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  • Nonfiction! New Selection Process! (Behind the Scenes at 3ER)

    I had a friend that was excited about 3Elements Review. She looked at our first issue and loved the concept, the design, the stories and poems and art inside, but she asked me why we didn’t accept nonfiction

    So, I floated the idea to Mikaela and C.J. and we were all kind of like, “How could you use the elements this way?” We thought about it and decided that it could be really cool to see what people brought us; how people incorporate our elements into their real-life stories was full of possibility! We agreed that we should let nonfiction into our doors. And, you know what? We got a piece that I am SO excited about. It’s short, flash-memoir, and I don’t know if we are going to publish it or not, but really, it is incredible and needs to find a home.

    See, we changed our acceptance policies. At first, with a new journal, we would jump on a piece that we loved or liked. That’s why we have such a huge first issue–we just couldn’t say no to those pieces! And, if you’ve read issue one, you’ll likely agree–the work is stunning. That first issue almost killed us. It was a labor of love on all of our parts, and Marlon put in countless hours fine-tuning the design and making it look perfect. I think we kicked butt, but we all decided to make the next issue a bit smaller.

    So, in order to do that, we are sitting on pieces a little longer. The reason is two-fold: 1) We don’t want to reach our quota before the submission deadline is over and 2) We got about 20-25% of our total submissions the last two days of our reading window for the first issue. We had two great stories that we were choosing from at the last minute–which one fit our aesthetic? Which one used the elements in interesting and poignant ways? Which one was the kind of story that we thought, “This must be in print?” We discussed and fought for our favorite and, in the end, only picked one. Had we waited longer, we may have picked both. We didn’t have the whole body of work to choose from, but just a smaller sample and less spots to fill.

    We are waiting a little longer, so I don’t know if this new nonfiction piece I love will ultimately go in the journal. We’ve been getting some stellar work, and I am so happy to be a part of this 3ER family and see as issue 2 takes shape.

    Nonfiction. That’s the name of one of our games. How will you use the elements to write something for us? We look forward to finding out.

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    Showing Writer’s Block Who’s Boss

    Sometimes I wonder if writer’s block really exists. Sure, sometimes you feel like writing a story and have zero ideas in your idea bank, but there are other options. Is writer’s block real? Is it just us being lazy? Is it the stresses of life making it hard to sit down and write?

    I wasn’t sure what I wanted to blog about today (bloggers block?) so I decided to think up a list of ideas to help you keep the pen moving or your fingers typing.

    • Start off by writing about your day. It doesn’t have to be a masterpiece!
    • Write about an important childhood memory. If you are writing a story or novel, consider giving your memory to a character and writing it from their perspective. Even if it doesn’t end up in the story, you’ll have learned something about your character.
    • Pay attention to people at the mall or on the train. Jot down everything you remember about them. Ask yourself twenty questions about them and then make up the answers. I’ve done this and it turned into a pretty extensive story!
    • Read one of your favorite stories or novels. (C.J. made this suggestion recently when I didn’t know where to go with a chapter I was writing.)
    • Go for a walk or a run. Take in the scenery. Breathe. Think. Clear your head.
    • Writer’s Digest has a list of prompts.
    • Go to an art or photography museum, choose a piece, and make up the story that goes with it.
    • Last but not least: take the current three elements, make a list of what each element makes you think of, and see if any of those ideas spark a story or poem.

    What do you do when you feel stuck in your writing? What would you add to this list? Please share! Consider writing a guest blog post and submitting it here:

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    Elemental Conversations: Gabriella Brand

    Elemental Conversations is a new weekly blog post where we ask our contributors various questions about their art and about themselves. We thought it would be fun for our readers (and us) to get to know the people whose work makes 3Elements Review possible.

    Contributor: Gabriella BrandTsu Means Through, Nami Means Wave (short story)

    Gabriella Brand, author of the short story, Tsu Means Through, Nami Means Wave

    Gabriella Brand‘s poems and short stories have appeared in a variety of publications including Room Magazine, The Mom Egg, PIF, The Citron Review and Cordite. A recent short story won the Story Cubes Prize. Gabriella divides her time between New England, where she teaches languages, and Quebec, where she writes, canoes and daydreams. An avid outdoors person and hiker, she has spent considerable time in Japan, including walking around the island of Shikoku

    3ER: Was there a specific element that sparked your story idea?

    Gabriella: I think it was the tandem bicycle. It got me thinking about a bicycle I had seen in Japan. It was a regular bike with a surfboard attached on a trailer. It was easy to imagine a person straddling the surfboard and another person seated on the bike, like a variation on a tandem bike. The actual bike belonged to a man whom I ran into while I was walking (like on a  pilgrimage) in Japan in 2012, a year after the Tohoku earthquake. He was riding and surfing around Japan hoping to raise money for earthquake victims. The story I wrote grew itself around that image. And like with most of my work, it took on a life of its own.

    3ER: Describe your writing process.

    Gabriella: My writing process is embarrassingly random. It’s like my cooking process. I love to cook and I love to write, but I don’t really know too much about the technicalities of either one.  I read a lot, even cookbooks. I get ideas. Then I  mix stuff together depending on what is at hand. I get completely lost in my head while writing and cooking.

    3ER: What book/story/poem do you wish you had written?

    Gabriella: This question is harder than it looks! I’ve typed half a dozen titles here and deleted them all because my choice seemed too limiting. My answer is that I would love to have written the kind of important literature that gets assigned by creative English teachers in progressive high schools. A small number of sensitive kids will cherish those books and remember them for their whole lives, and maybe go on to become writers themselves. I think that’s cool.

    3ER: Where can we read more of your work?

    Gabriella: I’m happy to say that my fiction and poetry have been published in several small magazines in English-speaking countries. Website: Gabriella Brand

    3ER: What is the weirdest dream youve ever had?

    Gabriella: I have really vivid dreams. I dream in several languages and in bright colors. After my divorce, I dreamt that my house was flooded. I climbed onto the roof and looked around. I watched the water recede and on one side of the house was a  jungle filled with wild vines and huge flowers, and on the other was a well-manicured English topiary garden. It seemed like a visual message- we don’t all have to grow in the same way. I needed such a reminder at that time in my life.

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