24 October 2017

In Media Res

We, the Electric Spec Editors, are working on the notable November issue, and are deep in the slush pile. Thank you for sending us your stories! Feel free to send us new stories now for our first issue of 2018.
Regarding the slush...

I've been noticing lately that our society is more fast-paced than ever. We're used to instantaneous news, texts and pictures. Our reading habits have changed as well. In particular, for on-line publications we want to grab a reader's attention more quickly than ever.

It has always been a good idea to begin your story in media res--in the middle. Now, it's more important than ever! Let's face it, you don't want to bore your potential readers (including editors) with a lot of pointless chit-chat in the beginning of your story. (In fact, drop all the pointless chit-chat). You don't want to begin with the protagonist waking up in the morning. You don't want to begin with the protagonist traveling somewhere.
Some markets like a story that begins with a lot setting descriptions; that is not this market.

You do want to begin your story when the story begins, not when the setup begins. If need be, you can give the reader backstory or a flashback after you've already gotten them hooked.
When does the story begin? When the protagonist is in trouble, has a signficant problem--which is about to get much worse.

A slow opening is one of the most common reasons for a story to be rejected. Take a look at the beginning of your tale: do you start in media res? If not, consider cutting or moving some of the setup.

Good luck!

No comments: