We’re open to all kinds of writing. Poetry, short stories, essays, non-fiction, plays, dialogues--we want it all. We definitely don’t want submitters to feel as if they have to censor their writing, because reading it is like listening to muffled music. A piece’s language, topic, characters--make them unique, make them special, make them matter. We want your writing, not what someone else thinks your writing should be. Send us a little fragment of your mind, embodied by words.
We definitely don’t want submitters to feel as if they have to censor their writing, because reading it is like listening to muffled music."
This week's Teen Tuesday features an interview with Ana, a member of the Canvas Lit Board. Canvas is a quarterly literary journal run by and for teens. It began in May 2013 as a spin-off from a writing summer camp so that teenagers could continue to be creative all year long. Canvas is open to writers who are 13-18 years old.
How many teens are involved in running Canvas? What would you say is the common thread that ties the Canvas volunteers together?
Currently, there are 8 teenagers on the Canvas Board. When we met for our first meeting, it was a little awkward. Most of us didn’t know each other; we all went into that meeting completely blind about who else was going to be there. But it really didn’t take long for us to get over that. We all love writing--it’s what brought us together, it’s what kept us together. Our dedication to sharing the work we’re sent, to let the truly amazing pieces we’ve seen be read by others--it’s what has kept Canvas going.
What’s been the biggest challenge in creating a literary magazine?
The biggest challenge we’ve had so far (other than choosing a name, which probably took a month) is getting the word out about Canvas. We want the pieces we feature to be seen, because they deserve it. Our hard work, the included writers’ work--it all deserves to be read and making that happen is harder then it seems. We’ve gotten more into the public eye since we’ve started because of social media and the internet. Our Social Media Team and Contest Directors have worked really hard for Canvas to be as known as it is now (since the New Year, our submissions have increased by 400 percent!) but we definitely struggled with submissions in the past.
The submission guidelines are available online, but could you provide some more information about what type of creative work appeals to you?
What is the most common mistake or flaw that you see in submissions so far?
A lot of the mistakes we see are simple things that are easy to fix. When we see that, we send the writer an e-mail asking for him or her to edit it and re-submit. Often, it’s an uncompleted ending or a weak beginning. Sometimes there are holes in a story, an awkward stanza in a poem. Sometimes, people don’t take advantage of the amount of words they’re allowed to use in a piece. We send back our suggestions and thoughts for pieces that have potential and that we really to want to see re-submitted.
You recently added a forum component to the Canvas website. Could you explain its purpose?
Canvas was started as a way for teens to share their writing abilities and to encourage them to develop it. We wanted to make a community of writers, joined together to spread their work and to see that of others. The forum is another way for that community to grow. People can ask questions, give feedback, and offer advice on it. And we want them to. Anything that anyone wants to share can go on the forum.
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