Traditional What Publishers of Short Stories DO NOT WANT

Discussion in 'Publisher Discussion' started by Set2Stun, Feb 5, 2024.

  1. Xoic

    Xoic Prognosticator of Arcana Ridiculosum Contributor Blogerator

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    Nobody said no dead kids, it said nothing bad can happen to kids. Or was it not worded properly at the beginning of the thread? If it just refers to death and rape or something, then that's a different matter. I thought it meant nothing even slightly frightening can happen to children. And judging by the way Mary Sue characters are popping up all over the place, who aren't allowed to have a character flaw or learn from their mistakes because they never make a mistake (within the weird parameters of Mary Sue World), it would make sense some publications would want nothing bad at all to happen to kids as well. But if it just refers to death and rape, then my bad.

    Also judging by the way more markets are catering to the most sensitive among us.
     
    Last edited: Feb 12, 2024
  2. Naomasa298

    Naomasa298 HP: 10/190 Status: Confused Contributor

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    The essence of horror is that the things that happen are horrific. They're *supposed* to be uncomfortable.

    If you can't bear reading things like that, then perhaps horror is not the genre for you - it can't be all about emo vampires who only target heterosexual white men.

    Anyone remember the bit in Galaxy Quest where Tommy is crying that he knows he's going to die because "the black dude always dies first"?
     
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  3. Catriona Grace

    Catriona Grace Mind the thorns Contributor Contest Winner 2022

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    There's bad (bullying and losing a friend) and then there's bad (murder and torture). If a story starts out with a graphic description of a child enduring the latter, I'm not going to read it. If I was a publisher, I'd plainly state such work wouldn't be accepted. Actually, graphic depictions of any kind of violence to anyone lose my readership pretty quickly. It's possible to set a scene and instill a sense of horror in a reader without a blow by blow description of every cut and drop of blood. That's where the art and craft of writing come in.
     
  4. Rzero

    Rzero Reluctant voice of his generation Contributor

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    I think we are talking about the industry, because the few I'm referring to, like the horror pubs I've been researching lead me to believe that some of these are very common restrictions. I don't know about all of them, but some things on this list seem almost universal from what I've seen so far, which admittedly is only in one genre.
    Please don't worry about that. I took no offense. I consider you a friend, and I think it's okay if we disagree on a point or two now and then.
    "Insulting" may have been a little extreme. Sorry. I didn't mean to sound pissed. I take pride in my grammar and vocabulary and such, like a lot of men I know. I don't think either gender has the market cornered on deplorably grammar. I certainly know not to correct a girlfriend's grammar EVER, though, lol.
     
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  5. Naomasa298

    Naomasa298 HP: 10/190 Status: Confused Contributor

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    The death, burial and unresurrection of Danny Glick in Salem's Lot (especially the middle one in the novel and both of the last two in the 1970s TV miniseries) were some of the most horrific scenes in the book and TV series. None of it was accomplished with any blood or gore, unless you count the poor gravedigger getting fanged.

    The award winning Japanese animated film, Grave of the Fireflies has both child main characters dying of starvation at the end of WW2, although the spirits of the boy and his sister do have a sort of happy ending when they arrive at a heavenly hill, full and healthy. Too powerful for me, I haven't watched it.
     
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  6. Storysmith

    Storysmith Senior Member

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    It's the complete opposite of that; the more gender equality there is, the bigger the gap becomes: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Gender-equality_paradox


    In terms of the question of how the publishing industry is composed, I found this from 2019: https://blog.leeandlow.com/2020/01/28/2019diversitybaselinesurvey/#:~:text=According%20to%20the%20survey%2C%2076%20percent%20of%20publishing,Black%2FAfrican%20American%20%285%20percent%29%3B%20and%20biracial%2Fmultiracial%20%283%20percent%29.

    Headlines are:
    76% of employees are white, which is about in line with the US population
    74% are non-trans women, compared with 51% of the population
    81% are straight, compared to 95.5% of the population
    11% are disabled, compared with 13.5% of the population
     
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  7. deadrats

    deadrats Contributor Contributor

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    I haven't read your work, but I wouldn't cross literary journals off your list. I like to write zombie stories which are known for being a hard sell and many genre publications don't even want to look at them. But there are always other publications that will. Still, I know most places aren't going to publish my zombie stories. But a few years ago I did sell a zombie story, not to a genre publication but to a very literary lit journal.

    Of course, I put my own spin on the whole zombie thing, but that didn't matter to a lot of the genre mags. The literary journal that published my zombie story was a pretty big deal. The only reason I sent them that story is because I was aiming for 100 rejections in a year and this publication had already rejected just about everything else I had. I'm just saying that if your story isn't in line with what the genre mags say they want, it doesn't hurt to look elsewhere and aim higher even.
     
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  8. Catriona Grace

    Catriona Grace Mind the thorns Contributor Contest Winner 2022

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    With the exception of Bram Stoker's Dracula, Salem's Lot was the most terrifying story I ever read. The friend I loaned it to finished it, turned up at my house at 11 p.m. to return it because she didn't even want it in the house with her that night. When King is good, he is outstanding.
     
  9. Naomasa298

    Naomasa298 HP: 10/190 Status: Confused Contributor

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    Much depended on how high he was at the time.
     

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