Abyss & Apex : Fourth Quarter 2008: Editorial

SpecFicWorld Interviews Wendy S. Delmater

by Doyle Eldon Wilmoth, Jr.



An interview with Wendy S. Delmater, Managing Editor of Abyss&Apex Online Magazine of Speculative Fiction

Doyle Eldon Wilmoth, Jr.

Name some of the most common reasons why you send a story packing back home to its owner.

Wendy S. Delmater:


  • Multiple grammar and spelling errors in the first paragraph. (Can you say “form rejection?”)
  • Not in Standard Manuscript Format (SMF): this is not a deal breaker, but if the author doesn’t even bother to get that right the manuscript usually has other problems.
  • The story starts in the wrong place. Sometimes I can ask for a rewrite when that’s all that is wrong with a piece, but usually it is not the only issue.
  • Slice of life/Nothing happens. Beautiful writing, and then you get to the end of the piece (if you get that far) and ask, “That’s it? That’s IT!?”



And what automatically tips you off that a story isn’t ready for publication, besides bad writing?

Wendy S. Delmater:.
“White room” dialog (no setting, no grounding in details) is a dead giveaway. No conflict or language to hook me and make me want to read more is the biggest killer, though. Your opening lines should create questions in the reader’s mind so that they need to keep reading to have their curiosity sated.

And what continually aggravates you to no end about submissions from new writers? Things like: No return (email) address. Phone calls asking about submissions, etc.

Wendy S. Delmater:
Impatient email queries when we are behind on our response times. Patient ones? Fine. Impatient? Three times and I reject the story without reading it.

Oh, and I am not very fond of people thinking that being my best friend at a con will help them get published. Note to writers: you want a professional relationship. If you really became my friend I would have to get someone else on staff to read your submission anyhow, as I want to avoid the appearance of impropriety or any bias I might have.

What do you look for in a story–the things that make you sit up and say wow!

Wendy S. Delmater:
I love circularity, where the beginning of a story is referenced at its end. I love well-thought out world building! I love a distinctive voice, and am blown away by writers who use the cadence of language to heighten the impact of their story-telling. And although I love unforgettable characters, I’m especially fond of stories that contain an “inevitable surprise.” Some people call them plot twists, but I mean more than that. I mean, send me a well set up ending where you should have seen it coming but did not due to writerly sleight-of-hand? I think those are yummy!





Editorial © 2008 Doyle Eldon Wilmoth, Jr. and Wendy S. Delmater. All other content copyright © 2008 ByrenLee Press 


Copyrighted by the author unless otherwise noted.


Art Director: Bonnie Brunish

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