May 10, 2004

Department of Slashingly Vicious Editorship

I feel for fiction editors, I really do. Having taken two fiction classes at a university where almost half the students had a verbal SAT score below 600 (British readers: they didn't writed very good), I am all too aware of the pain that comes from reading bad creative writing. Like the Gucci-wearing fashion queen (attending the $32,000 per year university) who wrote (uncovincingly, for some reason) about gang warfare and murderers. Or the guy who I called 'Pretentious Andre' (because frankly, with a name like Andre, you've got to be either pretentious, or a seal), who handed in postmodern drivel about soap and nosebleeds.

Anyway, the point is, I know how trying it is to read bad fiction. Still, I feel the Strange Horizons Fiction Submission Guidelines are a little harsh. They detail about thirty different plots that they will more-or-less categorically not read, for example:

"1. Person is (metaphorically) at point A, wants to be at point B. Looks at point B, says 'I want to be at point B.' Walks to point B, encountering no meaningful obstacles or difficulties. The end."


"10. Someone calls technical support; wacky hijinx ensue.
a. Someone calls technical support for a magical item.
b. Someone calls technical support for a piece of advanced technology.
c. The title of the story is 1-800-SOMETHING-CUTE."

Actually, they're not so much harsh as they are hilariously sarcastic. Excellent.


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