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Monday, April 28, 2014

LETTERS TO THE SLUSH PILE #14

Dear --------,

I know your story is going to generate a lot of discussion at Fight Night. Fight Night is our term for when we On Spec editors get together to fight for (or against) various stories that we want to include in the magazine.

When I was in University, one of the most valuable things I learned about writing was that everything should be there for a reason. That old Greek adage about moderation, found in the temple of Apollo at Delphi would apply - Meden Agan (μηδὲν ἄγαν)`, or 'Nothing in excess'. I embrace that school of thought.

That said, there are always exceptions to the rule - even when those rules are one's own. You penned a great piece. Your young protagonist is one of the most well developed characters I have ever come across in a short story - this is excellent YA. However, you've also included a number of elements in your story that, although intriguing, remain unexplained. As a reader, I prefer everything tied up, everything there for a reason, everything revealed by the end. I feel I should know why things are presented the way they are.

Luckily for you, not everyone on our editorial team agrees with me.

As I said, it's going to be an interesting Fight Night when we talk about your story. I suspect if one of us champions your work with strong convictions, I'll allow myself to be swayed.

- Susan.

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