With NaNoWriMo (National Novel Writing Month) more than halfway through, there’s a lot of writing being done. For the folks at Fathom, however, the writing doesn’t stop at the end of the month.
Fathom is the undergraduate creative writing journal for both Dalhousie and King’s. It is created entirely by students, from contributors to editors. Publishing every year in April, the journal accepts both poetry and prose from all disciplines.
“We don’t look for any particular type of story. It’s just fiction, poetry and nonfiction … written by students,” says Issie Patterson, one of Fathom’s two editors-in-chief.
Unlike many publications, Fathom doesn’t have an overarching, annual theme.
“It’s just anything we think has merit, is interesting and is original, we’ll publish,” she says.
Both editors-in-chief, Liam Morantz and Issie Patterson, have previous publishing experience, both within and outside of Fathom.
Fathom also has a large amount of regular editors who have just as much say into what gets published.
“[It’s a] pretty dialogic process,” Morantz says.
The publishing process goes like this: students submit pieces by the December deadline, and one of the editors-in-chief goes through the submissions to remove the names for the blind reading process.
Then, the editors read and comment on all the pieces, with occasional suggestions for the original authors. Each editor will come up with 3-4 pieces they want to see in the final product, and after some more discussion, the final submissions are chosen. The point of editing isn’t to change the meaning of the story, but rather to enhance it for a professionally-published piece.
With the release of the journal in April, a public reading is held. This event involves free food and author readings of their own works in the journal.
The future of the journal is interesting. The current goal is to increase the number of submissions, which is mostly English or Creative Writing students, although any undergrad student at Dalhousie or King’s, regardless of faculty, may submit.
They also hope to increase the readership and community of the journal, perhaps through the publication of more copies.
“What we want to do is to expand the community of readership and authorship for Fathom … we want to amplify the names of the people [who submit],” says Morantz.
As for anyone looking to write something for Fathom:
“When you’re writing something specifically to be submitted, it’s really difficult to get out of that mindset where you want to write something just so it gets accepted … something universally likeable. You have to get out of that way of thinking, though, and write something that you want to write. I think that it’s more likely to get accepted that way, because it’s honest, it’s genuine,” says Patterson.
Students are limited to 2 submissions each, up to 1200 words for stories or nonfiction, and three pages for poetry. Submissions can be emailed to Fathom.firstname.lastname@example.org.