02 May 2012

post-production meeting update

I think I can fight through my hangover to tell you what happened last night at the production meeting. At least eight different kinds of beer were imbibed, fattening food was scarfed down. There was cussing, fisticuffs, thumb-wrestling and sword play. Okay, not exactly all that stuff happened. :)
We did have a special guest, our movie expert, Marty Mapes, and discussed many things movie in the initial part of the meeting. Thanks for all your neat columns over the years, Marty!

Which brings me to the stories... We had difficult decisions to make because all the stories were very good. We appreciate submissions. Thanks! This time we had a large variety of speculative fiction to choose from including slam-bang action stories, meta-fiction, and more literary stories. We had science fiction, fantasy, and horror, and combinations thereof.

One significant factor in our decisions included issue balance; we need to include SF, fantasy, and horror in each issue. (Tip: I'd have to say in general we get less horror submissions than other genres. However, please don't send us a story about man killing his girlfriend/wife/female stranger--we see that a lot!)

Another consideration at our 'zine is originality. Several of the stories we picked had elements that we hadn't seen before.

Finally, an excellent story is more likely to get picked than a very good story. Some things for authors to consider include: Did you connect the dots to explain to the reader why the protagonist is acting in his/her particular way? If you have a unique fascinating world, do you explain to the reader why it is the way it is? At the other extreme do you have too much backstory? Note: backstory rarely works in dialogue. Does your protagonist act, drive the events of the story? Make sure, too, significant events occur.
If I was going to give one overall tip for short-story authors it's: is your story as short as it can possibly be? In other words, most stories are too long. You just want to include the crucial bits. :)

Thus, we have selected our stories for the May 31 issue. The authors of the hold-for-voting stories we didn't have room for just received an email from me. We're in the process of sending the authors of selected stories contracts. After we receive signed contracts, we, the editors, will edit the stories. Then,we send or link copies for the authors to approve before we go live. We're also busy picking cover art. I'm working on a fabulous new interview (more on that later). One of the editors is working on something for Editors Corner. We're working on the Letter from the Editor. And, finally, we have the technical aspects of creating the electronic issue, uploading content, etc., to complete.

Phew! If that sounds like a lot of work, it kind of is. But it's worth it. We love speculative fiction and we want to encourage authors.

Send us your stories for the August 2012 issue!:)
And check back here on May 31, 2012 to read the new issue!


David E. Hughes said...

Good summary Lesley (my thumb is still smarting from that wrestling match!)

Betsy Dornbusch said...

Shorter is good. I have a post to write about that...