University of Southern Indiana


"It’s easy for an editor to say, in lieu of an actual aesthetic statement, 'please read our most recent issues to get a sense of what we are publishing' and 'send us your best work.' Obviously, you should familiarize yourself with SIR, and of course I only want to read your very best work. What this means, for me, in addition to all the elements that make great fiction, is that I want to read stories with, to quote Ben Marcus, a 'relentless drive to matter, to mean something, to make feeling where there was none.' I want stories of consequence, stories where the writer creates a sense of immediacy or necessity early on, not through tricks or gimmicks, but by grounding readers in the story, regardless if traditional or experimental. Sometimes it’s about the stakes for the character, but just as often it’s a careful, precise use of language or an arresting image. And then stories need to deliver the goods; great stories are more than a collection of finely executed parts.

We read stories to be entertained, to be enlightened, and to escape, but first we read stories to be moved—to feel something we haven’t felt before or to more deeply understand familiar feelings. Marcus, again: 'Stories conspire not to be forgotten; they scheme to outlast their moment.' Quite simply, I want to publish stories readers can’t forget."

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