We've scheduled our production meeting for next week. Some of us are frantically trying to get through their slush. Some of us are already pondering the relative merits of the stories in hold-for-voting. We're thinking about possible movie columns, entries in Editor's Corner, cover art and author interviews. We're setting up the issue in our content management system. If it seems like a lot of work, it is.
I find picking amongst the stories in hold-for-voting to be hard. In the first place, if a story gets in hold-for-voting it is publishable. So, it's tough to think that we might end up not choosing it; I definitely empathize with authors. Not only is writing difficult, getting published is difficult. In fact, this is why we started Electric Spec--to give authors another possible market. I've been trying to pinpoint what makes me prefer a story in hold-for-voting over other stories. Yes, it has to be well-written with an intriguing protagonist that does something. Yes, there has to be some kind of interesting speculative fiction element like a neat new world. I think the extra something is being memorable. After I read the story, does it stick with me? Do I ponder it on my commute? That's a story I'm going to pick.
Of course, the next question is: how do you make a story memorable? Writing is an art so there are no tried-and-true formulas. But you might consider a never-before-seen world or a unique character with a one-of-a-kind problem. Nailing the character's point-of-view also helps; if I feel like I am the character, that's more memorable. Good luck!
Do you have any tips for writing a memorable story?