I’m writing this from Bill Moran’s living room where the Sunday Writers are ranking short story submissions to Parsec’s annual Short Story Contest. We received 100 submissions this year and it’s our duty to weed these down to the top 10, which will go to the final three judges: Timothy Zahn, Mary Turzillo, and Diane Turnshek. Of these 10, 3 will be selected to receive cash awards and possible publication in the Confluence program book. Our pre-readers knocked the original 100 subs down to about 30 for the Sunday Writers. As one of the pre-readers, I can state that submissions were generally strong this year, though most suffer the same sorts of flaws we see in Triangulation submissions. Hook opening frames that don’t add enough to the story, stories telling about ideas or developing worlds without sufficient story movement, characters talking for the readers’ benefit rather than their own. I guess what I’m saying is that the prose quality was pretty darned high, and where most submissions fail is in their story structure.
Reading 100 stories has siphoned significant time away from what I WANTED to do this week, which was to get all the suggested edits and contracts out and to do the story critiques I owe people. I did read through one such story (4 times!) and have my analysis in mind. That should go out tomorrow at long last. I’ll do the others, hopefully one per day.
Speaking of Table of Contents, Jamie and I have just “finalized” that for the anthology. This is pending receipt of edits/contracts from authors, but should be close. Drum roll please…
“A Claw from the Western Paradise” by Gwendolyn Williams
“The Good Daughter” by Aaron Polson
“Ghost Dogs and Dream Horses” by Shanna Germain
“The Gold in the Straw” by Amanda C. Davis
“The Bright Air That Breathes No Pain” by Eric N. Schaller
“Boll Weevil” by Nathaniel Lee
“The Customs Shed” by John Walters
“Ezekiel” by Desmond Warzel
“Ocean Daughters” by Jaime Lee Moyer
“City of Bones” by Deborah Walker
“In Ruins” by Jo-Anne Odell
“In the Shadow of God There is Fire” by Sandra M. Odell
“Lord God Bird” by Sarah Frost
“Norms” by Cynthia Ward
“To Rule, Do Nothing” by Tristan Davenport
“Zafir the Saudi Superhero” by Madhvi Ramani
“Twilight’s Last Gleaming” by H.L. Fullerton
“A Lack of Charity” by James Beamon
“To Give the Perfect Dewdrop” by Dawn Lloyd
“The Party” by Christopher N. Nadeau
“The Reel” by Helen Tarzwell
“The Last Cyborg” by M. Yang
“A Feast of Kings” by David Sklar
“The Charnel Pit” by Stephen Gaskell
“God in the Machine” by Charles Brownson
“Seedling” by Eric Zivovic
“The Loss of Pain” by Amy Treadwell
“Mikeys” by Robert J. Sawyer
If that isn’t enough to sell you on this year’s collection, I’ll be posting teasers from select stories in the coming weeks.
Stoked yet? I am.
If you’re so inclined, head over to our project at Kickstarter and drop a few bucks into the communal pot. We’ll surely appreciate it.