Sunday, October 6, 2013

My Aha Moment - Maurice Broaddus - Biggest Aha Moments in Writing

I’m firmly convinced that every writer should take a turn behind a slush pile. If nothing else, it will provide a sense of perspective as well as an object lesson. For a start, it’s good to see what an editor faces all the time and who you’re up against: the all-too-similar story ideas, the various writers’ ticks, the weaknesses in story that cause an editor to put the story down early. In a slush pile, you have maybe one page, if the editor is particularly generous, to make an impression. One page to intrigue and hood the reader. One page to let them know they are in good hands. One page to woo them to keep reading.

If the writer hasn’t done their job in the first page, the editor doesn’t owe it to them to keep reading.

Because the reader certainly won’t. Yes, it sounds harsh, but ultimately the editor is doing a writer a favor by forcing them to step their game up and be more impressive up front and all around.

Faced with mountains of slush, sifting for gold among the lumps of rocks, editors are searching for the most tales that send their jaded hearts racing and the most marketable talent. Editors are trying, ACTIVELY SEEKING stories they want to publish. After all, they have magazines, anthologies, and web space to fill and want to find the best stories to do so. They especially want to be the ones to break new talent. They aren’t the enemy and aren’t out to get you. And some time behind a slush pile will quickly clue you into why they seem so harsh to your story. They simply want you to be better and to stand out from the mediocre crowd.

Maurice Broaddus has written hundreds of short stories, essays, novellas, and articles. His dark fiction has been published in numerous magazines, anthologies, and web sites, including Cemetery Dance, Apex Magazine, Black Static, and Weird Tales Magazine. He is the co-editor of the Dark Faith anthology series (Apex Books) and the author of the urban fantasy trilogy, Knights of Breton Court (Angry Robot Books). He has been a teaching artist for over five years, teaching creative writing to students of all ages. Visit his site at

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