My involvement with Firewords Quarterly began in 2012 when I received an email from Dan Burgess, a student, at Sunderland University. Dan asked me if he could use my short story “Hello!” in a student project. I guess I should have said ‘Yes’ immediately, but I wanted to know more about the project. Exposure is good, but not necessarily all forms of exposure. So I asked a lot of questions about the project:
What publication rights were being requested?
What were the aims of the project?
And several others that I can’t remember now!
Dan impressed me right from the start because he came back to me very quickly, which gave me confidence that the guy had a plan for what he wanted to achieve.
That plan – and I’d be better calling it a vision in Dan’s case – was to launch a fiction mag with a difference. Dan’s pitch was that the majority of literary magazines were visually uninspiring, and were publishing very similar literary material. He wanted Firewords to publish new writers that weren’t afraid to take risks, and he wanted the magazine to be visually inspiring. Therefore every accepted story would be published with either artwork or a visual style that not just complimented the story, but enhanced it.
Dan’s pitch certainly resonated with this writer. I thought he was right. A lot of the small press indie publications are visually uninspiring. There are exceptions, I quite like Neon, but they have a set look, and the artwork / photography doesn’t necessarily match the stories. Dan was also right about reading the same kind of staid literary stories in the usual round of literary publications.
I never knew if Dan could pull it off, but his vision impressed me so I gave permission for “Hello!” to be used. This led to a very small print run in late 2012. I liked the end result and I certainly wasn’t ready for the visual transformation that “Hello!” undertook. See the pic below:
The trail went quiet for several months, but Dan would occasionally get in touch. Sometime during 2013 he shared his plans for making Firewords a genuine literary magazine. I was again asked if “Hello!” could be used, and this time I did say ‘Yes’ immediately. In early 2014 Issue Zero of Firewords was launched to gain publicity for a full blown launch of Firewords sometime during May.
Dan asked me if I’d be willing to help out with Firewords. So I now find myself as one of two Assistant Editors reading stories for possible acceptance. It’s a very strange experience being on the other side of the fence. I’ll be writing a few blog articles on common submission mistakes over the next few weeks, and months.
Somewhere between Issue Zero and the upcoming Issue One it was decided to change the name to Firewords Quarterly. We’re listed on Duotrope, in Writers and Artists, and the submissions are rolling in.
There’s a Kickstarter campaign running to help support the magazine during its difficult early days. Please take a look here.
Please do support the campaign if you can. Firewords Quarterly is genuinely attempting to do something different. If you can’t support us via Kickstarter follow Firewords on Twitter: @FirewordsMag.
If you’re a writer submit your work for consideration. If you’re a reader then please either back the Kickstarter campaign where you can secure a copy of Issue One via rewards, or keep checking the website for updates on when you can purchase a copy. Writers and readers please check out our website: http://www.firewords.co.uk/
More posts soon. Bye for now,
The title of this blog entry is the first line from ‘Hello!’ a short creepy horror story.
It was some months ago that the editor of Firewords magazine (Dan Burgess) approached me asking if he could use ‘Hello!’ in an upcoming literary magazine.
I was interested but I asked a few questions before agreeing. I was keen to know exactly what Firewords was, and what ideas Dan had for the magazine.
Dan replied promptly. I can’t remember the exact words, but he basically said that the majority of the published short story magazines were visually uninteresting or uninspiring. He wanted to do something different. He wanted to have visuals that complemented the stories. That would interact with the stories.
I gladly agreed to Dan using ‘Hello!’ I was keen to see what he would come up with.
On Saturday a surprise package arrived through the post. It was an edition of the small print run teaser edition of Firewords.
This is the first time I’ve seen my work in print and the feeling is euphoric. Five years of effort finally comes good!
However, I’m going off topic. Having now seen Firewords I totally get what Dan was aiming for. To say I’m impressed is an understatement.
What Dan has done with ‘Hello!’ is fantastic. I don’t think the photo I’ve taken really does it justice. ‘Hello!’ was written in a traditional way, except my use of space, but the look was the same as any short story.
Dan has taken the story and…well the picture above tells its own story. I had no idea that he was going to do any of the above. I suspect that anybody reading this won’t have read ‘Hello!’ but trust me, the story is even more effective because of the way it has been presented. The presentation fits the story exactly, and really is complimentary.
The rest of the magazine was impressive too. In another story called Rock & Roll the text gets lowered mid-sentence and then rises again. The same story has a line printed at an angle. It sounds mad, but the story ends with a character in love with a rock. Again, the visual representation is matching the story. It really is a creative approach.
I’ve mentioned text, and the photo above maybe suggests the effects are only achieved with text fonts, but that’s not the case. The magazine makes use of photos, and illustrations. Each story is accompanied by a visual style that suits that story, or indeed poem. Yes, poetry has a place in Firewords.
I’ve been reading small press magazines since the early nineties and I haven’t quite seen anything like this. I’m proud to have my work published in Firewords. The other works in Firewords were all of a high standard including a fine story by Dan himself.
As I said earlier this was a small print run. Dan intends to do some more work on the magazine and produce a larger scale print run sometime during 2013. I wish him all the luck. Getting a print magazine produced can be hard and costly work, but this one deserves to succeed.
Take care and keep an eye out for Firewords and its talented creator Dan Burgess.
M J Wolfson - That's me.