29 October 2007

my turn

I suppose it's my turn to talk about the slush.

I've not chosen one story yet for this issue. Why not, you might wonder?

I'm a writer, too, so let me begin with a story about a story.

Once upon a time I wrote a story about a kid at war. It was held over at a few zines for voting; it won an honorable mention in a major contest. It's a good, solid story. (Even my critters like it, and everyone knows how hard it is to please them.) It's a violent story, a war tale. One editor didn't take it because North Virginia Tech shootings had just happened, and they didn't feel the timing was right. Their perogative, right?

(Well, this is a family blog, so:) I call b.s.

In my opinion, it is part, though not all, of a writer's duty to push the envelope on difficult issues. We strive to put new twists on old destinies. I think you see some of that in every issue of Electric Spec. There are many difficult themes worthy of examination, and I find fiction a wonderful opportunity for such dissection.

What I don't find are very many stories taking that opportunity.

So why am I not taking any stories lately? They're mostly well-written. They're mostly from published authors. They're mostly solid stories. However, they're also mostly milquetoast.

I don't need violence--that's not what I meant by my example. In my story the conjunction of youth and violence was more a device to put a familiar face on an unfamiliar problem anyway.

Find your device. Say something. Make me think. Make me feel. Warp what I know into something new, and you'll find your words glowing from computer screens across the world under the heading "Electric Spec."


lesleylsmith said...

Wow, Bets, you sound like one tough customer!

David E. Hughes said...

Like Bets, I like stories that go somewhere with an interesting or difficult theme. However, many of the stories I hold over don't do that. If a story holds my attention from beginning to end and has a satisfying ending, it will probably make the initial cut, even if it is not thematically interesting.