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CimmPlicity Interview

Posted on 23 September 2005. © Copyright 2004-2024 WriteWords
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WriteWords talks to Co McPhee, editor of CimmPlicity: 'It's for people who love to read.'

Tell us all about CimmPlicity...whoís who, history, ethos etc

CimmPlicity made its first appearance in 2002, made it to two issues but just as number three was due out I had a string of personal setbacks one of which was my computer was destroyed and all was lost. Having recovered from all that, three years later it returns! As before itís about presenting strongly written stories in traditional format, stories that entertain the reader, making it a magazine to read and enjoy, rather than a showcase for how daring and clever the editor is or trying to present cutting-edge literature. Cimm takes its cue from the pulp magazines of the 50ís. Itís for people who love to read.

How do you usually find your writers?

So far Iíve only advertised on the internet, but as I re--establish the magazine Iíd like to try other avenues. I also establish links with other small--press editors and suggest tit--for--tat advertising for each other. That is an especially good way of spreading the word, and has the bonus of breaking the ice with your fellows who always have useful tips and information. So basically I shout loudly and wait for the writers to come to me.

What kind of writers do you work with?

Any kind! For example, the next issue features Stephen Palmer who has had several SF books printed with Orbit along with John Peace who is appearing in print for the first time ever. I enjoy CimmPlicity containing a mixture like that, and itís even better when youíre the first editor to give a writer a break and then see their writing appearing in all kinds of other magazine later Ė a bit like a good teacher, theyíll always remember you.

Favourite writers and why?

My taste in literature is pretty evenly divided between Graham Greene, George Orwell and John Steinbeck. Greene, especially in his earlier work like A Gun for Sale has such a dramatic turn of phrase, and everything is heavy with Catholic guilt. For humour, I always loved Spike Milliganís irreverence -- nobody else could have got away with printing that version of the Old Testament -- and Jerome K Jerome, todayís stand-up comedianís noble ancestor. Robert Blochís Lefty Feep stories were always entertaining reading. For the more fantastic, Philip K Dick is my hero, but he is closely shadowed by A.E. van Vogt, especially Voyage of the Space Beagle. I must have read that one book eight times.

What excites you about a piece of writing-- what keeps you interested?

A clever use of language, a story that keeps the interest, a twist! I like a good, meaty ending Ė not at all keen on things that finish vaguely, leaving you to wonder what the outcome actually was. Iím not in the least bit highbrow myself, so you canít impress me with mysterious slipstream fringe prose like those folk do in the big city. There are good homes for writing like that, but CimmPlicity isnít designed for it Ė such as is hinted in the name.

And what makes your heart sink?

Being submitted a piece of work which is completely outside the remitÖ it just makes it obvious the writer hasnít studied the requirements for the magazine at all, theyíve just seen the magical word Ďsubmití and landed me with something far too short, way too long or much too profane. Not the best way to my heart, as are curt or arrogant cover notes.

A longer version of this interview is available to WriteWords Full and Community Members.
Click here to learn more about becoming a member.

Comments by other Members

Nik Perring at 16:08 on 23 September 2005  Report this post
Great interview. Made a lot of sense.


EmmaD at 16:19 on 23 September 2005  Report this post
To do so is only showing your work the respect it deserves.

That's an interesting angle on the business of doing your homework before submitting, both on the mag, and on your own work: that you should be bothered to get it all right out of self-respect, not just good manners and/or common sense.

Good interview. Nice to read about a mag. which doesn't think the only good writing is experimental writing.


Account Closed at 16:53 on 23 September 2005  Report this post
Interesting that Co should refer to mags of the pulp era, where many writers kicked off their careers.

I checked the website and it looks like an imaginative mix of stories, though there's no money in being featured in it. But as Co says, don't expect to get rich.

old friend at 16:55 on 26 September 2005  Report this post
I like the sound of this Editor and of the advice he gives. I was particularly struck by the comments on punctuation. It's nice to read something that suggests traditional standards in writing and what a short story should be all about.


Zigeroon at 16:05 on 30 September 2005  Report this post


Great advice. Refreshing approach. Thanks.


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