submissions window had even closed.
We used a not-quite-but-nearly double-blind system where each of us gave a thumbs-up or a thumbs-down for each piece and anything with at least a single thumbs-up was tabled for further discussion. We agreed that neither of us had the right to veto or force through a submission, we both had to agree on every single piece. This avoided any bias when it came to submissions from people we knew either directly or indirectly. Looking back this system probably had the potential to cause all manner of problems and deadlocking, but this never seemed to happen–in fact, if anything, the pieces that we didn’t agree on straight away were probably the most interesting to discuss.
After several hours we finally settled on another ten or so submissions that we both want to see in cutaway. I say ‘or so’ because there’s a handful of pieces that we’re still not sure about. We’re going to ponder these over the weekend, perhaps pick another one or two.
Whittling down to these last few submissions was extremely tough, but I was particularly pleased with the genre side of things. To quote from the introduction on the cutaway website . . .
“We’re looking for literary fiction, genre fiction and a little that blurs the two.”
I have no idea whether writers out there were specifically targeting the ‘little that blurs the two’ or whether they’re writing this kind of thing anyway (I hope it’s the latter) but we could have produced an entire magazine dedicated to just borderline genre fiction, all written excellently and perfectly blurring the line between the real and the fantastic. I am genuinely saddened to have to turn away so many well-written and thought-provoking pieces of work. I hope they all find a good home.
So I have a busy weekend ahead of me sending out responses for cutaway. I also have some reading for the next Manchester Speculative Fiction Writers’ Group meeting on Wednesday. I’m hoping to squeeze in some edits on the accepted pieces for cutaway before I zoom off to Hong Kong next weekend. I’m hoping to blog whilst I’m over there and feature some photos uploaded from my Canon DSLR which has been gathering far too much dust lately. See you soon!