18 December 2013

the last Notes from the Slush Pile of 2013

I hope everyone's enjoying the holiday season. Here at Electric Spec we are going through the slush pile as part of our holiday celebrations. ;) Here are some things to keep in mind if you want to sell your story:
  • Do have correct spelling and grammar.
  • Do grab the editor with an intriguing or dramatic opening and/or title.
    Consider including:
    • An odd juxtaposition of people and/or events, e.g. The Emergency Sock.
    • Some telling narrative. Sometimes the first line of an excellent story is the author telling the reader something, e.g. Dying is so inconvenient.
    • A unique voice. (For an example here, read something by Connie Willis.)
    • A unique world (this is spec fic, after all).
    • A problem or conflict on the first page.
  • Do write a story that makes sense. Have a friend to read your story and then ask them what happened. If they can't tell you: rewrite.
  • Do create well-rounded characters. All characters should have both good and bad qualities.
  • Do write good dialogue. Reading dialogue out loud can help identify where it's awkward. Keep in mind fictional dialogue should not be the same as real-life dialogue. -->it should be better.
  • Do have a resolution to your story. Something has to be different at the end of your story.
  • If you include violence, earn it. By this I mean the reader needs to care about a character to care about their death or him/her committing violence. Think about the opening of a movie: if the first scene is someone being killed do we care about the victim or the murderer? Probably not. Violence for violence's sake isn't interesting.
  • Your suggestion here.
I welcome further suggestions in the comments.
Happy holidays!


RenataH said...

Don't forget reading one's story aloud to oneself. It certainly helps me.

Happy Solstice!

lesleylsmith said...

Thanks, RenataH!
Happy Solstice and Happy New Year to you, too!