I just spent three hours in an editorial board meeting, weeding through over nine hundred submissions. Invariably, the ones that made it into the journal had three things in common:
- Simple writing style. Not simplistic or juvenile, but rather displaying the ability to put everyday words together in ways that were digestible, thoughtful, and unique.
- Strong narrative voice. Whether written in first, second, or third point of view (and we had all three show up frequently), keeping a consistent and colorful narrative voice always boosted a work into the next editing round.
- A subtle takeaway. Theme is difficult to get right, because it either gets lost in the plot (or lack thereof) or sticks out awkwardly and often condescendingly. A fine balance between the two is optimal.