Thu 10 Jul 2014
by John Towler
I’ve read a lot of flash as an editor at Every Day Fiction. (We have a tracking system that counts how many stories we’ve commented on, and I passed the 5000 mark during the second week of March.) It seemed to be a good time to come up with a “Top 10″ list of the most memorable pieces we’ve published in my four-year tenure. This list is based on my memory and opinion, and does not reflect any sort of editorial consensus of Camille, Carol, Joe or any of the other fine folks I work with.
These are all great stories from talented authors. I hope you’ll give them a chance if you haven’t experienced them already.
1. Cog Work Cat by Joyce Chng, published May 2010
The story blends poetry, fantasy, and love in a way that I don’t think has ever been eclipsed at EDF. Joyce has given us a couple of other very good stories, but this one was her best work.
2. Strikethrough by Matt Daly, published June 2012
A powerful piece about healing achieved in an unexpected manner. This is the only story Matt ever submitted to us, but he gave us a gem.
3. Saving Darth Vader by Kip, published May 2010
This story is one of the quirkiest roller-coaster rides you’ve ever been on. At one moment you are laughing out loud and the next nearly in tears for the feline protagonist. Kip gave us a number of great stories, but this one stands above them all.
4. The Destiny of Archer Deft by Douglas Campbell, published February 2010
Douglas is a regular contributor with an enviable near-perfect publication track record. It seemed everything he gave us was gold. But he went out on a limb with this piece and it is a laugh riot. Long live the Snooty Bird!
5. To Catch a Wolf by Warren Easley, published May 2012
Somebody brought up that May 16 was National Flash Fiction day and it just so happened we had the perfect story to celebrate the occasion. (We actually made it into a Flash Fiction Week at EDF and all the stories we published around that time were exceptional.)
6. Fire and Light by Sarah Crysl Akhtar, published July 2013
Sarah is EDF’s Scheherazade. I don’t think there are many months that go by that do not feature one of her stories. She has a gift with words and a bottomless imagination and picking a favorite of hers was tough. This was not her highest-rated story from the readership, but it is the one that has stuck with me.
7. Speed Demon and Clockwork Dancer by J.R. Hume, published October 2013
The prose in this story is part of what makes it special, but one of the best anthropomorphic flash pieces I’ve read. J.R. is a long-time contributor to EDF. His Tears of an Android is another great read, but we picked that one before I started with the magazine, so it didn’t make this list.
8. Three Wishes by Cat Rambo, published August 2013
We do not publish a lot of micro fiction at EDF. (Of the over 2,000 stories we’ve published, only around 30 have been 250 words or less.) I think Cat’s Three Wishes is the best of the bunch and it accomplishes the unusual feat of finding a twist on the well-worn three wishes theme that’ll moisten your eye.
9. The Widow’s Tale by J. Chris Lawrence, published October 2011
Chris has joined the EDF team as a slush reader for the time being, but I will look forward to the day he returns to the writing world so he can crank out more terrific pieces like this for us. (Well, hopefully for us.)
10. Idiot Robot by Shane Rhinewald, published July 2013
Comedy and science fiction seem to work well together on the big and little screen (Mork and Mindy, 3rd Rock, Futurama, etc.) but we have a tough time finding flash that pulls it off. Shane’s genre-blending piece finds the right balance and, like all good science fiction, speaks to issues beyond the words on the page.
If you are looking to have your story published by Every Day Fiction, you should first read our guidelines. It is embarrassingly apparent when people have not.
The key to publishing a story with us is to find that ideal mix of good writing, fresh ideas, and some sort of character development. We’ve had to say “no” to stories with knockout prose but which follow the “boy meets girl” trajectory with predictable outcomes. We’ve read pieces that are brilliant conceptually, but are delivered with a clumsy prose style that make them unsuitable. We love working with authors who don’t mind taking a bit of editorial direction and shaping their flash into something our magazine can publish.
J.C. Towler is in the market for a gently-used Time Turner or Transmogrifier. He has been an editor at Every Day Fiction since 2010, but wears more hats than you could possibly be interested in knowing about.