Thanks so much to all the authors!
Thanks so much to all the Electric Spec staff.
And, especially, thanks so much to all the readers!
"Nobody Gets Out Alive" was inspired by YouTube and gaming vloggers. Horror writers are not generally known for our mastery of technology, but that isn't really true. We must explain why our characters' cell phones don't work when they're being stalked by the killer, and why there are still no good pictures of Bigfoot when everyone now has a camera and there are trail cams all over the place.
Sometimes when I write, I like to think about the secondary effects of technology (thanks to author Laura J. Mixon, who explained the concept). I went to many rock concerts as a youth, and watched teenagers wave their cigarette lighters during the power ballads. Twenty years later, those selfsame thirty-somethings were waving their cell phones during the same power ballads (reunion tours rule!). Not what cell phones were designed to do, but they get the job done. Nowadays, people can watch rock concerts on their smartphones, if they have the battery power.
"Nobody Gets Out Alive" was inspired by a secondary effect of technology, the fact that a person can now make a living playing video games on YouTube. Vlogging is a precarious existence – posting every day, so your audience won't forget you; pretending to like a game you've played every day for two months straight; obtaining a weird sort of pseudo-celebrity, wherein total strangers act like you're their best friend or even fall in love with you. Then there's the worst-case scenario – that bestselling game you're vlogging about turns ice cold, and you're washed up at the age of twenty-three.
Thanks, George! Very interesting! Be sure to check out Nobody Gets Out Alive and the other stories on August 31st, 2020!
I couldn't tell you where, exactly, the idea for Hot Crow and Paper Lion came from. I recall the crow appearing before my mind's eye, majestic and fully formed, tipping his top hat to me. But I can't tell you why or where he came from. What I can tell you is this: I wasn't thinking about writing.
There seems to be two approaches you can take to creative ideas. The first involves sitting down with a notepad, taking a pen or pencil, or even booting up the computer and prepping a blank page on your favourite word processor. Then you say to yourself, Okay, I really need a new idea. I want to write a new short story. So you stare at the page, you tap your pen (probably not your laptop, though) against your forehead as if the action will dislodge something brilliant. You stare into space and think -- think really hard -- about characters, stereotypes, how you might break from a stereotype, fantastical creatures, a world newly forged from stardust, maybe some type of magic no other writer has conjured. Sometimes it works. Sometimes, your minutes or hours with the blank page and the writing tools you've gathered over the years produce something worthwhile.
Then there's the other method. And it isn't much of a method at all. It's called Getting on with Life. Just going about your daily activities -- work, hobbies, family time. Anything but writing. And definitely not thinking really hard. Walking around, admiring the views, absorbing the world and life.
And then -- ah! What's this? An idea. Random? Maybe. Or some amalgamation of things subconsciously blended into something new and interesting. It's as if a veil has been lifted and you've glimpsed something that was there all along, hidden.
I know which approach I enjoy the most. Some of my best ideas come from not trying to think of ideas. Not actually writing at all. And that's where Hot Crow came from, beyond the Veil, with Paper Lion prowling close by.
Thanks, M J! Very interesting! Be sure to check out all the stories on August 31, 2020!
"Smithsonian Soldiers" is another story of mine inspired by a dream. My subconscious seems to delight in coming up with weird, visually intriguing ideas. If the idea sticks with me long enough after I wake up, I usually write it down in one of my journals with a fountain pen and keep writing until my hand gives out or I finish a draft. I took up fountain pens before being diagnosed with multiple sclerosis but given the symptoms I've had fountain pens have let me keep writing when computers aren't a great option.
Rewriting is actually my favorite part of the storytelling process. I savor tinkering with words and punctuation to craft the story that I want to tell. Most of my stories go through a minimum of four revisions. There is nothing like that satisfying feeling of saving the final version of a story and knowing it is complete.
Very interesting! Thanks, E.A.!
Thus, authors should hear back from us this week with a 'yea' or 'nay.' If you submitted a story between April 16, 2020 and July 15, 2020 and you don't hear from us, something likely went awry. Sorry! Resubmit.
If you are a lucky author, please do return your contract quickly. This enables us to start editing quickly. In addition, please do send us a blog entry, which I will post here. It's super fun to hear from authors! Don't you think?
We also have some really nice art and maybe something in Editor's Corner, so be sure to check out the new issue on August 30, 2020! Woo hoo!