Some Thoughts on Submissions July 15, 2007 – Posted in: Sybil's Garage

Just some ruminations on the Sybil’s Garage slush queue over coffee and cinnamon swirls on this fine Sunday morning.

By biography, we mean bibliography (perhaps our fault for not being explicit).

E.g., “My name is John Q. Writer and here is my story entitled ‘Hugo Contender.’ My work has appeared in Super Cool Zine, Fantastically Underrated Magazine, One of the Big Four Publications and has been shortlisted for The Coveted Writing Prize Award.”

Stories should have a plot. That means a beginning, middle, and end. That means they should have a tension arc. We’ve received several stories that are merely events. Events may be cool when you experience them (or imagine experiencing them), but without a developed story around them they are like heads without bodies, floating without support. (e.g., A man walks into a store and buys a fruit. Where’s the plot?) There are exceptions to this, of course, but in general, we like to see developed plots.

I’ve noticed a tendency for stories to begin their action too late. Characters walk around and mull and postulate and comment on their society and their surroundings for several pages before anything occurs. The story should begin where the action begins, and by action I don’t mean sword battles and laser-gun fights. I mean the place where the plot/tension arc begins, or as close to the beginning as possible. Again, there are exceptions to this, but it is a general rule. Something needs to happen early on in the story to draw our interest.

Otherwise and anyhoo, some fine submissions coming in. And our editors are doing a bang-up job so far, don’t you think? We’re averaging a two day response time.


*Tremblay throws a chair*