Pre-edit your fiction submissions

Since I blogged about being a submissions editor for Apex I’ve received a few polite requests to provide more detailed critiques of people’s works.

I’m sorry, I don’t do that. I simply don’t have the time.

However, there are resources for writers who are wondering what they can do differently, or better, to improve their chances of getting out of the slush pile.

Strange Horizons has two great resources, Stories We’ve Seen Too Often, and Horror Stories We’ve Seen Too Often. If you read your story and your story does these things, take a moment to reconsider. You will have to be glaringly brilliant to get a story of this ilk past the submissions editors.

Nalo Hopkinson has written a guide to when stories go wrong. Take a look at that, and see if your story does any of those things. If so, reconsider.

Seanan McGuire has Fifty Thoughts on Writing. I think she’s up to forty-seven. Read those, and see where you stand. Some of those apply to the craft of writing, others to the business, but the advice is solid. Ponder it in your heart.

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