18 December 2013

the last Notes from the Slush Pile of 2013

I hope everyone's enjoying the holiday season. Here at Electric Spec we are going through the slush pile as part of our holiday celebrations. ;) Here are some things to keep in mind if you want to sell your story:
  • Do have correct spelling and grammar.
  • Do grab the editor with an intriguing or dramatic opening and/or title.
    Consider including:
    • An odd juxtaposition of people and/or events, e.g. The Emergency Sock.
    • Some telling narrative. Sometimes the first line of an excellent story is the author telling the reader something, e.g. Dying is so inconvenient.
    • A unique voice. (For an example here, read something by Connie Willis.)
    • A unique world (this is spec fic, after all).
    • A problem or conflict on the first page.
  • Do write a story that makes sense. Have a friend to read your story and then ask them what happened. If they can't tell you: rewrite.
  • Do create well-rounded characters. All characters should have both good and bad qualities.
  • Do write good dialogue. Reading dialogue out loud can help identify where it's awkward. Keep in mind fictional dialogue should not be the same as real-life dialogue. -->it should be better.
  • Do have a resolution to your story. Something has to be different at the end of your story.
  • If you include violence, earn it. By this I mean the reader needs to care about a character to care about their death or him/her committing violence. Think about the opening of a movie: if the first scene is someone being killed do we care about the victim or the murderer? Probably not. Violence for violence's sake isn't interesting.
  • Your suggestion here.
I welcome further suggestions in the comments.
Happy holidays!

2 comments:

RenataH said...

Don't forget reading one's story aloud to oneself. It certainly helps me.

Happy Solstice!

lesleylsmith said...

Thanks, RenataH!
Happy Solstice and Happy New Year to you, too!
-Lesley