I didn’t want to put a long list of ideas or restrictions in my submission guidelines. As an author, I prefer simple guidelines, so that is what I decided to do for the actual submission page. Above anything else, I don’t want to discourage anyone. Send me your stories. I want to read them. I don’t promise to read the whole thing if the opening doesn’t pull me in, but I’d love to have the chance to. If it doesn’t work for me, let me reject it. Don’t do my job for me. Stories are the most important things that I want to see in my slush pile.
But I do know that some other people prefer to have more to go on, so I can ramble a bit about that here.
I chose “Lost Voices” as a theme because I think it will work well as a starting point for science fiction, fantasy, and horror stories. I want a mix of all three in the book. I am also very much in favor of diversity in fiction–the world we live in is incredibly rich and diverse, and I think the worlds of our imagination have no excuse to be less interesting than the real world. To me, “Lost Voices” screams for tons of diverse authors showcasing diverse stories–I’m hoping that I see them in the slush pile. If you’re worried about including diverse characters in your fiction because you don’t want to get it wrong and offend people, I recommend checking out this essay by Nisi Shawl.
I’m trying not to be too drunk with my own power, but I’m sure that my personal taste will play some part in the final story selections. I review things on Tangent Online, and you can probably get a few ideas about my taste there. You can also pick up back issues of Triangulation. I worked on Taking Flight, Dark Glass, End of the Rainbow, and Last Contact.
I don’t really like gritty stories, and hopeless tragedy will be a hard sell. I love beautiful, lyrical language. I think that clarity and pacing are incredibly important. I firmly embrace the Oxford comma. My favorite short story authors include Cat Rambo, Eugie Foster, and Octavia Butler. I’m happy to read vampire or werewolf or zombie stories. I’m not a fan of twist endings. I love unicorns. I’m also very fond of dragons and cats.
Some specific story ideas that I’d love to see include radio transmissions lost between the stars, a magical plague that makes everyone in the kingdom go mute simultaneously, and a monster that steals voices from the dying and then uses them to drive their surviving friends and family insane. I could keep going–I love themes and I love writing for themes. I hope that “Lost Voices” inspires you. Send me your stories!