14 December 2007

I'm repeating myself

I've been reading quite a few story submissions lately and find myself wanting to tell the authors things I've already blogged about. I really wish we had the time to give critiques to our story-submitters, but we don't. So, I'm going to repeat myself--sorry.
Authors, please do give me (my fellow editors may disagree with some of this):
  • an original idea
  • a plot arc--something must happen externally and/or internally (note the easiest plot arc is overcoming a conflict)
  • stuff that makes sense and is internally consistent
  • a fully-developed world, including setting the scene (note: only give us the backstory we need)
  • a sympathetic, or at least interesting, protagonist that does something
  • dialog

Authors, please look at your stuff with an objective eye. Obviously, you can write a fabulous story without including all the above stuff, e.g. without any dialog, but it is really difficult, IMHO. As for the plot arc, that is sort of a genre prejudice, certainly literary fiction is rife with slice-of-life stories in which very little happens.

Keep sending Electric Spec your stories! We appreciate your submissions.

1 comment:

David E. Hughes said...

I pretty much agree, Lesley. As for an "original idea" I'm story to say I see very few . In fact, many of the stories we publish are not "original" because the general subject matter or concept was explored before.

As for the rest of your points, I think a great many stories have one or more of these elements, but don't make it past the first round because they are lacking one or two of them.