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 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 elements of plot aren’t constructs that editors insist you adhere to, but merely tools to get the job done.

What is that job? To write a damn good story!

I’m not checking off if you write to basic structure of a story. I will take notes if I think the climax is a let down. Or if the rising action requires more. Or if your introduction needs a tweak.

Many of the most memorable and best stories play with story structure. I’m not talking in a cutesy “Hey look at my verbal hijinks” manner.

Some of my favorite Apex Magazine stories are rather unconventional. A couple of examples: “The Performance Artist” by Lettie Prell and “If You Were a Dinosaur, My Love” by Rachel Swirsky.

Naturally, some of my favorite Apex Magazine stories have a convention structure. A couple more examples: “Pimp My Airship” by Maurice Broaddus and “Frank” by Betsy Phillips.

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…


One thought on “Do Editors Really Reject You For That…A Writer’s Lament 1

  1. This makes sense. I think a lot of new writers just starting get too focused on the “I need to get this published” instead of just getting lost in the joy of creating.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s