Vote 2020 graphic
Everything you need to know about and expect during
the most important election of our lifetimes

Don't Blow Up The Spaceship Until The Second Paragraph!

Illustration for article titled Dont Blow Up The Spaceship Until The Second Paragraph!

Aspiring short story writers — and pretty much anybody who enjoys reading short fiction — should jet over to John Joseph Adams' blog. He's just reposted a roundtable featuring editors of three of the top short fiction magazines (Gordon Van Gelder with Fantasy & Science Fiction, Sheila Williams with Asimovs and Susan Marie Groppi with Strange Horizons) talking about what makes them fall in love with a story. Along the way, they dispense invaluable advice and give some great insights into the state of short fiction today. Originally published in the 2009 Novel & Short Story Writer's Market, the roundtable includes some hilarious stuff about the kinds of stories the short-story editors see too often. Apparently there is a whole flood of stories where a plague transforms the human race, except for one person who's immune. I Am Legend FTW! Also, ever since people started circulating the advice that you have to "grab" the editor in your story's first paragraph, there's been a rash of stories where a spaceship blows up in the first couple of sentences. They also have some advice on what you should be reading to prepare yourself to write short fiction. (Anthology editor Van Gelder, not surprisingly, thinks you should read some anthologies.) And Groppi, somewhat depressingly, says the younger crop of short fiction writers are resigned to the fact that you can't make a living writing short fiction. [John Joseph Adams]


Share This Story

Get our newsletter


Josh Wimmer

Many, many thanks for the link, Charlie. (I really liked Van Gelder's "I've heard several crime writers say they learned a lot by retyping an entire Elmore Leonard novel, start to finish.")