16 January 2018

most popular blog posts

Doh! You just missed the deadline for the fabulous February 28, 2018 issue of Electric Spec. (It was Jan 15.) But, don't worry. You can submit now fo the marvelous May 2018 issue.
We are hard at work on the next issue of Electric Spec.

So, in the meantime...a few statistics. We are about to cross into 600,000 views for the blog! (Yes, right here!)
(Unfortunately, since we've had a few different hosters over the years, we don't have overall stats for Electric Spec itself.)
So, focusing on the blog, we tend to get a significant uptick around release dates. We also get a signficant upticks when we have guest bloggers--especially authors. :) Yay, authors!
It appears that two of our most popular non-author, non-release-date blog posts were:

Keep those stories coming! Thank you!

09 January 2018

characterization

At Electric Spec we're really trying to get through the slush pile. Thank you for sending us your stories!

Every editor is different. Personally, I enjoy stories with strong characterization. I want to believe your characters are real people. How do you do this? By being specific. Use specific details. For example, don't write 'cookie,' write 'homemade chocolate chip cookie,' or whatever. Also, use metaphors and similes that are specific to your character. A witch would have much different metaphors and similes than a scientist. Often, you want to give the specific subjective thoughts and feelings of characters. Show me what's inside their head.

Furthermore, generally, the protagonist should be special in some way. Show me this specialness, and then use it in an integral way in the story. For example, I just read a story in which the protagonist is a clock-maker. The climax and resolution of the story should thus involve clock-making. Perhaps your protag is unusually compassionate or brave or whatever. The point is the story resolution should hinge on whatever this uniqueness is.

Consider sending us a story with some unique specific characterizations!

Don't forget the submission deadline for the fabulous February 2018 issue is right around the corner: January 15, 2018! Good luck!

02 January 2018

e-mo-tion

Happy New Year!

Here's hoping 2018 is even better than 2017!
The submission deadline for the fabulous February 28, 2018 issue of Electric Spec is: Jan 15, 2018, midnight, US Mountain time.

We're starting to get enmeshed in the slush for the new issue, so I have a tip...
The number one job of an author is to evoke emotion in the reader. I can't stress this enough.
E-mo-tion is the most important component of every story. If I don't have an emotional reaction to a story, I'm much less likely to buy it. Conversely, if I do have an emotional reaction to a story, I'm much more likely to buy it! :)

What are some good examples of emotional stories? I happen to be rereading Connie Willis' excellent book The Best of Connie Willis: Award-Winning Stories (2014). In the past, I've discussed "The Last of the Winnebagos" (here and here) so I won't do that again. Instead, I'll mention "A Letter from the Clearys." Wow, talk about an amazing emotional reaction. It may be a perfect story. It starts very subltly: "There was a letter from the Clearys at the post office." What follows is a very slow reveal of something huge (I won't spoil it for you) done via an exceptionally well-created character. If you haven't read it, I highly recommend it.

Send us your emotion-evoking story!

19 December 2017

Nightly Bites

When you think of Christmas, you naturally turn to ...vampires, right? :) Okay, I admit that is a little nontraditional. But I'm very excited to be part of the fun vampire collaboration Nightly Bites, available now!
Next week back to our regular programming. :)

12 December 2017

no laundry lists

We're still enjoying the notable November 2017 issue of Electric Spec but have started working on the fabulous February 2018 issue. So, yes, we've started in on slush.
Additionally, I've been reading a lot of 'Best Of' short story collections and, consequently, have been thinking a lot about what makes an outstanding short story...

Description can be tricky for authors. It almost never works to have a laundry list of adjectives or other descriptors. If your fiction has any of these, get rid of them. Nix the tall, dark, and handsome.
I've noticed 'Best' fiction rarely has objective descriptions. Physical characteristics of people aren't even described. Speculative fiction, however, is a unique genre because stories often have non-human characters and non-Earth settings. In that case, you do need descriptions. But...

They should be subjective descriptions. They should be told only through the lens of your protagonist(s).
They should also serve the story. For example, the reader doesn't need to know King Zdofudasdlkf has five tentacles until the reader needs to know it. :)

Please send us your laundry-list-free stories!

05 December 2017

we're lovin' it

The notable November 2017 issue of Electric Spec is out and we're lovin' it! Which story is your favorite? There are so many to chose from...
  • "Sparks" by Heather Morris: When nine of the Dictator's ten cadres are hunting you, you've got to keep moving. So what kind of spark does it take to get you to stop?
  • "The Ballad of the Blind Hunt" by Matthew Hornsby: Two hunters are out for revenge in post-apocalyptic Texas. But you can't hunt the traditional way when your target is a pure-strain alpha freak.
  • "Clara" by Adriana K. Weinert: Some kids would be thrilled to have their toys come to life. Unless they're like Clara's toys.
  • "The Fish Kite" by Mary E. Lowd: Most people wonder what would happen if you could start over. In this tale, you'll find out what happens when that option is no longer available.
  • "The Chain Outside of Time" by Aaron Proctor: What if deja vu wasn't a fleeting moment but a full-time occurrence? Find out what life would be like in this thought-provoking story.

Thanks again, to everyone who helped make this happen!

And, thank you, Readers!