We try to be objective when choosing stories to go in hold-for-voting. I even have a kind of check-list I use. Some items on the list include:
- Does the story have the following within the first 2 pages:
- speculative fiction?
- a problem?
- is it hooky? am I intrigued? drawn in?
- is the writing reasonably good? --meaning it's NOT distracting me.
- does the author have a unique voice?
- Does the story have the following by the end:
- the protagonist acts?
- something happens?
- things are resolved?
After stories are in hold-for-voting the editors rank them in numerical order. I then compile the total score of each story for the production meeting. The total score is just the sum of the individual editor's rankings--so a lower score is better. For example, if all three editors think a story is #1 among those in hold-for-voting it gets a total score of 3. And incidentally that story would be in the issue. (We've never had a story get a score of 3.) Notice, with all these numbers we're trying to be objective here as well.
However, when I decide on my personal rankings I'm not objective. I do take into account if I like the story or not. I don't know if this is good or bad, but it's how I do my rankings. Generally, each editor's favorite story, their #1, does make it into the issue.
Next week I'll let you know what happens at the production meeting.