Friday, November 6, 2015

Ask Unca Mike


Science fiction and fantasy writers are a group are extraordinarily generous with advice to new writers. A moment's thought, however, reveals that this is just encouraging talented young people to occupy the publishing niches and win the awards that would otherwise go to to us Old Hands. Ask Unca Mike is an attempt to rectify this deplorable situation.


 Dear Unca Mike,

    How can one make one's manuscript more attention-getting to an editor? In the old days,. Asimov and Heinlein could buy typewriter ribbons that were half-red and half-black so they could add a bit of punch to their manuscripts with whole sentences typed in red. What can an unpublished writer do these days to get noticed?


                                                    Black Ink, White Paper

Given how many options there are on pretty much any word processing program for FoNt and COLOR, to say nothing of SIZE, it  would seem at first blush hat you're not even trying. When one considers how many magazines today are accepting virtual submissions., it seems a given that writers are perking up their submissions with clip art, kitten gifs, and dancing paper clips. So you're probably expecting me to advise ladling your submission with lots and lots of porn.

But, keeping in mind the purpose of this column, I'll simply observe that the very best way to catch an editor's attention is by writing a crisp, involving story with good science and a fresh idea that nobody's ever seen before.

Because if that doesn't paralyze you with fear, nothing will.

If you have a question for Unca Mike you can post it below. Or write to AskUncaMike ("at" sign) I'll respond to those I have the best answers for.

Ask Unca Mike appears here on Fridays.

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