27 October 2015

more spookiness

We have such a lovely treasure trove of spooky stories I couldn't resist sharing more...
  • In "Frazee" by Patricia Russo, we see two extremes: how far people are willing to go in the name of magic power, and how far they are willing to go to save the ones they love.
  • For those of you are looking for more chill than the winter weather can provide, "Her Pale Smile" by Simon Kewin will leave you with just the right kind of tingles.
  • "Stiltskin" by Samantha Boyette is a tale that explores just how far a father will go to preserve his family in a bleak future.
  • Another thriller for sci-fi readers is Joe Ollinger's "10,000 Bones", an extraterrestrial noir tale that will shake you to your . . . er, bones.
  • Jennifer Crow's "Strange Notes from Underground" will send chills up your spine that probably originated from deep below your feet.
  • In "A Page of Skulls," Tony Peak tells a dark tale of a dark and magnificently strange world.
Happy Halloween!

20 October 2015

spooky stories

In honor of the spookiest month of the year, today I'm sharing some macabre tales from the Electric Spec archives:
  • "Tom the Sheller" by Devin Miller gives us a dark glimpse into a world where a man can rip thoughts from another's mind-at a devastating price.
  • "In The Land Of The Deaf" by Ferrett Steinmetz is a dark tale about a new kind of virus that makes H1N1 seem like a case of the sniffles.
  • Phil Emery's "Streetwise" is a dark and edgy SF story.
  • Miranda Suri's "The New Arrival" is a macabre story that will leave you satisfyingly chilled.
  • "The Untold Story of an Executioner" by Dawn Lloyd is a chilling tale about maybe the worst job ever.
  • "End User" by A.L. Sirois is a horrific story with a character that definitely does not follow Asimov's Three Laws of Robotics.

13 October 2015

yet more tips

We are going through our mountain of slush. Thanks for sending us your stories. :) Since we can't critique stories, here are some gleanings from the slush pile...
  • Length. If your story is 7,000-words, or almost 7,000 words, we are going to be less enthusiastic about it. It's more work to edit such a long story. If your story is less than 1,000-words it's tough to tell a whole story in that length. If you can write effective flash, however, we want to see it!
  • Sensory details. We do enjoy stories that make use of all the senses: sound, sight, touch, smell and taste. Life makes use of all these senses and good fiction makes us experience life in a new way.
  • Character. If you can make the reader think your protagonist is a real person: huzzah for you! Good characters seem real. They are multi-dimensional with good and bad qualities and unique perspectives. One way to create this is to be very specific, and to be very subjective. Your character should have unique thoughts, reactions and opinions on everything. Show us. You can never be too subjective in fiction.
  • Plot. The bare bones of plot are:
    1. problem
    2. effort
    3. resolution
    As an editor, I don't care what any of these are, but they should all be there. Usually, the effort is related to solving the problem. The resolution is just letting the reader know if the problem was solved or not.
Don't forget the submission deadline for the last issue of 2015 is this week: October 15, 2015!

06 October 2015

more slush pile tips

Sometimes it seems the slush pile is never-ending... We know it takes awhile for authors to hear from us. Sorry about that! Without further ado, here are more tips gleaned from the slush pile:
  • Regarding plot:
    • Please don't start your story with the protagonist waking up.
    • Please don't send us your story of a man killing his girlfriend and/or wife. You wouldn't believe how many of these we get and it's very hard to do something fresh.
    • In terms of horror plots, possession by demonic types is a close second. If you must write this, do something unusual with it.
    • Do consider sending us epic fantasy with some kind of unusual twist. We don't get enough epic fantasy.
    • Do consider sending us urban fantasy (without vamps or weres).
    • Do consider sending us some kind of genre mashup.
    • Do consider sending us steam punk.
  • Regarding point-of-view: Fiction does follow trends and omniscient narrators are off-trend. If you want to try this, more power to you, but make sure you do it right! Head-hopping within a paragraph and especially within a sentence is not good. The current trend is for very close third-person pov or first-person pov.
  • Regarding science: I have been known to say you don't have to know a lot of science to write science fiction. (Of course, knowing science is a plus!) I stand by this. However, including blatantly wrong science will get you automatically and very quickly rejected.
Please do continue sending us stories.

FYI the submission deadline for the November 2015 issue is approaching: October 15, 2015. Good luck!