I have been reading slush for approximately twelve hours straight, for Bull Spec. It is an interesting and highly-recommended experience for everyone, and it has not made me bitter, yet.
Here are some things that I have learned after my first full day of slush reading.
1) People who’ve taken writing workshops at Clarion, Oddessey, Taos, and Universities are generally a bright spot in the pile, even if I reject their story, because they don’t generally make easy mistakes.
2) I am far more forgiving of a story that tries very hard to be amazing, and fails, than I am of a story that tries very hard to be mediocre and nails it.
4) The cream really does rise to the top.
5) The worst thing a story can be is successfully mediocre. This is worse than being unsuccessfully mediocre.
6) People who sweat their cover letter need not worry. I generally don’t even look at it until after I’ve read enough of the story to be curious or not. The way e-mail submissions work, it seems like this will be generally true. The most I’d do, at best, is quickly skim the letter while getting straight to the story.
7) Ergo, the shorter the cover letter, the better.
8) Lists are fun.
9) Good night.