- a speculative element. If your story doesn't have something macabre/fantastic/science fictional it's out. I'm sorry to say a very nice story made it to the Feb 2013 issue's hold-for-voting, but it had nothing speculative, so we couldn't publish it.
- a character who acts. The character can be animal, vegetable, mineral, supernatural creature, machine, insert-your-idea-here, but it must at least try to do something because he/she/it has...
- a problem. This is part 1 of your plot.
- a conflict. This is part 2 of your plot. Something must happen that opposes the character's efforts to solve his/her/its problem. In very short stories (~1500 words or less) you might not have space for this. That's okay.
- a resolution. This is where the reader finds out if the character succeeded (Yeah!) or failed (Aw!).
- active scenes with dialogue. Note this is showing, not telling the story. Other markets may prefer telling. We do not.
- something unique. We want to see something we haven't seen before. This could be a unique problem, a mash-up of speculative fiction tropes, unique magic, unusual technology, a new world, etc. The sky's the limit here. A great example of this is In the Belly of the Beast by Larry Hodges in which the character slays the dragon in an entirely new way. :)
05 February 2013
show me the story
I'm still recovering, er reeling, from our production meeting last week. As we argued, er discussed, the stories in hold-for-voting, it struck me that Electric Spec does have certain things we want in a story. This surprises me a bit since we have three different editors. (I guess that's where the fisticuffs, etc. come into play.) So, at the risk of repeating what I've said in months past, here are some of the things we look for in an Electric Spec story: