In reading for Women Destroy Fantasy, I’ve cleared about two hundred stories away so far, and there’s still about a hundred I have yet to read. Some amazing stuff, some familiar names, and all in all, a slush pile that is full enough of solid stories that I could fill several issues. It’s been a great pleasure to be elbow deep in so much excellence. So here’s a few notes on the experience so far.
In my head, I have these slots:
- My fairytale/legend/historical slot: Right now there’s a very good historical piece that I’ve tentatively penciled in here. It hits a lot of my sweet spots as a reader, it’s an interesting magic system, and it’s a good story. We’ll see if anything comes along that knocks it out of that slot.
- My steampunk/Victorian slot: Plenty of these stories to choose from, and again there’s a particular one in the lead.
- My superhero slot: A good number of these, and they are all jostling for the slot. I don’t have a favorite yet.
- My urban/modern day fantasy slot: Another one with multiple contenders so far, and there’s a number of wild and weird ones.
My criteria? I want good stories that will stick in the reader’s head and keep them thinking long after they’re done reading. I want lovely prose — but not so lovely that it eclipses the story. I want heart — I’m still looking for a story in the pile that makes me cry.
- It’s a good idea to think about the impetus behind the anthology. Things like an anti-feminist message are probably going to be an awfully hard sell for an issue with what I’d consider a feminist theme.
- Lots of wings in this slushpile. Not saying that’s bad, but man are there a lot of stories with this focus.
- A lot has been done with fairytales in the past. Looking for fresher ground might be more rewarding.