21 July 2014

perfection not required

I've passed along a lot of tips from the slush pile over the years. Unfortunately, these tips tend to be a list of 'what not to do' rather than 'what you're doing right.' So, what are you doing right?

First of all, if you started writing a story and actually finished it: Kudos to you! This is not an easy task. You should be proud you've created something from nothing. I think this is especially true today when we have sooo many other things clamoring for our time and attention.
Second of all, if you submitted your work and subjected it to possible rejection: Kudos to you! This is not an easy task. Everyone at Electric Spec is a writer and knows rejection stings. The trick to learn is: don't let it sting too much.

The vast majority of the stories we receive have an appealing protagonist with a problem who works to solve said problem. They often have neat or horrifying creatures and beautiful and/or intriguing worlds and/or fascinating science. These stories grab us. They emotionally manipulate us (good!). They have realistic and compelling dialogue. If you read the 'zine you know this. :)
So, hurray, for authors!

The vast majority of stories we receive are not perfect, however. That is totally fine. We don't expect perfection. We are not perfect. A few grammar issues or misspellings are no problem.
I would say the most common reason we don't publish a story is: the author hasn't quite transferred the story to the page. We ask questions like: What is this story about? Who is the protagonist? What happens in the end? It's not always easy to answer these questions after reading a story. What's the easiest way to avoid this problem? Ask a friend or family member to read your story and then ask them what it was about.
Another reason we don't take a story is: we've read or published several similar stories previously. A story can be well-written but if there's nothing fresh or new or unique about it, we probably won't take it.

We should finish with slush for the next issue within the next two weeks. So, keep an eye on your in-box if you haven't heard back from us yet. We'll have the Production Meeting for the awesome August 2014 issue at the beginning of August. And then I'll start blogging some previews of coming attractions!

No comments: