Whee, a balloon

Far Off Blog

Only a paper moon

Hello people. We’ve rather been neglecting you these last few weeks. Sorry. You have been on our minds, but our fingers have been busy removing sneaky comma splices, as well as chasing up some fantastic illustrations to be featured in Issue 1. We hope you regard this as an acceptable excuse.

With the final touches being put to Issue 1 and submissions for Issue 2 now open (on the theme of the back of beyond), I thought it’d be a good moment to talk about what we’re looking for editorially.

To some extent, this is a tricky question. We do want to showcase a variety of styles and voices - it would be a sad waste to limit ourselves to any one ‘house style’. Equally, if a piece blows our minds, we won’t hesitate to include it in the magazine, no matter how far from any ‘editorial guidelines’ it may be. Nonetheless, when we dreamed up Far Off Places we had a misty idea of the kind of magazine we wanted to produce, and our vision has become clearer with time.

We want you to have fun with the theme. Take it off its lead, tickle it and see which direction it bounds in. Feel for it in the dark like you would a light switch. Call its name and listen for an echo. We like the curious, who peer through keyholes and down rabbit holes which other people don’t notice. But we’re also in love with the mystery of the everyday. What story does the burn on the kitchen table tell? To whom did that lost shopping list belong? (And what on earth were they planning on doing with that quantity of vanilla essence?) More than anything, we’re in love with well-wrought language, in prose just as much as in poetry. This may be a particular weakness of mine, and I might as well be honest. If a story’s language is sloppy, it’ll need a damn good plot to reel me in. But craft your words with the sensitivity called for by a paper rose, and you’ll have me swooning from the first paragraph.

We may have sometimes strayed from this flower-strewn path of the quirky and whimsical into a darker forest in Issue 1, which occasionally takes on rather a Grim(m) tone, but this was very much to be expected of our theme, Fairy Tales Retold. And as I said, all criteria go out the window when we’re dealing with a piece which winds us, wounds us or makes us wonder.

So there you go, things we like. Keyholes, shopping lists and paper roses.

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