Here at Shiny we’ve received a decent amount of submissions – enough that I don’t feel that we are being forced to take things we don’t absolutely love and not too much that we are being overwhelmed to the point that we can’t move for slush.
We’ve accepted 4 stories with one pending acceptance, in my opinion. We need 9 for the 2007 series. That’s 3 issues each with 3 stories. So I guess that puts us at the half way point. I get to send out the rejections. Rejections are not the fun bit about being an editor. You know that someone is waiting at the other end of the email you are writing, maybe a bit excited, and when they read what you’ve written, it’s kinda gonna put a dark cloud over their day. On the other hand, being involved in the Last Short Story project at the same time has really helped me get over the rejecting of slush woes. Because … rejecting work does the writer, the reader and the magazine a favour. There are far too many markets out there being too nice. Far, far too many.
But every now and then you get a STORY. You know the kind … the one that stands out from the rest. The one that is so gripping and intriguing that you shut out the world and inhale it all in one go and get really excited that you get to be the one to accept and publish it.
For me, in the Shiny project, that story is called “The Sun People” and it was written by Sue Isle. I jumped on the Isle bandwagon last year reading her 2006 works “Daughter of the Red Cranes“ and “Mary Bennet gets a Life”. Isle has such a strong and unique voice. She writes from her own perspective and puts something fresh out there. She writes for characters that are usually the wall flowers in stories and she makes them compelling. She speaks for the unspoken and that makes me, as the reader, feel like I’m stumbling across something new and important. And maybe just a bit fragile.
I asked her to consider submitting something to Shiny and she told me she can’t write under 8000 words. I have to admit to being in a novelette kinda mood these last months. As a reader, I’m erring on the longer story as a preference so 8000 words didn’t faze me. And then she submitted “The Sun People”. I’m so excited about this story. There is so much to *be* excited about with this story. It’s a strong YA piece. It’s set in Perth and centres around a transgendered youth. It’s a quest for self identity and survival in a post apocalyptic, globally warmed world. It’s tightly written and moving. It’s very possibly my favourite story that I’ve read all year.