Completed my first official slush day with Triangulation: End of the Rainbow anthology. Thirty stories, twenty-eight rejections, two rewrite requests. One story came close to pleasing everyone, but not quite.
Observation 1: Lots of folks can string words together in mostly pleasant ways.
Observation 2: Lots of folks can come up with an interesting idea and twist it in mostly unexpected ways.
Observation 3: Neither of those craft skills is enough to catch and keep an editor’s eye.
The stories that held our attention best were stories written in discrete scenes with actual characters DOING stuff on the page (not in their heads, not off stage). We saw a lot of promising ideas that were not translated particularly well into scenes and story arc. We saw a lot of promising beginnings that ended in naught when the story got right up next to that amazing reveal promised in the opening scene and then… ended. Resonance is not resolution (at least not usually). If you have a cool promise on page 1 you’d best fulfill it by the end of the story.
I’d say Bill’s rule was about right. About 20% of stories we receive are really not marketable anywhere (I hope). About 60% aren’t right for us but could be right for someone else. The other 20% could go into the anthology just fine, usually with some tweaking. We can accept roughly a quarter of that last 20% given our available space and budget.
In a perfect world everyone would read fiction. In a somewhat less perfect, but still acceptable world, everyone would buy the Triangulation: End of the Rainbow anthology and we would pay our authors an amount worthy of the work they put into these pieces.