I've been wading into the huge pile of new stories we have. Thank you very much for submitting! There are some real gems in there! :) However I also saw some overused plots. I apologize if we've blogged about this before, but we're still getting them. Here's some plots you may want to avoid UNLESS YOU CAN PUT A FRESH SPIN ON THEM:
- Alien abductions, complete with cattle mutilations
- Time travel in which the good guy goes back in time to stop a crime but ends up committing it
- Post-cataclysmic rag-tag armies struggle to kick the aliens/mutants/cyberpunks out of the US
- A virtual reality program is activated,and the distinction between program and reality becomes confused
- Android/Robot love: A human falls for a android/robot, or a android/robot falls for a human, or both
- Space battle! Humans fight whatever in outspace, complete with explosions, etc.
I could go on and on, but I won't. I think one piece of wisdom I've gleaned in years of writing and editting is: Stories should be about more than one thing. It's tough to come up with something fresh when we've seen the story dozens of times, but making sure the story is about more than one thing can do this. And I don't mean use two overused speculative fiction plots; I mean add a dramatic human component.
I look forward to reading more of your stories!