Friday, June 27, 2008

Rage of the Slush Reader

OK, well I wouldn't quite call it rage but perhaps 'mildly irked.' So far I can only find one story that I can give a recommendation to. It was good enough to pass up the chain but even that one lacked oomph. This anthology is called Rage of the Behemoth. That means there should be some raging behemoths, people! This isn't called Sunny Bunny and the Happy Day. Can someone please write a story where we see some destruction on a city-wide scale?

Anyway, here's a quick writing tip that I pulled from one of the submissions. It falls along the lines of knowing how your story is going to come out and making sure the characters drive it there with no distractions. This story had the main character follow a map to a dungeon complex in order to find a treasure. That's a pretty basic plot that works for a lot of great fiction. The characters then fight their way through traps and demons and such and come to the conclusion of their quest. They find out that they need to give their map to someone in the complex. The author then wastes two or three sentences describing how one of the main characters went back out to the horses to get the map. Here's the tip: You have to be smarter than your story. Sure, it's quite realistic to not have an Important Thing when you come to an Important Point in real life. But as an author, you don't have time to waste with this unless there's something nasty waiting outside with the horse clutched in its blood soaked jaws. It's not difficult, just have the character slip the map into a pocket. Shoot, you can even (shocking gasp) rewrite the scene so the forgetful character remembers to do it.

Just trying to help.


Seren said...

This anthology is called Rage of the Behemoth. That means there should be some raging behemoths, people!

That's the trouble with behemoths - they're always raging. Is this a consequence of their diet? Or their lack of social skills?

Or, is this a somewhat stereotypical and bigoted view of behemoths? Are we being unfair to them?

Is there perhaps, somewhere, a behemoth capable of a subtly nuanced range of emotions which don't include rage?

Anonymous said...

As the author of said story, I'm depressed I can't claim a publication credit for someone having made reference to the piece, a "second party" publication as it were.

The advice is appreciated, though.


Jeff Draper said...

I'm glad I'm able to help. (Please forgive the sarcasm, it's an unavoidable consequence of being me.) Hopefully, Jason passed on the rest of my comments. They were intended to be pointers on where improvements could be made. Best of luck to you in placing it elsewhere.

Jeff Draper said...

Seren- Misunderstood behemoths struggling for social acceptance and trying to find their place in this world are all fine and dandy. They just need to seek publication in a different anthology.

Candace E. Salima said...

Love the writing tips. I'm a published author, and as such, have people from everything shoving manuscripts at me to give them feedback. I've learned to graciously say "no" unless it looks really intriguing. It would be so nice if people who want to write books would concentrate on the basics and build from there. I teach at a writers conference every March and that is one of the points I drive home, over and over. Good luck with the slush pile.

Anyway, glad I found your blog. Interesting reading.