Codex Q&A: What do you value most in a story above all else?

In July 2013, I served as the “editor-in-residence” for the Codex Writing Group, which meant basically I was asking a month-long AMA (“Ask Me Anything”) interview. With Codex’s permission, I’m re-posting the Q&As here on my blog. The questions were all provided by members of Codex.


What do you value most in a story above all else–either in ones submitted to the magazines, or ones you’re just reading for personal pleasure? That thing that makes a story truly stand out to you and stick in your mind long after.

That’s a hard question to answer in general. When I’m first reading a story, what usually grabs me first is the voice or the style. I think looking back on things that stand out in my mind long after…in most cases it’s the concept the makes them most memorable to me, or maybe a great character (or some heartbreaking/tragic/amazing thing the character does). A great last line tends to really stick in my mind as well. (Like the last line of 1984–oh man!).



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