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Tuesday, May 07, 2013


AS I DID WITH ROBIN, BARB, AND BARRY, here are the same questions I put to Ann Marston. Ann has been a Fiction Editor with On Spec Magazine since 2009. She says she thoroughly enjoys being an editor:

1). What kinds of stories appeal to you most? Do you lean towards a particular type of story or style?

I really like space opera, good old-fashioned adventure stories where the heroes win spectacularly. However, what I'm looking for is a great story with a beginning, middle, and an end that works, with characters I can care for. I don't mind an anti-hero, but if the character is completely unappealing, I don't want to read about him, her, or it, and I really won't care about, "Yeah, but he gets what's coming to him in the end."

2). What types of stories don't appeal to you? What are your pet peeves, writing-wise?

I don’t like stories that contain foul language, violence and/or explicit sexual details that are put into the story merely to shock or disgust, rather than because they're integral to the story itself. I also don't like stories that wander aimlessly and end without any resolution of the problem.

Also, I become annoyed when I read a story where it’s obvious the author has not proofread it. When a story comes in full of grammatical and spelling mistakes, I always feel that if the author didn't care enough to make sure it was as readable as possible, why should I care enough to read it? Those who know me know I get a bit militant about never using "like" as a conjunction, and the lie/lay confusion.

3). What advice would you give to a writer submitting to us?

Write the best story you know how to write. Make sure it's a story, not just the outline of a great idea. We call those stories H.A.I.T.E. stories—Here's An Idea, The End. (If the prospect of what happens after your story ends is more exciting or intriguing that what happens in the story, it's a H.A.I.T.E.) Proofread your work. If you're not sure about something, look it up.

4). Please list any credits you'd like mentioned (ie. book pubs, editing/publishing involvement), followed by a small bio:

Ann's Bio: My publishing credits include six high fantasy books, Kingmaker's Sword, The Western King, Broken Blade, Cloudbearer's Shadow, King of Shadows, and Sword and Shadow, all published by HarperCollins Publishers and now reissued by Five Rivers Publishing as e-books. Kingmaker's Sword and Western King are now available as e-books or POD through Five Rivers, Amazon, etc., and Broken Blade will be available shortly. As well, two new books will be coming from Five Rivers once the Rune Blade series has been reissued. I've also had several short stories published, one of them in On Spec!

(Thanks, Ann.)  

Next Post: Diane Walton, On Spec Managing Editor

Stay tuned.

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