S-Curves is an online literary journal featuring work by Topanga Canyon writers as well as work from elsewhere. They publish works of short fiction, literary non fiction, poetry, and excerpts from longer works and works-in-progress. Photographers and artists are also encouraged to submit work.
I wondered how and why this lit mag came to be, so I asked editor Faith Currant a few questions to find out. See my interview with Currant and submission guidelines below.
HOPKINSON: Tell me a little bit about S-Curves.
CURRANT: S-Curves is a literary journal that showcases the work of writers in Topanga Canyon, which is an iconic creative community about 30 minutes west of downtown Los Angeles. Priority is given to writers who live/work in the canyon, but we are always happy to consider work from writers outside the canyon subject to space available.
HOPKINSON: What originally gave you the idea to start an online lit mag?
CURRANT: Topanga is such an iconic creative community and there is a thriving infrastructure of support for visual artists to showcase their work, including gallery tours and a successful gallery. For writers, there is the Topanga Authors Group and of course, the Topanga Messenger newspaper, and a few local writers groups, plus the Topanga Library is also very supportive. But there wasn’t a place for writers to publish/showcase their work, so a lit journal seemed like an obvious missing piece.
HOPKINSON: What are some of your favorite journals?
CURRANT: Because we accept previously published material, we do sometimes scout literary journals when we’re building an issue around a theme and have some additional space. But I personally don’t read any specific journals on a regular basis. Feel free to throw large heavy objects at me, but I feel like most of the journals out there publish material that’s pretty inaccessible and “writerly” and doesn’t connect well with actual readers. There’s a great article about that in Salon (http://www.salon.com/2013/03/29/most_contemporary_literary_fiction_is_terrible/).
I see this lack of reader-accessible material as one of the biggest problems facing the writing/publishing world right now — as a professional script doctor/development executive, I’m constantly having to work with writers who are writing material without considering who, if anyone, might want to read it and what their experience will be. If we as a community don’t address this problem, we’re going to be a community of people writing for our own enjoyment with no readers (many lit journals and literary fiction books already have that problem).
The problem of lack of accessible writing is also part of why I thought there might be room in the literary community for a journal that focuses on writing that’s fun to read and accessible — just like the canyon!
HOPKINSON: What type of work are you looking for?
CURRANT: Broadly speaking, accessible/reader friendly fiction, poetry, narrative nonfiction (as well as photography and artwork to supplement the writing). See the question above re: we’re looking for non-pretentious, accessible work that’s written for the reader.
We do sometimes curate around a theme, but we usually don’t know what the theme is ahead of time and it only emerges when we put together the issue. We are hoping to put together a spooky Halloween issue for fall, but we’ll see if that happens.
Also, since we publish 4x/year, we like to try to keep things somewhat seasonal, so for example, if you have a very heavy/intense piece, it’s much more likely to fit into the fall or winter issue than into the spring or summer issue.
We also put together some Secret Submission Tips — you can find them on the website.
HOPKINSON: Where can poets/writers/artists send submissions?
CURRANT: Visit http://s-curvesonline.com/submission-guidelines/.
A special plea: Please follow submission guidelines. We promise they’re not there to torture you — they’re there because editing a literary journal is a time-consuming volunteer labor of love and the guidelines are what allow us to do that by making the review process as streamlined as possible. I edit the journal on my own, but I have multiple colleagues who read submissions and offer editorial opinion (on a rotating basis depending on who’s available), and submissions in the correct format are required to make that reading process work.
Also look at the Secret Submission Tips before submitting.
HOPKINSON: If someone has a question, how can they contact you?
DEADLINE: September 30, 2016
SUBMISSION FEE: None
FORMS: short fiction, literary non fiction, poetry, and excerpts from longer works and works-in-progress