Letters from the Editors
My Last Issue by Betsy Dornbusch
- Thousands of slush stories
- Hundreds of emails between editors
- 180 stories published
- 78 stories edited by me
- 36 production meetings
- 20 bucks per story
- 10 years
- 1 farewell
Editing Electric Spec has been a joy and one of the greatest decisions of my career. The people involved with this project are so wonderful!
Hardlight Media in Northern Ireland and Stuart Neville have supported our website for years now. Thanks very much.
Dave, AKA 'The Slasher', thank you!
Lesley, who is carrying on with a new staff, good luck and thank you! I know it'll be great.
O Dear Reader, the thousands of you over the years ... thank you! I'll be joining your ranks now.
But especially to the writers: Thank You. Every story I've read has taught me something, even if it was just how much more I need to learn. It's been a gift to see what you've written and an honor to help so many of you share your writing. So to everyone who has submitted in the past ten years, to everyone I enjoyed the pleasure of editing or suffered the regret for rejecting, thank you. Without your stories Electric Spec wouldn't exist. I believe that without Story, humankind wouldn't exist. Story is a fundamental element binding us to our humanity and to each other.
So it's with some sadness but lots of pride I add to the list above:
Countless experiences of sheer awe, because damn it, it's always been about the Story.
Editor's Swan Song by David E. Hughes
A little over ten years ago, it occurred to me that we needed a new speculative fiction magazine on the market. None of the magazines were publishing the kind of stories I liked, including my own! Thanks to my fellow editors, ten years have gone by and we've published more awesome stories than I could have hoped for. It has been so inspiring to see how many authors are creating beautiful, compelling, and thoughtful speculative fiction even with little promise of reward or recognition. After ten years, my energy for this project has started to wane, and I decided it was time to make room for others to carry on Electric Spec's tradition of great stories and articles. Before I go, I thought I'd share a few things I've learned from reading thousands of stories in the slush pile and editing those that made the cut:
Here's to another ten years of Electric Spec-I know you are in capable hands!
- Authors can't rest on their laurels. Every story must stand up on its own, and authors do a disservice to readers by putting something out there that is less than their best. I don't care if you've published 1000 stories, number 1001 better be damn good to make it into my magazine.
- Most editors don't have the luxury of patience. If I've got 50 stories in my in-box, I almost never have time to read them all from beginning to end. As an author, you must prove yourself in the first page or two-ideally in the first paragraph. How? Get to the essence of your story right away and start with a character performing an action (preferably other than waking up or having a lengthy conversation).
- A good beginning gets your story read, a good ending gets the story sold. One of the hardest things about writing a good short story is finding an ending that is satisfying but not too predictable. Don't try to sell your story until you've found right ending. Editors will not buy the story if the ending fails even if the rest sparkles like a diamond.
- Many editors don't actually edit stories these days, but when they do authors should listen. It will be a better story when the editor is done with it.
- It is hard to write a good short story, and it is really hard to sell one. If you've sold a story to Electric Spec or a similar magazine, you have a gift and you should be proud that you had the opportunity to share that gift with the world. People may not be impressed if you have not published a novel or you have not made a living as an author. That's okay-only working authors know just how tough it is to write and get published. Be proud of what you've done. Just by writing fiction, you are filling the world with the creative energy this world needs.