It was a pleasure and an honor to be on the committee that selected the stories for the new anthology Bubble Off-Plumb. Congratulations to the twenty-six authors whose stories were accepted. Competition was high as 921 stories were submitted. Kudos to all the authors who pulled up their boot straps and sent their stories in. I’ve said it before and I’ll say it again. It takes courage to submit your story knowing full well that it may be rejected. Until you develop the scar tissue over thicken skin, that rejection hurts like hell. As Kim Dickens once said, “It’s like a kick in the cooch.” So yay, to those authors who stood tall and tough and took the kick.
But why did the story not get accepted?
Here’s my five top reasons why I did not nominate a story. There was a committee of three that nominated a story. Please note that this list reflects only my thoughts on the subject and are not the opinions of the other members.
#5 Did the story meet the theme requirements?
Bubble Off-Plum theme was original fiction short stories of such a nature; odd, unsettling, full of twists, etc. A story submitted fell under the romance genre. It was a good story. It was sweet and loving. That’s a big compliment coming from me because I do not care for romance and love stories and this story still moved me. BUT it did not meet the requirement in my opinion. There was no twist or oddness to the story.
#4 This and That and Very
How clean was the story you submitted? By clean, I mean did you edit it first by removing the filler words and removing redundant words? I would be lying if I didn’t say to myself, This is going to be a pain in the ass to edit. I don’t want to. Two stories could have equal value story-wise; the cleaner version is going to get the extra point.
#3 Did the story ramble or do multiple time jumps?
How long before you got to the point of the story? Did you fill it with backstory or flip between present and history multiple times? When faced with the job of reading hundreds of stories in a short period of time, Multiple characters and time jumps are going to task the reader. One story comes to mind and, it had a kick ass ending that I loved, but it took too long to get there.
#2 Three Act Requirements
A story needs to have three simple parts. Beginning, middle, and end. And I’m still pissed at one story specifically. Act one. The Beginning was awesome. Fabulous exciting build up. I couldn’t put it down. I was excited for this story. And then it was over. First Act only. No middle. No end. Just done. WTF??
I suppose it’s possible the wrong file was sent by the author, the incomplete file. But we aren’t going to follow up and ask where’s the rest of the story.
#1 Weak or Flat Ending
I’m sorry to say that a lot of stories had flat or weak endings. A shame really because the beginning and middle were excellent. It felt like the author either got tired or didn’t know how to bring it to a close. Story was just done and I felt blah afterward or I had questions about what just happened. I liked the endings that had a twist at the end or made me gasp in awe or surprise. I liked the endings that made me laugh.
All in all, the stories submitted were good. With a few tweaks here and there, I hope the authors continue to submit their stories. They will find a home.