His 6-year-old only has 5 matchbox cars left. The kids lost their new Disney t-shirts before they even got to wear them. C'mon. Look around yourself, take back that ugly sweater you got at an after-Christmas sale, and donate that money to someone who's lost everything. The folks handling it: Erica and Stephen, are also blogging buddies who are very trustworthy and kindhearted.
I've been reading slush lately, a lot of slush, to the tune of 10-15 stories per night. Catching up, as it were. Da-amn, do the writers make my job tough! By far the writing is good, really good, and so it comes down to that old adage of: It's not right for Electric Spec.
That's a line you hear editors spout off all the time. Not right for me. But, then, what is right for this editor?
New takes on old themes that are close to my heart: Climbing over odds to save important people. Dark hatred expressed with good reason. Noir atmosphere in an unusual world. Tragic hilarity. (Ok, that one takes some explaining. Make me laugh, but also make me think. The world only needs one Chevy Chase.) Science fiction with well executed contextual jargon. Happy endings. (Ok, that one take some explaining, too. I don't need wine and roses and self-congratulatory pats on the back, but I want a change. Let me see the characters grow. A bad ending is fine if the characters are better for it.)
And...seeing a story from someone I know in blogosphere! That's a particular joy.
Not right for me: Angst--especially the teenaged variety. Voice over content. Unreasonable, unexplained violence. (I like me some violence. Not so much the psychopaths.) Doing bad stuff to kids. Weird mother-daughter relationships. Trying to take horror lightly. Tired tropes and devices like Someone Who Knows Things But Doesn't Tell, POV Characters Keeping Secrets, People Waking Up At The Start, Magical Items Ruling The Day, to name a few.
Stories that start too late.
That's a biggie. Some stories have so much set-up, rather than introducing the characters and the problem in the first 250 words. I find myself getting quite rigid on that. Voice and atmosphere only pulls me along so far when I'm in the midst of a fifty-story slush pile.
I know my fellow editor's tastes, too. Dave loves slipstream, anything that pushes boundaries, and really GREAT writing. He's leans to the more literary. Lesley lurves her some originality, especially in sci fi. Both are extremely well-read (better than me) so new takes on old hats are awesome.
Hope that helps someone out there. Now, back to it!