15 July 2009

First Page Critique Game!!!!!!!!!!

It's time for another First Page Critique Game!!!!!!!!!!

I've been pretty slow in blogging lately, not to mention my slush--summer's for hanging with the kids outside, not working! Y'all need to kick me into gear! The Game Is On.

Slightly adjusted rules:

1. Send FIRST PAGE only. Yes, you may finish your sentence @ 200 words. Per our guidelines, that's generous. A title might be nice, too. Please don't explain what the story is about in your email. A short story should stand on its own. A first page should stand on its own as well, since that's sometimes all the time you get with an editor before s/he hits delete.

Free advice: don't summarize your story in regular cover letters either.

2. Speculative Fiction only. Meaning Fantasy, Science Fiction, Horror. Gimme ghosts and goblins and the undead and zombies and magic, the more the better. Speculative elements should be a MAJOR part of the plot, not a side gig or deus ex machina, yanno? See current issue for what I mean.

Free advice: You'll notice lots of times the speculative elements appear on the first page. Take from that what you will.

2. Send your First Page Only labeled RE: First Page Game to submissions @ electricspec . com. Feel free to include your entry in the body of the email. You MUST label your entry or it'll get lost in our sizable slush. This angers the slushmaster and his editors.

Free advice: You wouldn't like us when we're angry.

Please note: this game is not a shortcut around our slush. Regular submissions labeled this way will be deleted unread.

3. While you may submit a previously rejected story for an opinion, do not submit stories currently in the ElectricSpec slush thinking you can get a quicker turnaround. Trust me, we'll figure it out at some point and get really really irritated with you, and your name shall be forever inscribed upon our Wall Of Shame.
Ditto with other people's work, published or not. Don't try to trick us or do someone else a favor or a wrong. On that note, obviously we can't control whether or not it's on submission somewhere else. Use your best judgment.

Free advice: Tricking editors and breaking rules makes bad mojo.

4. The entries will appear anonymously, unless you identify yourself in the comments. However, please use your real name in the email.

Free advice: While we're on the topic, go ahead and write me a little note. Ask a question or make a comment. Who knows? I might even answer. This is a chance to communicate in other ways than through our slush pile and I love talking to writers!

5. By submitting to The Game, you're agreeing to allow us to publish your first page on this blog alongside our comments so that others may learn from your foibles and fantastica. Certainly if the story is accepted elsewhere for publication and you want us to remove the post, we can do that.

Free advice: some magazines, especially the electronic sort, consider any publication online to be publication. Most experts agree that an excerpt is not considered "published

6. By submitting to The Game, you're confirming the work is yours and that you own full rights. Previously unpublished is best.

7. Even if I like your page really really lots and lots, it doesn't guarantee publication in ElectricSpec. But if I like your page lots and lots, feel free to submit the whole story to us pronto. If I like it not so much, feel free to revise and submit the whole story to us pronto.

8. This is my game, I made it up, I make up the rules at will. The other editors may or may not participate, that's up to them. Keep in mind we all have day jobs and families and Lives, so I'm not promising a quick turn-around. Last time I got several at once and it took me awhile to get through them.

9. Please don't harass us if we don't fall in love with your page. Our regular policy is to NOT comment on stories from our slush, so this is a special exception. Real special.

Free advice: no toadies or sycophants, please. I get enough of that from Gremlin.

10. [Reserved for any other rules we think up.]


writtenwyrdd said...

You've gone and done it now. I have to send you something.

Betsy Dornbusch said...

Yea!!!! Our first victim, er, participant.

Deb S said...

Do you want the first 200 of a completed short only, or can it be a WIP? Something we're kicking around, wondering if it's working/worth pursuing?

Betsy Dornbusch said...

Whatever you want. I mean, really, how am I going to know unless you tell me? :)

I'm not going to make requests for submissions from this game. So it doesn't have to be finished.

writtenwyrdd said...

The tough part is resisting the urge to send you guys two.

Betsy Dornbusch said...

So send two. I'm cool with that.

Karen Amanda Hooper said...

Phew! First ever short story submission. *bites fingers nervously*. I figured best to dive into a game pool rather than a sea of slush. ;)

Betsy Dornbusch said...

Don't be scared Karen. We're very nice folks around here.