A question I’m asked frequently in my short fiction workshops goes like this: Do you really take into consideration things like elements of plot and the part of a story when you’re considering them for publication?
My response is: Yes, but maybe not the way you’re thinking.
I know that’s a dodgy answer. But give me a chance to explain myself.
When I’m reading a story for publication in Apex Magazine, I don’t have a checklist that I mark off: introduction—check, rising action—check, climax—check, etc. The basic elements of plot aren’t artificial constructs that editors insist you adhere to, but merely tools to get the job done.
What is that job? To write a story good enough for publication!
While considering a story, if it is one that I’m greatly enjoying, I will take notes and share them with the author. What the authors do with the notes is up to them.
Another thing to remember is that there are always exceptions to the rule. Many of the most memorable and best stories play with story structure in service of plot, theme, and tone.
As a writer, you should understand the basic mechanics of short fiction. But it isn’t something to fret about if you’re hoping to sell your fiction. A great story is a great story. End of story…