Some Slushpile Thoughts

Picture of books stacked in a hallwayIn 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:

  1. 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.
  2. My steampunk/Victorian slot: Plenty of these stories to choose from, and again there’s a particular one in the lead.
  3. My superhero slot: A good number of these, and they are all jostling for the slot. I don’t have a favorite yet.
  4. 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.

Other observations:

  • 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.
Facebook Twitter Email

Related Posts:

About Cat

Cat Rambo lives, writes, and teaches by the shores of an eagle-haunted lake in the Pacific Northwest. Her 200+ fiction publications include stories in Asimov's, Clarkesworld Magazine, and the magazine of Fantasy & Science Fiction. Her story, "Five Ways to Fall in Love on Planet Porcelain," from her collection Near + Far (Hydra House Books), was a 2012 Nebula nominee. Her editorship of Fantasy Magazine earned her a World Fantasy Award nomination in 2012. She is the current President of the Science Fiction and Fantasy Writers of America (SFWA). She is currently working on Exiles of Tabat, the third book of the Tabat Quartet. A new story collection, Neither Here Nor There, appears from Hydra House this fall.
This entry was posted in editing and tagged , , , . Bookmark the permalink.