15 April 2014

pet peeves

Today is the submission deadline for the May 31, 2014 issue of Electric Spec! Of course, after said deadline we're still accepting stories for the August 31, 2014 issue.
We've been trying to get through the mounds of fiction in the slush pile. (Thank you for submitting, by the way!) We're in much better shape than we were a month ago. Hopefully, we're doing a better job getting back to aspiring authors quickly.

Here are some thoughts motivated by the slush pile. Please note these are my personal pet peeves; they tend to engender strong negative reactions. Other editors may have others…

  • Don't be racist/sexist/homophobic. In fact, don't be any kind of "-ist" in your story. This is a huge turn-off and may (probably will!) result in an automatic rejection.
  • Don't proselytize. If I, as a reader, think you're trying to convert me…it may result in a knee-jerk rejection.
  • Don't campaign. This is why we recommend you stay away from politics in stories you submit to us. I have a strong negative response to stories with political agendas of any kind.
  • Don't bad-mouth groups of people, e.g. all lawyers are scum-sucking vermin. If a reader happens to disagree with the author's opinion ==> automatic rejection. One of my pet-peeves is scientist characters as one-dimensional losers and/or villains. Actually, you can easily avoid this by not creating one-dimensional characters. :)
Of course, I understand the most important component of a story is conflict and an author may intentionally chose to create a character that behaves in a negative manner of this sort. There is a little more leeway in character actions and dialogue, etc. than there is in the author's message. Am I contradicting myself? A little bit.

No one ever said writing was easy. Good luck!

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