In the meantime, we've started going through the slush pile in earnest. Thus, I have some tips:
- Do proofread your story. We don't reject automatically for a few grammar, spelling errors...but if there are a lot of errors we probably will.
- Do show your story, rather than tell it. To be honest, this is a market-dependent issue. At Electric Spec we do want some showing. Showing is being in the 'now' of the story. Often it involves dialogue and/or in-the-moment thoughts and/or actions.
- Do have a story resolution. This is also market-dependent; some markets prefer ambiguous endings. We do not. We prefer something to have changed.
- If you have death in your story, earn it. I can't tell you how many stories we get where a male creature kills a female creature. If I don't identify, emotionally connect, with one of these characters as a reader...who cares if he/she/it dies? Not me.
- Do write with a unique voice. Voice is tricky to define but involves everything: subject, tone, word choices, sentence lengths, punctuation, plot, characters, similes and metaphors, everything. Your fiction should be unique to you.
- Do be creative. We'd love to see more mash-ups of traditional fantasy/sf/horror tropes, steampunk, magical realism, nonlinear chronologies, liminal fiction, your_creative_idea here.