21 March 2017

editor tips: endings

We're deep in the slush for the marvelous May 2017 issue of Electric Spec. Based on this, I have a tip for authors: make your ending special. There are three main issues here:
  • You need an emotional punch. Your ending needs to harken back to the problem in the beginning. For example, if your protagonist's problem is he lost his job and is depressed, by the end of the story you need to address both the external and the internal problem. Did he find a new job? Is he still depressed? Thus, the conclusion of the story should specifically show the protag's emotional state, e.g. He smiled. You want to take the reader along on the entire emotional journey from start to finish. Don't assume the reader will get to where you, as the author, are. Bring the reader along via showing.
  • Sentence order in the paragraph is important. Word order in the sentence is important. Studies show people pay the most attention to things at the beginning and at the end. And they tend to remember things at the end the most. Thus, if you can rearrange your paragraphs to have the most emotionally punchy sentence last it will have more effect. If you can rearrange your sentences to have the most emotionally punchy word last it will have more effect (still obeying grammatical rules, of course!).
  • An overlooked writerly tool is: spacing on the page. A line has more emotional punch for the reader when it is isolated, i.e. surrounded by white space. Therefore, it can be very effective to give important lines their own paragraphs. Consider rearranging your final page. In particular, as an editor I often reccomend the last line of a story stand on its own:
               He smiled.
    See how the line alone is more emotionally punchy than when it was buried in a big paragraph?
A masterful ending, evoking emotions, is like the cherry on top of a sundae.

           It can take a story from good to great!

14 March 2017

editor advice

At Electric Spec we continually accept submissions, so, as soon as we publish an issue we have to start working on the next one. Thus, I have some advice for folks hoping to publish their story:
  • Obey the submisison rules of the market. Each market has slightly different submission rules. Look them up. ( Electric Spec Submissions) Follow them. For example, we want *rtf files not *doc or *docx files. If you don't follow our rules it causes us trouble and that is one strike against the author.
  • Proofread for spelling and grammar mistakes. A lot of mistakes is a strike.
  • Length Check your market's stories for common accepted lengths. We accept longer length stories but we publish them less often. (Modern readers don't seem to want looong stories.) Similarly, we publish flash less often. No matter what your story length, it does need to tell an entire story and not contain filler.
  • Don't use story cliches. As an editor, you would not believe how often we see certain scenarios. This week I've seen a lot of stories that begin with the character waking up. Thus, I am less inclined to take one of those. I understand it can be difficult for authors to know what's common but that's why you read a lot of stories, right?
  • Create unique characters. I am much more inclined to take a story if the main character is unique. They should be special with a special way of talking, thinking, feeling and/or acting. Maybe they even have special and/or supernatural/superhuman skills... (We are a speculative fiction ezine, after all.)
  • Try to evoke reader's emotions. A successful story makes the reader feel something.
That's probably enough for now. Please continue sending us your stories. We appreciate it!
Good luck!

07 March 2017


We are still basking in the glory of the new issue of Electric Spec. Have you checked out the fabulous free fiction yet? What's your fave? The 'aiei of Snow? Quintessence? The Improbable Library? Crawlers? General Notice to Off-World Visitors? I must admit I really enjoyed all of them.

We've been getting tons of nice feedback (including from staff members)...
The best story I've read in at least a year!
What do you think?

Consider sharing with your friends and family.
Did you know we have bios of all the authors and artists off the Links page? Well, we do. :)
We want to encourage author success, so, consider checking out the authors' works elsewhere...

28 February 2017

Fabulous Fiction!

The first 2017 issue of Electric Spec is alive! We're proud to present five fabulous tales:
  • In "The 'aiei of Snow" D.A. D'Amico shares a beautiful fantasy about family and everything that comes with it.
  • David Bowles creates an amazing mash-up of high energy physics and native mythology in "Quintessence".
  • Kathryn Yelinek's "The Improbable Library" lets us visit the fantastic library we all wish we could go to again and again.
  • Jay Barnson makes our skin crawl with "Crawlers." Let's just say, natural disasters could be even more terrifying than we might have thought.
  • In "General Notice to Off-World Visitors" Dana Martin puts troublesome tourists on notice.
  • Bonus: In Editor's Corner Nikki Baird presents "Author Interview: Laurence MacNaughton." Laurence has a lot of helpful advice and even some freebies...
As usual, thank you very much to everyone who made this happen! Thank you staff! Thank you authors!
Thank you readers!

23 February 2017

Cover Art!

We are working hard on the new issue of Electric Spec.
We are proud to reveal the beautiful cover art "Snow Gates" by Nele Diel. feb 2017 cover
Check out the new issue February 28, 2017!

21 February 2017

from Author Bowles

Here at Electric Spec we love learning more about our authors and how their stories come together. Thus we're excited to hear from Author David Bowles...

Crafting "Quintessence"

Growing up in a Mexican-American family, I was fascinated from an early age by the legends and myths of the borderlands and Mexico. At college, that fascination grew into scholarly interest in the culture and language of Mesoamerican peoples that rivaled my deep love of speculative fiction.

One of the most prevalent mythic cycles in pre-Colombian lore is The Five Suns, an epic description of the repeated creation, destruction, and rebirth of our world as the gods refined their skill and overcame their rivalries. Prophecies from before the Conquest promise that this fifth age of earth will also come to an end via violent earthquakes, and a new era--more perfect, peopled with folk of greater wisdom and goodness--will emerge under a new and brighter sun.

For the longest time, a need to tell the tale of that next transition has tickled the back of my mind, a creative itch I knew I’d eventually scratch. Then came the day that, on vacation in Mexico, I happened to be in a small Afro-Mexican town in Oaxaca when a group of men and women performed the traditional Dance of the Devils. Also watching the subversive celebration--which preserved the native gods of freed blacks right under the noses of their Catholic priests--were two women, holding hands, enrapt as I was.

The wheels of my mind turned. The story clicked into place, a blend of myth and science and cosmic horror that echoed the syncretic religious ecstasy I beheld that day.

We all of us wish for a better world. What sort of anguish would push us to risk this one to usher in the next? I hope that with "Quintessence" I give an answer that rings true and human in your minds and hearts.

Thanks, David! Fascinating!
Check it out on February 28, 2017!

14 February 2017

Coming Attractions Preview!

Huzzah! We've finalized the scintillating stories for the fabulous February 28, 2017 issue of Electric Spec!
They will be:
  • The 'aiei of Snow by D.A. D'Amico
  • Quintessence by David Bowles
  • The Improbable Library by Kathryn Yelinek
  • Crawlers by Jay Barnson
  • General Notice to Off-World Visitors by Dana Martin

Congratulations to all of these authors!
Thank you to everyone who submitted.

We'll have more preview info in the next two weeks.