22 September 2020

Ordinary Life

The submission deadline for the notable November 2020 issue of Electric Spec is coming up soon: October 15, 2020! Get those stories in!

The approaching deadline means we're working hard on the submissions in the slush pile. I read a couple stories that did a good job of starting in media res--in the midst of things. This means the plot has already started and the story is off to a very fast start. In general, this is a good thing, unless...
Unless the reader doesn't get a chance to get to know the protagonist at all before he/she/it is robbed/shot/thrown off a cliff/cursed/etc. If the reader doesn't get to know the protag, it's hard for the reader to care if he/she/it is robbed/shot/etc.

Consider starting your story with a little ordinary life. Show the reader the protag before the dire events start, and if he/she/it saves a puppy or a baby, so much the better. :)
And, yes, I fully realize it's tricky to show ordinary life and still craft an interesting opening. But, that's why we writers get the big bucks (ha ha), fame, and satisfaction for art well-done.

Good luck!

15 September 2020

Colorado Writers Collaborative!

Usually at this time of year I go to the Rocky Mountain Fiction Writers annual convention. Electric Spec editors have taught various workshops here in years past. This year Rocky Mountain Fiction Writers has joined forces with Northern Colorado Writers and Pikes Peak Writers to create a month long virtual conference free for everyone to attend!

This joint venture hits YouTube September 1-30, 2020. Check out free video presentations from agents, editors, and authors on the craft, business, and life of writing as well as current hot topics all writers should pay attention to. You’ll learn from NYT bestselling authors and awesome editors. Over twenty-five contributors have volunteered their time and effort to provide the writing world with some education, inspiration, and motivation during this time of safer-at-home.

If you're a writer or want to know more about writing, check it out here!

08 September 2020

basking in the glow

Ah. At Electric Spec we're still basking in the glow of the awesome August 2020 issue. What's your favorite story?
  • "Smithsonian Soldiers" by E.A.Lawrence -- An illustration of the power of friendship and human persistence in an apocalyptic world.
  • "Nobody Gets Out Alive" by George R. Galuschak -- Tune into the livestream of a game where the stakes even higher than life or death.
  • "Glass and Ashes" by Raven McAllister -- Hard times make for fast friends, but what happens when a life is on the line?
  • "After the Fee-Fi-Fo" by Maureen Bowden -- What really happens after the fairy tale ends?
  • "Hot Crow and Paper Lion" by MJ Francis -- Fantasy and mythology mix with two very unlikely friends on an even more unlikely mission.
  • Or, maybe the bonus story, "The Mandelbrot Scheme" by Mark Everglade?

So many shockingly-good stories!

31 August 2020

Awesome August 2020 Issue Live!

The awesome August 31, 2020 issue of Electric Spec is live! Woo hoo!

Thanks so much to all the authors!

Thanks so much to all the Electric Spec staff.

And, especially, thanks so much to all the readers!

Woo hoo!

25 August 2020

from Author Galuschak

For August 31, 2020, Electric Spec is excited to feature George Galuschak's story Nobody Gets Out Alive. Here's what the author has to say about it:

"Nobody Gets Out Alive" was inspired by YouTube and gaming vloggers. Horror writers are not generally known for our mastery of technology, but that isn't really true. We must explain why our characters' cell phones don't work when they're being stalked by the killer, and why there are still no good pictures of Bigfoot when everyone now has a camera and there are trail cams all over the place.

Sometimes when I write, I like to think about the secondary effects of technology (thanks to author Laura J. Mixon, who explained the concept). I went to many rock concerts as a youth, and watched teenagers wave their cigarette lighters during the power ballads. Twenty years later, those selfsame thirty-somethings were waving their cell phones during the same power ballads (reunion tours rule!). Not what cell phones were designed to do, but they get the job done. Nowadays, people can watch rock concerts on their smartphones, if they have the battery power.

"Nobody Gets Out Alive" was inspired by a secondary effect of technology, the fact that a person can now make a living playing video games on YouTube. Vlogging is a precarious existence – posting every day, so your audience won't forget you; pretending to like a game you've played every day for two months straight; obtaining a weird sort of pseudo-celebrity, wherein total strangers act like you're their best friend or even fall in love with you. Then there's the worst-case scenario – that bestselling game you're vlogging about turns ice cold, and you're washed up at the age of twenty-three.

Thanks, George! Very interesting! Be sure to check out Nobody Gets Out Alive and the other stories on August 31st, 2020!

20 August 2020

from Author Francis

We're excited about the awesome August 2020 Electric Spec and the story "Hot Crow and Paper Lion" by M J Francis. Here's what the author has to say about it:

I couldn't tell you where, exactly, the idea for Hot Crow and Paper Lion came from. I recall the crow appearing before my mind's eye, majestic and fully formed, tipping his top hat to me. But I can't tell you why or where he came from. What I can tell you is this: I wasn't thinking about writing.

There seems to be two approaches you can take to creative ideas. The first involves sitting down with a notepad, taking a pen or pencil, or even booting up the computer and prepping a blank page on your favourite word processor. Then you say to yourself, Okay, I really need a new idea. I want to write a new short story. So you stare at the page, you tap your pen (probably not your laptop, though) against your forehead as if the action will dislodge something brilliant. You stare into space and think -- think really hard -- about characters, stereotypes, how you might break from a stereotype, fantastical creatures, a world newly forged from stardust, maybe some type of magic no other writer has conjured. Sometimes it works. Sometimes, your minutes or hours with the blank page and the writing tools you've gathered over the years produce something worthwhile.

Then there's the other method. And it isn't much of a method at all. It's called Getting on with Life. Just going about your daily activities -- work, hobbies, family time. Anything but writing. And definitely not thinking really hard. Walking around, admiring the views, absorbing the world and life.

And then -- ah! What's this? An idea. Random? Maybe. Or some amalgamation of things subconsciously blended into something new and interesting. It's as if a veil has been lifted and you've glimpsed something that was there all along, hidden.

I know which approach I enjoy the most. Some of my best ideas come from not trying to think of ideas. Not actually writing at all. And that's where Hot Crow came from, beyond the Veil, with Paper Lion prowling close by.

Thanks, M J! Very interesting! Be sure to check out all the stories on August 31, 2020!

18 August 2020

from Author McAllister

The editors are still hard at work on the awesome August 2020 issue of Electric Spec. We're excited to feature "Glass and Ashes" by Raven McAllister. Here's what the author has to say about it:

'G&A' pulls heavily from my counseling experience. It deals with PTSD and alcoholism, and the isolation and hopelessness that often results. The other half comes from a mild fascination with burn piles growing up. My uncle was always burning things, and in all these ash mounds, fire ants had moved in. I wondered to myself, what would come to inhabit or evolve in a burn pile that’s been growing for over a century? What aberration would nature produce to survive constant rebirths through fire? And of course that theme runs concurrent with where the protagonist ultimately finds himself.

Thanks, Raven! Very interesting! Be sure to check out "Glass and Ashes" and the rest of the stories on August 31st!