13 December 2011

lessons from slush

We are starting to get through the stories you all have been kind enough to submit for our consideration for the next issue. (Thanks, by the way!) My recent readings have prompted me to pass along some advice...
  • Make sure your story makes sense. All of us writers have trouble sometimes putting our visions on the page. It's crucial that you have a critique group or a beta reader or someone you can ask: "Okay, what happened in this story?" If they can't answer you, you have a problem.
  • Consider writing more than 1000 words. It is extremely difficult to write a compelling story in less than 1000 words. Remember a protagonist has to have a problem, attempt to fix it, and the reader should care what happens.
  • Avoid greetings and goodbyes. Generally, "Hi." and "Goodbye." and similar bog a story down. In reality, of course, we do say these things, but this is an example of how fiction is better than reality: there shouldn't be any mundane stuff. Everything needs to serve the story.
  • Write a good opening. Generally, excellent stories have some intriguing narrative to start off. Out of curiousity, I took a look at some of our stories in the current Electric Spec issue:
    • I knew I could never bring up Kylie properly.
    • A foot-high pile of bills on a table wasn't the largest amount of money I'd seen in one place.
    • Tommy is a little on the boring side.
    • If I've learned one thing in the two years I've been trapped in here, it's this.

    As a reader, I'm intrigued and want to learn more. Don't you? (Of course, you all have already read all these stories, right? :) )

Please keep sending us your stories, and, good luck!

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