Like a lot of aspiring writers, I’ve listened with rapt attention any time an editor is willing to impart their pearls of wisdom on what they look for in the submissions that they read. Much of what I have heard has been one of two things: horror stories about the craziest, most absurd submissions they have ever received or vague generalities about things that they like.
The horror stories—like receiving submissions written in crayon or delivered in person by a man in full Viking regalia—may be entertaining, but, if you’re serious about this writing thing, you probably weren’t going to make those mistakes anyway.
And the vague generalities—like the need to just write a good story or create compelling characters—are obvious to anyone who reads a lot, as all aspiring writers should.
Detailed analysis of why a specific story works is really hard to come by, which is a shame because great stories are as unique as people are. One might grab the reader with its tight plot and rounded characters even though it explores well-worn ideas, while another might command the reader’s attention with new and electric concepts even though the plot is meandering and the characters are a little wooden. Both may be great for very different reasons, so speaking in generalities is not always helpful.
So, as I was preparing to launch Lost Colony, I decided that I would provide something different. The ebook version of each story published here comes with an Editor’s Note in which I explain what about it caught my attention, what made it stand out, and what made me want to publish it. You may not agree with my take, you may have liked the story for reasons totally different from mine, but, if nothing else, I hope that it helps you understand what I’m thinking when I pick a story up off of the slush pile. And, if you’re a writer, I hope that it might give you some insight into what other editors are looking for when they pick up your submission.
So, grab yourself a copy of the ebook version of our stories. You’ll get to read the story without the intrusion of ads and you’ll get a glimpse into my brain in the Editor’s Note.