Saturday, February 27, 2010

Bloggaday 13 – The Sand Canyon Review Critique pt. 1

The following Bloggaday is part 1 of a 2-part critiques paper I wrote for my English Class. In this class, we actually create Crafton Hill’s College’s annual literary magazine. You can find The Sand Canyon Review here -> or the Press Enterprise article on it here -> As you can see, the deadline is March 15th, 2010. So you can submit poetry, essays, short fiction, and art to

Bloggaday 13 – The Sand Canyon Review Critique pt. 1

With a crashing publishing industry, writers have struggled to find mediums to share their work. It is the duty of the publishers and creators of the medium to present a professional publication to showcase themselves and the works of writers and artists. The following is a compilation of improvements on the previous two issues of The Sand Canyon Review. I will start with a critique of the last issue, then I will compare some of the difference between the first two issues, and then I will add some additional ideas to improve future issues.
Starting with last year’s magazine, the first thing I would change is an anomaly in font. In the poetry section, the font changed to another style. I don’t mind creative aesthetics, such as line distribution in the other poems, but the font change was very jarring. Even if it was done at the author’s request, it doesn’t achieve a professional flow that the rest of the magazine deserves.
Switching from a particular incident, the influx of story content has presented a problem. Couple that with the fact that poetry submissions are lacking, it’ll make for a very uneven distribution of pages. Even trying to fluff the poetry section up, it will not be enough to achieve any semblance of equality. If we resign ourselves to this fact, we can try to cannibalize the poetry section for pages to devote to short fiction and essays by putting small poems together on one page. While it conveys a more professional feel to have separate pages for separate authors, if we go with a green theme with the magazine, combining poems rather than dedicating an entire page to a short poem could actually be a benefit. The school itself has been adding “green” into its image and seeing multiple pages with less than 50 words is not congruent with that. It also seems rather self-indulgent to see so little on a page with so much blank space.
The sections themselves could also use some changes. I’m not sure if the quote from Matt was the best opener for the art and interview section last year. It’s a good quote, but something blending the interviews and art pieces together would be the best signal for the section.
In addition to the quotes at the beginning of each section, a picture signaled each one from a three-piece artwork series. I thoroughly enjoyed this and would like to see a submission like that again to start the sections.
The next suggestion I would pose for the sections is actually switching their order. I imagine the art and interview section is in the middle to offer an intermission for the written sections, but the uninformed picker-upper flipping through the first few pages would be more inclined to finish it if something caught his eye at the beginning. The art section would offer this visual gratification. This could make a person decide to keep the magazine and read it.
As for the design of the magazine, on the top of the pages, a black line runs horizontally with some decorative leaves accenting it. I would prefer a different design this year, but my biggest problem with the design is how off-center it is. On pages where the name is too long, the decoration is simply reduced. This is the approach I would like to see taken on every page.
My last critique of last year’s magazine is on the last page. The Myspace address is given; I would add the Facebook address. Rather than making it subordinate to the Myspace address, I would push Facebook as the dominant hub for the magazine. If we can get a website up before the printing, I would like to see that added as well.
As for the first year’s issue, there are some things to mention. There were many improvements from the first issue to last year’s installment. The numbering on the latter issue is better as well as the reoccurrence of the cover art on the first page. The table of contents for both is good enough to be carried over. The first issue is more stylized and if my suggestion for multiple poems per page is used, this style would fit into this theme. Last year’s magazine has a more professional look, so it depends on the rest of the feel of the new issue as to which should be used. The names of the submitter and piece title should be placed towards the outside of the page like it is on the newer issue. I also definitely prefer the two-page intro of the sections in the second issue.

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