29 September 2015

slush pile tips

We've started working on the notable November 2015 issue of Electric Spec, namely, going through the slush pile. Sadly, we can't critique all (or any) of the stories submitted to the 'zine. But, from time to time, I give some advice here on the blog. These tips are gleaned directly from reading our slush. I would tell the respective author this if he/she were standing in front of me.
  • Be careful not to use too many adjectives. A single sentence probably shouldn't have four or more adjectives. Every sentence probably should not have adjectives. Instead of adjectives, use specific nouns, use strong verbs, use distinctive similes and metaphors.
  • Something should happen in your story. There are markets which publish stories in which nothing happens. This is not one of those markets. How can you tell if something has happened? Something should be different at the end of the story. It can be subtle but it has to be discernible.
  • You must have speculative elements. Metaphorical gods, monsters, etc. likely are not sufficient. Literal gods, monsters, etc. likely would be sufficient. Of course, your literal gods/monsters/etc. could also be metaphorical gods/monsters/etc. :)
  • Proofread your piece. If I see a lot of grammar and spelling mistakes on the first page it's a turn off. I may stop reading. This may be unfair to the author. :( But, as an editor I don't want to deal with a piece that needs extra work.
That's it for tips for now.

Please do not query us asking about your story. We get hundreds of stories and extra queries just bogs down the whole process.

That being said, please do keep sending us your stories! We love authors!

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