We are an “old fashioned” editorial crew: we love stories. We admire great writing; we swoon at beautifully worded sentences and lovely descriptions, and chuckle at clever metaphors--but we always choose a great story over all of that. We constantly receive great character sketches, serious mood pieces, wonderfully written scenes that in the end are just wonderful scenes or elegant reminiscences.… And we judge all of this by one simple standard--where is the story?
What’s a story? A character (or characters) that we care for (or hate) in a conflict (plot) that leads to a plausible resolution that has an emotional effect on the character and on the readers. For us, a terrific story trumps even superior writing. The writing quality may be less outstanding than in the character sketches, mood pieces, scenes, or reminiscences, if the story pulls us in and makes us root for the character as he/she wrestles through a conflict.
This does not disqualify memoirs or reminiscences, as long as they are told as a story--a real-life story. You are the character fighting through a conflict which changed you somehow. If this hadn’t happened, you wouldn’t be trying to tell us about it.
So send us a story, real or imagined. Give us great writing, but more important, give us a great story. We will love you for it.
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