Saturday, October 11, 2008

Attention! Any Writers Out there? Here's Your Big Chance!

Here's an early version of the cover for Issue Two. You've seen quite a bit of my work from Swill if you've been following the site -- having to illustrate the son of a bitch is the main reason I'm back in the visual arts.

Swill magazine
is now eagerly awaiting your submissions. If you write fiction please give us your consideration. Swill is a feisty literary magazine and while it is small of press it is large of publication -- it's printed at magazine size and carries as much wordage as a decent-sized book.

There is no payment. I've been working on this thing for three years now and I haven't seen dime one and probably never will. That's not what the magazine's for...

Swill has received praise from both the literary and the genre fiction communities and is part of the permanent collection at the University of Wisconsin at Madison.

We did get a bad review once but they complained about things like gratuitous violence (if someone could explain to me how something as inherently rewarding as violence could ever be gratuitous I'd be interested in hearing your position) and plot while another review said that while we published some genre fiction we were a "necessary corrective" to the current literary scene.

Here's what we're looking for. First and foremost we like stories. Stories with characters, plots, settings, themes, beginnings, middles, and ends. This is why we've been accused of genre-ism -- genre is the last true bastion of conventional fiction.

Look, the moment of quiet epiphany has its place. No doubt. But to see it dominate literary fiction to the degree that it has reminds me strongly of the stranglehold superheroes have in the comic book world -- and a lot of the time people invested in literary or academic fiction respond to a story driven by plot and character the way a lot of comic book fans respond to a work that doesn't feature steroid freaks and boob jobs wearing leotards.

And it's not as if that's all we publish. If we like your piece we'll publish it -- we've published experimental fiction and poetry quite cheerfully.

What do we like? Action isn't a bad thing. Make us laugh and you've won our hearts. Mean what you write. Transgression is always popular with me and Rob -- the best story in our first issue got in partially because it offended both of us, which is quite a trick.

If you're interested go to the site and check out the submission guidelines. (For some reason -- probably having to do with frames -- I can't link directly.) You might want to take a peek at the section labeled "Sean Speaks" as well. If you're a fiction writer it should confirm all your worst fears about what happens to your story once you put it in the mail...

And if you're a reader go wander around. I swear, Swill ain't half bad. I recently wrote to Rob and asked him why doing Swill has turned out to be one of the smartest things we've ever done.

He sent an internet sigh. "It's not like it has much competition."

Fair enough.


robp said...

Oh sure, quote me. I don't remember most of what I say and I also don't believe in the reliability of memory.

But I do use your Swill 3 cover for my icon so I figure I can get away with anything here.

And, anyone not yet manifesto'd to death could also check my Swill post:

Why don't these assholes ever talk about gratuitous epiphanies? Violence at least tends to advance the plot.

Sean Craven said...

Violence, lust, and hunger are the primary forces that shape us. I am far more offended by gratuitous niceness or sentimentality than I am gratuitous violence. There are too many monstrous cruelties that go unheeded by a world simply unwilling to acknowledge their existence.

One must be capable of acknowledging evil in order to confront or avoid it; many very nice people actively contribute to cruelty and viciousness simply because the facts of life offend their sensibilities. They do not wish to think of sweatshops and slaughterhouses as they do their shopping; they are nice, they are pleasant.

They are damned.

Hmmm. Misquoting Rob. That never even struck me as an option before. I just need to figure out if I should attribute remarks to you in order to gain a spurious air of authority or if it would be best to cloak my own outrages in your good name. Ponder ponder.