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The Suisun Valley Review was established as a way for the students of Solano Community College to learn the art and craft of editing a literary journal while putting together their own magazine once a year. Since the first issue was published in 1981, student editors have collaborated on over thirty issues of SVR, carefully selecting the contents from new and established writers from across the U.S. and abroad. The students are also directly involved with creating the overall design aesthetic and narrative of each issue. Each spring, all of their hard work and endless creative energy is repaid with a bound collection of prose and poetry, sold and kept as a testament to sleepless nights.
SVR's 2014 Submission Guidelines

Friday, March 30, 2012

Down to the Wire

This has been another exciting week! On Tuesday, Solano Community College welcomed Clive Rosengren. He read to us from his new book, Murder Unscripted, and took questions afterwards; in doing so, he shared some interesting insights. He lauded writing groups, saying that they’re good pressure to keep you going, and they catch typos. Rosengren himself is a member of a writing group he dubbed the “Monday Mayhem.”

Further along in the hour, Rosengren discussed some parallels he found between acting and writing. What do the two have in common? Instinct. He also shared that he writes cinematically: he likes to form pictures in his mind as he writes; he wants to visualize things as they unfold.

And of course, the other exciting aspect of this week is that it’s been the last week for submissions! We will be accepting submissions until tomorrow at midnight. (You should know I'm working very hard to bite back a coach-to-pumpkin joke.) And so, as we’re down to the wire (for submissions, at least—we’ve still got over a month to go for the magazine to be finished!), I present to you my top three reasons why you should submit before the photo finish:

1. You have nothing to lose! Submission is free. And if you’re accepted, you’ll receive two free contributor’s copies of the Suisun Valley Review.
2. There’s a really cool release reading at the end of all this. If you’re accepted, you’re invited to read your work aloud at this awesome reading. And if you’re not accepted, you’re still invited!
3. Getting tired of my maddening puns? Write something funny and submit it. Show me what real humor’s all about!

Thank you to everyone who has already submitted!

(P.S.: I’m not kidding about how cool that release reading is. There will be cookies. Delicious, home-baked cookies. It's an SVR tradition that the editors bake for the occasion.)

Friday, March 23, 2012

Super Features

It’s a bird, it’s a plane—(it’s way too cheesy?)

This is probably the most exciting week we’ve had thus far (and the ante is only going up from here!). Each year, we have a featured author or poet who graciously does an interview with us; we publish both the interview and an original work or works from the author/poet in the Suisun Valley Review.

This week, we finalized the plans for Mr. Clive Rosengren to visit. A mystery author and established actor, Rosengren will be at Solano Community College next week, on March 27, 2012, from 12:30 to 1:30. We’re really looking forward to meeting him and hearing what he has to say about his latest book, Murder Unscripted, writing, publishing, and anything in-between.

In April, we also hope to meet our second feature for the spring 2012 issue, Ms. Patricia Killelea. Killelea is a poet who graduated from our very own Solano Community College once upon a time. She has a volume of poetry called Other Suns, and will also have an interview and original pieces published in this year’s edition of the Suisun Valley Review.

Meanwhile, next week we will begin our discussions of this year’s submissions! (See, didn’t I say it would only get more exciting from here?) Send in your submissions before it’s too late—there’s one week left! We accept submissions of short fiction, poetry, and art. (I know you talented people are out there reading this. I can feel your vibes through the computer screen.)

If you would like to know more about our features, click here for Clive Rosengren’s website and here for Patricia Killelea’s.

If you would like to submit, please send your work or works to Submission guidelines may be found here.

Friday, March 16, 2012

Progress on the Layout Front

Over the last few weeks, some of our graphics-savvy editors took the time to put together mock layouts (in other words, possible ways that we could format our magazine). There were a wide variety of colors, fonts, spacing and alignments.

This last Monday, the committee assigned to designing the layout of the inside of the magazine (go Team Innards!) put together a semi-final draft of what our layout could/should/might look like. It incorporated ideas from all of the mocks that were previously submitted.

Then we threw the semi-final mock onto the big screen for the rest of the editors to review. They had some additional suggestions, but for the most part, everyone seemed to like what had been done. We will give the layout one more pass before we all give it the salutary nod of completion and turn our focus to something else.

There’s still going to be some continual, inevitable tweaking of the internal layout throughout the next two months, so the job’s not “done” done. However, we’re confident that the final layout will be satisfying and pristine. And maybe a teensy bit flashy, but that will depend on the colors we choose, which will likely be taken from the cover. That will be one of our foci for next week: picking out which of our art submissions we think might be good cover choices.

Friday, March 9, 2012

The "R" Word

One of our tasks over the last week and a half was to complete the drafting of the 2012 rejection letter. Rejection. That word really sucks. Writing (and sending!) rejection letters is the least pleasurable part of editing the magazine, but it’s also the most necessary.

“Lit mags reject good stuff all the time.” I heard that phrase half a dozen times from the writer’s perspective. It’s stranger to hear its cousin, “You will reject pieces you love.” When we look away from the literature involved and look at the numbers, we have to admit the inevitability. We are a modest magazine, receiving several hundred submissions in a given season, but that’s still several hundred more than you can fit in a magazine of roughly seventy pages.

It’s like trying not to spend your entire living at the bookstore. “Ooh, that one, and that one, and that one, and that one...!” – and then looking at your checkbook, realizing your budget only covers a tenth, or maybe a twentieth of the books you want to buy.

Putting books back on the shelf is disheartening, and so is rejecting stories, poetry or artwork. But in the end, once you’ve painstakingly narrowed your choices down to a number that won’t break the bank, you know you’re left with the best you could buy (or publish).

We greatly esteem the pieces we publish (else, why would we publish them?) but we also greatly appreciate everything we reject, because every writer took a risk and put themselves out there. Great, good, bad, indifferent: none are immune from rejection, but we’re glad they were all sent in. If you submitted a piece, thank you.

If you haven’t, our submission guidelines can be found here, and we hope you’ll consider doing so!

Friday, March 2, 2012

Papers, Glues, and Threads

(I was going to add “oh my!” at the end, but I opted against it. What do you think – are the Wizard of Oz puns dead?)

Our teacher/advisor said our energy was a little low. Well, we were talking about paper, which is a topic that most people don’t find very invigorating. (Although, I’m pretty sure there were at least some of us that were secretly fascinated, but too embarrassed to admit it.)

As a class and as a group of editors, we are slowly starting to learn (or re-learn) just how much there is to making a magazine. When he said we would be making every little decision, he meant every little decision. Paper types. Glue types. Thread types. What shape do we want the magazine to be? What texture do we want the paper to have?

Several of these aspects are controlled by time and budget, thereby being out of our control. But there are details – right down to the page number’s position, font, color and size – that are entirely up to us. There is already some discussion amongst us as to page layout; it will be interesting to see what all of our thirty-odd personalities come up with! (And, more importantly, more excitingly, what we choose in the end for the final product.)