Crowded -- http://www.crowdedmagazine.com/ -- has an interesting idea for handling the "slush" stage of editing. Subscribers and those who have submitted stories are encouraged to read the submissions (available in the password-protected part of the site), comment on them and rate them from 1-4 stars. These ratings are then used by the editors to help handle the slush.
After submitting a story, I've been taking part in their system a bit, mostly out of curiosity. Here are some things I've noticed:
-The average quality of material, as far as the quality of the nuts-and-bolts writing goes, is pretty good. I've read and rated three stories, and glanced at another half dozen, and I haven't seen one that's as badly written as an average student paper at a good university (in my experience).
-It sometimes surprises me what kind of plots people think will work for readers. I read a story about an aging stripper who doesn't feel beautiful anymore. She's recruited by an alien whose people find old age attractive (set aside the fact that aliens might not recognize the markers of old age in humans!) and things proceed from there. Huh?
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