OK, now the On Spec crew begins the job of reading all your story and poetry submissions, so we can decide what will be published in future issues of On Spec. It’s an interesting process, because we begin each story with the sincere hope that it will be the one story we want to champion when the final decision comes. That’s a very high bar to set and we respect the hours that each author and poet has put into making their work ready to send to us.
Sadly, most stories and poems will not meet that bar. We are trying to add some comments on the work that will be visible when you view your file after the email has gone out with bad or good news. Some of you will be told that your story simply doesn’t fit our publication, and you should try sending to another magazine. Some will be told the story has a good premise, but the characters are thinly drawn with unbelievable motivations, or the ending doesn’t deliver the punch we are looking for, or there are huge lumps of exposition that toss the reader out of the story. Some people will be told that they have sent us a really good idea for a story, but we are looking for a complete story. And some will be told that they have essentially give us the first chapter of their novel and we need a stand-alone story.
Whatever we say about your story, remember we are saying it about your story and not about you. Please don’t respond with a “but I really meant this” or a “you people obviously don’t understand good writing” , or a “you people are sexually repressed morons and On Spec is setting Science Fiction back decades” (yeah, someone really did say that).
Just look at what our reviewer has said about your story, and take it to heart. Or don’t. Get another opinion. You deserve that. And either rewrite the story and send it back to us in our next submission period, or just send it to someone else. We’ve had writers thank us for the comments that prompted the changes they made and a subsequent sale to another market. And we are OK with that, because deep down inside, we want writers to succeed at their craft. We want to bring the best to our readers. And so now we will be working hard to find the best stories out of what you have sent us.