Thursday, January 16, 2014

Unlikely Acceptance

Quite literally, as the title says. Unlikely Story had hosted a theme issue for the "worst story" as an April Fool's joke, and I guess the joke's on me because I got in. I don't know what that says about me as an author--am I just terribly bad, or terribly good at pegging down badness in a story? But a sale is a sale, and dammit, after a string of rejections, it feels nice to brag ... even if it's in the name of badness.

By the way, best worstly bad acceptance letter:

Thank you for sending us [name withheld]. Although the competition was fierce, we
regret to inform you that yes, this was one of the worst stories we
received, and it will be appearing in the Journal of Unlikely Story
Acceptances on April 1st. We'll be posting the announcement shortly.

We'll get you contracts and such soon. In the spirit of doing things wrong,
there won't be any edits.

Thursday, January 9, 2014

No More Exposure

Recently, announced that they are doing away with "exposure only" or "4theluv" market listings, and you know what? That's a great thing.

I don't care for exposure only markets, I have never submitted my work to any of them nor will I ever, because I believe I should be paid for my work as should every writer be fairly compensated. And I don't buy for one second the commonly used excuse of "we're not making money from this!" Bullshit. Ad revenue brings in a pretty penny. And even if it didn't, do you honestly expect me to believe that you can't pull out a fiver from your wallet to pay a writer for their time and effort? 

I remember someone making a pretty good comparison between a market that only pays a dollar and one that pays nothing but exposure: the one dollar market is showing the initiative and is likely to pay more in the future, whereas the exposure market is likely to never pay. Sure, there are some exposure markets who rise to the level of token or semi-pro paying, but most don't. If they can get stories for free, why should they change their model?

Yeah, quite a few literary markets are exposure only, because apparently "prestige" is seen as a sort of payment. I've never heard of someone working at a job just for the prestige of it, nor can prestige buy you a meal or put gasoline in your car.

Hopefully The Grinder does the same (though I doubt it), because I'm sick and tired of seeing all these non-paying market being added. And don't be a stupid a writer and submit your work to these types of markets, because not only are you encouraging them, but you're devaluing your own writing. Remember: your work is worth something, and that's more than nothing.

Thursday, January 2, 2014

Reflections 'n Shit

Well there goes 2013. I don't have any strong feelings about it, don't think I'll miss it. Not to belittle the year, because there were accomplishments, but there is a sort of underwhelmingness to it all. I tried to watch that end of the year recap with Carson Daly, but really couldn't hold my interest. All it did was show how incredibly shallow media is today. How many times did they have to reference Miley Cyrus and her twerking? I don't even think Syria was mentioned at all.

Zombie apocalypse? Yeah, I think it's already arrived.  

But for what it's worth, some good: I made my first SFWA sale. Total sales: 13 -1, no thanks to White Scat. One sale was a reprint to W1S1 anthology, which I hope to see soon.

While the hope is to make more sales this year, it's also dawned on me that I'm simply not writing what editors want right now. "Weep-woe" characters are in right now, victimhood is popular. Both of these things disgust me. I'm fine beating up on a character and giving them a hard time, but I do that because I expect the character to rise above the hardship--not drown in a puddle of their own tears. But repeatedly, I read stories where characters are treated and defined as victims, with no hope that they'll become more.

Such stories came in the form of dementia or autistic children--and I swear, there must've been a mandate somewhere, because practically every publication had one or the other (or both!) of these types. And it got old. Pretty much every dementia story could be described as old person's brain is deteriorating and it's all very sad and depressing. Every autistic child story consists of the child being or have been bullied. The short of shit that's meant to pull on your heartstrings, but fortunately, I clipped those strings long ago. I don't like being emotionally manipulated, it cheapens the experience, and I know that's what the author is doing, because emotions win sales! At least that's the only way I can explain how half that crap gets published. That, or really good blow jobs. Sure, a lot of these "weep-woe" stories are decently written, but a program can write well too. I just wanted to read an entertaining story, and they couldn't even deliver on that much.

And before you say "well don't read those kind of stories," I'll point out that they're pretty damn numerous, and it was hard not to bump into one when going through an issue. 

I understand wanting to increase diversity in fiction, but why dementia in first place? What is the obsession? Of all the mental disorders, this is the one everyone has latched onto. Then there's autism, which I'd be fine if the kids went on cool adventures and used their particular skills to solve problems in mystical realms, you know, being a hero. But noooooooo. It's just bullying and being misunderstood.  

This probably explains why Westerns have gone the way of the dinosaurs, because those were hero stories. Remember heroes? The kind of people who did deeds greater than themselves. Although I'm more partial to anti-heroes because there's more meat to them, and they're total badasses. But hey!--at least they did stuff. You didn't see cowboys whine, or bemoan the state of the world while doing nothing about it. 

Even comic books have turned away from heroism. Need I explain Man of Steel?

It's weird and sad at the same time.

Anyway I could go on, and I'd very much like to. But alas, (Twit)ter has shortened everyone's attention spans. That'll have to be a rant for another day.

2014: better? worse? We'll see in 12 months.