Market Interview: Re:Fiction's editor, Tal Valante

Wednesday, January 10, 2018
One of the best things about working at WOW is getting to know our subscribers. There are so many talented writers doing incredible things—launching businesses, books, websites, resources, and more—that I decided to periodically highlight writers in our community that you just have to know. Tal Valante is one of them. She created Re:Fiction, a website that helps fiction writers thrive. Read on to find out more about this excellent resource and paying market.

WOW: Tal, I’m thrilled to discover your publication, Re:Fiction, which is such a fantastic resource for writers.

Tal: Thanks, Angela! Coming from you, that really means a lot, and I appreciate the opportunity to reach out to WOW readers. Hello, WOW reader! :)

WOW: I see a lot of familiar names in your team of contributors who have also written for WOW or are subscribers. What inspired you to create the site?

Tal Valante
Tal: There are so many awesome writing blogs out there, delivering great writing advice. But they’re first and foremost blogs. I started Re:Fiction because I was missing something more organized, with internal structure that writers could follow. Our section structure and detailed topic list aim to provide just that.

With Re:Fiction, I wanted to give extensive answers to common writing questions, such as “What is the third-person limited point-of-view?” Sure, Wikipedia already answers that question. But Re:Fiction’s answer is more than purely academic: it combines explanations with how-to tips and actionable advice. That makes Re:Fiction an important resource, in my view.

WOW: I agree! I absolutely love the design and organization of the site.

Re:Fiction is also a paying market and publishes articles on writing fiction, from craft to publishing and marketing. What are some dos and don’ts when pitching you?

Tal: I love to see well-developed pitches that sell the idea, not the writer. I love pitches that take a certain aspect of writing and propose to cover it extensively.

Some tips for pitching:

  • Think outside the box. Look for unusual ideas that are rarely explored.
  • Show me the structure of the article you’re proposing. I prefer solid structure over a handful of random tips.
  • Be highly specific in your ideas. Think in terms of actionable advice.

WOW: As an editor, I especially like the tip on proposing the structure of the article. It makes it easier to visualize what you'd be publishing.

How much of the site's content is written by freelancers, and what are your current pay rates? Do you pay on acceptance or publication?

Tal: Freelancers are a major part of the Re:Fiction team, and I’m always on the lookout for good writers. My pay rates are currently $0.05/word. I pay on acceptance. More details can be found at Feel free to pitch!

WOW: I'm sure a lot of our readers will be pitching you!

You also publish reviews on craft of writing books. I love how each review has specific structure, which includes a section at the bottom called, “Should You Buy?” with a list of pros and cons. That’s so helpful! What types of reviews are you looking for? Only craft books or do you publish other types of book reviews like books on self-publishing or marketing?

Tal: I’d love to see reviews on self-publishing, trade-publishing, and marketing resources. I’m not limiting the field to books, either; I’m open to software reviews, online course reviews, and so on. If it’s an official resource for writers, I want to know all about it!

WOW: Excellent! You also host a new contest on the 1st of every month with some great prizes. Please tell our writers how the contest works.

Tal: Re:Fiction’s writing contests are just plain fun! I announce the prompt in the newsletter on the 1st of every month, and the deadline is the end of that month, so you have 30 days to write and polish your story.

If you’re not a subscriber, or if you subscribed after the 1st, don’t worry. The contest opens to everyone on the 15th of the same month, at which point you have 15 days to finish and submit your piece. Just keep an eye on this page:

Entry is free. I accept all genres, though sometimes a specific prompt might limit the field a bit.

At this point, I’m the sole judge, though that’s soon to change. I’m looking for stories that engage, that surprise, that move me to feel and think. Sounds like your works? Go ahead and enter!

WOW: Our writers love contests, so I’m sure you just inspired them to enter. :)

On your Facebook page, you have a great feature called “Writer Spotlight” where you highlight a writer and quote her about her writing journey, specifically the struggles of writing and publishing. I find it inspiring to hear how other writers are tackling these issues. It’s nice to know we’re not alone on the road to publication. How can a writer participate in this feature?

Tal: The simplest way to enter is to shoot me an email over at team[at]refiction[dot]com. In this email, please include three things:

  1. Your story, in the form of 2-3 sentences about the struggles of writing fiction these days.
  2. Your photo, preferably candid.
  3. The name you’d like to go by.

That’s it! I’ll get back to you with your scheduled post date and later let you know as soon as it goes live.

You don’t have to be a published author in order to participate, by the way. If you write, you’re a writer. It’s as simple as that. We’d love to hear your story!

WOW: Tal, besides Re:Fiction, you have a lot going on! You’re the co-owner and webmaster of Riptide Publishing, a web programmer, and an author. How do you find time to write? Do you have a writing schedule?

Tal: I actually have even more going on besides that, but I can’t quite talk about it yet. (Sorry for the tease! Not. :) )

As for finding the time to write, it’s a constant struggle. I’m a very slow writer, so I set my daily goal at 500 words, and even that is a real challenge. My current work-in-progress, a fantasy YA series, is coming along more slowly than a crippled snail swimming through wet cement. The important thing to remember, though, is that even the little numbers eventually add up—as long as you don’t quit!

WOW: 500 words a day is a great, actionable goal. I have a similar goal of writing for one hour every day this year. It does add up!

Okay, fun question: If you were trapped on a deserted island and could choose only one writing resource book, what would it be?

Tal: Oooh, tough one. I’d have to say, Story by Robert McKee. It really opened my eyes to story dynamics, and it’s available in hardcover, which is massive enough to crush scorpions if I run into any.

WOW: That’s thinking proactively! I’ve been stung by a scorpion in Mexico...and trust me, it is not fun. I’ve been meaning to check out that book, so I’m glad it’s one of your favorites.

Thank you so much for taking time out of your day to chat with us, Tal.

Tal: Angela, thanks so much for the interview! I had a great time answering your questions. I hope WOW readers will find value in Re:Fiction as well. See you there!

WOW: Indeed!

Find out more about Re:Fiction by visiting


Interview by Angela Mackintosh, publisher of WOW! Women On Writing.


Karen Wojcik Berner said...

Just checked out this site. There's a lot of great information there. Thanks for the interview, Angela.

Sioux Roslawski said...

Angela--Thanks for doing this interview.

Tal--I am going to check out the "Story" book, along with your website. It sounds like it has something for every writer...

Tal Valante said...

Angela, thanks so much for the interview! I enjoyed it a lot.

Sioux, thanks for reading! "Story" is my veritable bible on crafting stories, and I can't recommend it enough. Happy reading!

Renee Roberson said...

Great interview, ladies! Excited to learn about all you're doing at Re:Fiction, Tal. I love the writing contests with prompts and will be signing up to subscribe.

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