Thursday, December 30, 2010

Lord Love a Duck

Lord, God, how I hate tags for short stories. If it looks like a story, sounds like story, and walks like a story. By God, it must be a story. Aside from the publisher, who cares what tiny little slot it fits into? A good story is a good story, no matter how you label it.

And have I ever mentioned that I really dislike those markets who claim to be "Literary" and look down their noses at genre stories when they're actually publishing what everyone else considers genre?

Literary Experimentalism, indeed! - Rant's over.


Shirley said...

Wow. Having a bad morning? I agree, though. Especially on the literary markets. I tend to stay away from those, but I've read "literary" stories that makes me shake my head.

sandra seamans said...

Yep, a literary story can go either way, the best are so good they hurt, the others, bleck! I don't think there's an in between for that "type" of story.

And not too bad a morning, just an email from an editor who didn't like her zine referred to as sci-fi.

David Cranmer said...


A good story is a good story. That's why at BEAT to a PULP we are opened to all.

Hardboiledop said...

What is literary? It means better than all you pulp writers. Detective and mystery stories can't be literature,some still believe. Unless you're a select few.

sandra seamans said...

Welcome to the Corner, Blackdragon! I do believe that you've missed my point. Click open any literary zine and you'll find genre stories. To say that they're only literary is to deny the story a greater audience. The same applies to genre. The lines always blur.

Cormac McCarthy's "The Road" is literary, it's also one of the best sci-fi stories out there. Daniel Woodrell's "Winter's Bone" is literary, it's also a great crime/noir.

For short stories, Kyle Minor is a literary writer but he's written some of the most beautiful crime stories I've ever read and his sci-fi story, "The Truth an All Its Ugly" over at 52stories will break your heart. Try Cat Rambo's story "Clockwork Fairies" over at and dare to tell me that is only a sci-fi story.

It's the story that I'm interested in, not the superficial tags publishers and editors and readers put on them. If a story grabs me and takes on a journey then it's done it job and I don't care what tag is pasted on the page.

To knock an entire genre because you think its beneath you, is just wrong. Are there poor writers out there who get published, of course there are. In EVERY genre including your literary one.

Every story should be able to stand on its own, no matter how or by whom it's written. It should speak to the reader, make them feel or think or believe. The story is everything.

sandra seamans said...

One of the reasons I love BTaP, David. I was thinking that Bill Crider's story, "The Quick...and the Dead" isn't just a zombie story. Dare I say, it transcends the genre tropes? ;-)

pattinase (abbott) said...

Believe it or not, I just got a rejection that said "we don't publish genre stories even though this was a very touching one." And they do publish them! It's just the writing is more experimental than mine.

sandra seamans said...

Yes, I see that a lot in guidelines. They don't want genre, yet there it is published in their zine. I wonder what it is exactly that makes a piece feel like genre to them?

And what exactly is experimental writing? Words are words, does aligning them in a fancy design on the page make the story better?