Thursday, November 18, 2010

Addictive Fiction: April Bacon on Fiction Fix

Although Draper alumna April Bacon calls New York City home, that hasn’t prevented her from becoming the editor-in-chief of Fiction Fix, an online literary journal founded on the “premise of fiction as an addictive experience,” which is produced by faculty, current students, and alumni of the University of North Florida (UNF). An alumna of UNF herself, April moved to New York in 2008, with the intention of enrolling in NYU’s Creative Writing Program. Instead, she was accepted to Draper, where she spent the next few years investigating intersections of science and literature.

It was during her time at Draper that April got involved with her alma mater’s literary journal, an entirely volunteer-maintained collaboration. “Everything is done online,” April explains. “It seems like it would be restrictive, but it really isn’t.” Fiction Fix, she says, has cultivated a strong community for people who want to “talk about stories.” The journal has gone through some major changes since April’s arrival as editor, most notably its transition from being a print magazine to an entirely online publication. But although April would like the journal to be published in print format once again, she sees this development as being a very positive one for Fiction Fix. “It’s always been our goal to have a strong online presence,” she says, explaining that this shift has vastly increased the journal’s readership, not to mention the number of subscriptions that it receives each cycle. “We receive five times as many submissions as we did before.” And where Fiction Fix used to only receive submissions from writers in Florida, it now attracts submissions from all over the United States and even other countries.

Another change that April brought about when she joined as editor was to adjust each issue’s focus. Fiction Fix now alternates between its usual fiction issues (which feature a wide variety of traditional and experimental pieces) and “special issues,” which highlight a particular literary genre. “We introduced ‘the special issue,’” April explains, “because, unlike the fiction issue, it is entirely malleable based on what connections and fun we might take advantage of at any moment –because of this, for example, we are incredibly grateful that Mark Ari, an author and UNF faculty member, has agreed to guest edit the Spring 2011 special issue—a Creative Nonfiction issue. And issue 7 allowed us to explore the many and potent forms of ‘the short short.’ We also hope that by diversifying this way, we will reach an even greater reader- and author-ship, which is always partially the goal... We hope that writers and readers know that they can count on Fiction Fix not only for an excellent full fiction issue each year, but also for something unexpected.”

While much of April’s creative attention goes toward editing Fiction Fix, she’s also a writer herself. She’s published work in Deadpaper and Outsider Ink, as well as in Draper’s own journal, Anamesa, where her essay "Exquisite Patterns and Sympathies: Anthropomorphism in Darwinian Thought" will be featured in the forthcoming spring issue.

April recently also published a short story entitled “When the Sun is Glorious” in a young literary journal called Prick of the Spindle. The story, which imagines the first hot air balloon flight, draws on her interest in science—and more particularly, technology—in literature, and stems from a reading that she encountered in Daniel Thurs’ “Thinking About Tomorrow” class in 2008. “I have a bit of ‘science envy,’” she admits. “Scientists do such cool, tangible things.”

We asked April to highlight some notable fiction in recent Fiction Fix issues. Below are some of the more remarkable pieces that she thinks you may enjoy (she also mentions that the journal features great original artwork in many of its issues).

From the short short issue (issue 7)

*"Empty" by Harmony Neal describes the irremediable loss one feels on giving up the demon after an exorcism.

*"The Wheelchair Pusher" by Malcolm Murray follows the tale of "Mr. Z" a hospital volunteer who remembers a tragic mistake from his young life.

*"Paper Wait" by Travis Wildes envisions the future post-"ThinkWrite," an AppleSoft word processing program that taps into the minds of humans to write stories better than they ever knew they could.

Forthcoming in issue 8:

*"[ ]" by Thomas Karst. Imagines a boy in the age of cave paintings, making his mark in a timeless space. [ ] is an experimental piece of fiction. On one page, words are worked into the shape of a hand-print -- a pictorial reference to what was, the words seem to try to squeeze out of that tiny space in the same way human beings try desperately to make a permanent voice across ages.

*"Death of a Fat Man" by Scott Neuffer chronicles the last days of a young and morbidly obese man, and the reactions of his wispy and shrinking girlfriend.

*Through the eyes of a writer, "His Malaise" by Anthony Bell scrutinizes the all-too-familiar "Process of Rejection." A notable metaphorical moment: the narrator gets "mooned" by a literary journal.

Fiction Fix's forthcoming fiction issue will be available on the website in early December.

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