Spotlight on The Tandem Region Times
Featured Genres: Horror
Base of operations: Ontario, Canada
Length Requirements: 800 words or less
Submission Window: Any Time
Publication Schedule: Bi-Weekly
Formats published: Online
Why they started their journal: I wanted to attach my name to a big writing project because I had done advertising and marketing for so long, and strayed too far into that world, and I wanted to do something I could be proud of. At the same time, I wanted to use the marketing skills I had to make a platform for other writers and take on the aggressively elitist publications most writers encounter. I wanted to work in a new format that would inspire writers, and weave this ongoing narrative tapestry with different voices.
What they are looking for: Strong, bizarre concepts. Tandem Region Times is an online horror-themed newspaper, so you need to write your story in a journalistic format, or as a review or a column or classifieds entry. If you have a very original concept and an image in your head, the narrative can be worked on. You almost tell the story backwards; you give the most important information at the start and work your way backward to the least important, but more colourful.
But if you don’t have one, the “news report” format we use won’t save it. It makes bad concepts even worse. We are also looking for images. We love images; photographs, art, digital media, whatever.
What they are tired of seeing: Beautiful mediocrity. Writing poetry comes with experience and everyone ends up doing it by accident. Horror fiction wastes too much time establishing realistic protagonists and wastes time trying to convince us their world is the real world. Maybe it’s the audience’s fault – we demand too much realism and come to entertainment with our arms folded – but if we’re doing bizarre fiction you don’t need to wrestle my suspension of disbelief into a submissive position. It worked for Batman but it doesn’t work for Hulk.
Tips for writers: Be very critical of your own work. Write like a TV writer. In TV, when you’re doing a script, you need to have what’s called a “logline.” That’s the one sentence summary of your work, and it’s the first thing the suits see when they look at their pile of scripts. The show Breaking Bad could be “high school chemistry teacher gets cancer and begins cooking crystal meth to support family.” Boom, done, tell me more. If you look at the best shows, you can see the logline shining through the story, but that’s just a starting point… But it NEEDS to have a starting point. If you can’t summarize your story in one sentence, it needs to be refined. It needs to be compressed into a diamond. It’s harder than it sounds; once you do it, you may find it’s not interesting anymore. Be critical, be aggressive, and above all be interesting. This is how you get people interested. It’s how headlines are made.
Additional Information: The drunker you are the more sense it makes.