Photo: Structo (CC-BY-NC-SA)
You might remember that back in February we put a call out for people to join the Structo team. One of the people who got in touch was Dave Schofield, who at the time was working with his co-editor Craig Pay to produce a literary magazine called Cutaway. It was partly on the strength of this that we asked him to join the magazine; Cutaway #1 is an interesting and varied collection of writing, accompanied by some very striking photography. With the first issue now out in the big wide world, we asked for Dave’s thoughts on the birth of a new literary magazine.
Photo: Structo (CC-BY-NC-SA)
When did you both decide to start a magazine?
We were encouraged by an MA Creative Writing course to do something that draws on a writing community for the penultimate semester, but the magazine was something we already had in mind. It was the result of us both being quite active over the last two or three years submitting and being published in literary and genre magazines. We probably considered it for a couple of months prior to November 2011 and then focussed on it for about six months to get it off the ground.
Why a literary magazine in particular?
We wanted to produce something which reflected the markets which interested us as writers. Structo was actually one of several magazines we had laid out on a dining table when we originally met. As much as we drew inspiration from a lot of literary magazines we were also interested in borderline genre and surreal elements. It was all very reactive, we were just intrigued as to what would come our way submissions wise.
How did you find the selection and editing process?
Selection was a combined effort between two of us, using social networking media and file sharing software and giving everything at least two reads. We both loved it, and we both found what we were looking for amongst the submissions. The editing process was slightly more difficult – creative minds put aside for proofreading and typesetting, which took longer than I imagined it would. The finished magazine was as we had both envisioned it I think, mainly down to Craig’s careful editing and detailed arrangements.
Did you divide the labour along any particular lines?
Craig works in IT and my background is in the visual arts, so some extra website stuff, and layout assembly was down to him and the photos and covers are down to me (and two art submissions we received). As for the written content we tried to avoid overlap but generally we went over everything twice and came together when needed to.
Are plans afoot for issue two?
There are no plans as yet, and I don’t know if we’ll be able to fit it in. The whole process was great fun, and we learned a huge amount from it, despite being run off our feet trying to fit it in amongst other things. However the first hurdle for a magazine of this nature is how to sustain itself and how to sell copies and raise funds. We certainly found difficulties when it came to selling, local shops took Cutaways and never rung us back, Amazon took our details and then forgot about us, and local venues struggled to fit us in for a launch. I think if it came to discussing a second issue our considerations would be more pragmatic and less creative and we’d have to weigh up the interruption to our lives against the benefits.
Cutaway #1 is available now for £6.99 +P&P. Head here to find out more.