In my senior year of college, a requirement for one of my English classes was to write a critical research paper on a literary work of our choosing.
Part of our grade for the paper involved bringing in new ideas to the ongoing literary conversation about the work we chose. There were a lot of hours I spent researching D.H. Lawrence’s The Horse Dealer’s Daughter to figure out what other critics said in the past about the short story and what they were currently saying about it. While researching this particular work, I remember being so frustrated to have a direction I wanted to go with the paper, only to find out someone else already wrote about that idea.
Although the beginning process of researching was sometimes frustrating, when I finally nailed down an idea that was mine, I was so excited. I felt proud that I was able to add to the literary dialogue in my own small way.
My experience from college has really shaped how I look at the stories I read for Quantum Fairy Tales. When deciding what stories to publish, one aspect that separates an OK story from a great one is what the author brings in that is new and different.
When I read submissions, I want to see what an author does to stand out. For me, I feel like the story idea is key. Someone can be fabulous writer, but if the story is about the same old fairy tale or another zombie story that doesn’t take some type of new or provocative approach, the great writing is drowned out.
So, I guess my advice on creating a work that stands out among other submissions is:
1. Do your research and see what else is out there already.
2. Ask yourself, “How is my work bringing in something new or unique to my writing genre?”
Then, when you finally pin down that great idea for a story, you can also be proud that you will be adding something unique to the literary world.