What are the qualities that you look for in a story?
This is broad. But I could narrow it down to two things.
One, there is a certain spark that either is or isn’t there. If it’s there, it’s there from the first sentence and it runs to the end. If it isn’t there at the start, it won’t show up late in the game. People think that editors see tons of atrocious fiction in their submission pile, but the truth is, we see tons of perfectly competent fiction. We’re not looking for diamonds in the rough. We’re looking for diamonds amid the quartz and crystal. There is so much competition out there, both to get published, and then when you do, to get noticed alongside everything else on the shelf. Why take something that fires on only one or two cylinders when next to it is something that fires on all cylinders?
Second, I think I in particular am looking for a narrow band of overlap between commercial and literary fiction, or between stories with enough of a plot and action component to appeal to a broad audience, but a certain elevated writing style that transcends the average.
Monday, July 13, 2009
The wonderful Charles Tan has posted an interview with Yours Truly on Bibliophile Stalker. I think it came off rather well, if I do say so myself. Here's a taste: