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Thursday, October 18, 2018

Letters to the Editor




Quentin Walker writes:
“I am a writer in my free time and an avaricious reader [...]”
(Good opening. We like writers, and always need more readers. And if you’re a writer who writes without also reading, you’re probably going to be a lousy writer. I think you meant voracious, though, not avaricious.)
“When submitting short stories, do you accept anything with horror Lovecraftian themes? Or do you just like straight science fiction and fantasy?”
First off, if you want to know what we like to see in submissions, our Submission Guidelines are always a good place to start. If you take a quick look at them, the first thing you’ll notice is that we are CLOSED to unsolicited submissions right now. At the moment we’re in the last stages of cleaning up after our 2018 open submissions period, deeply into contracts & copy-editing mode, and down to the last two acceptances and six rejections I need to write and send.

But as for Lovecraftian horror in particular: to be honest, there are a hell of a lot of writers out there writing fanfic-grade Imitation Lovecraft, and the market is pretty much supersaturated with it. You would not believe how many lame-ass rewrites of “At the Mountains of Madness” or “The Colour Out of Space” we’ve seen and rejected. It’s gotten to the point where the moment we see the word “Arkham,” “Miskatonic,” or “eldritch” in a manuscript, it goes straight into the form rejection pile.

We will, on very rare occasions, buy something Lovecraftian, but it had better be pretty damned brilliant—or funny—or better yet, both, if you want to get our attention. Like, for example, “Harbinger of Doom (for the Home Team)” by Dan Micklethwaite, which you’ll find on our old SHOWCASE site, or “The Cuttle Out of Ground” by Steve Ruthenbeck, which we’ll be publishing very shortly in Stupefying Stories.

Thanks for asking, and have a nice day.

Bruce Bethke
editor, Stupefying Stories 

9 comments:

GuyStewart said...

Congrats on only being MILDLY snarky in your response! It's a hopeful sign that you are mellowing pleasantly when you didn't give it a "0"...

~brb said...

As for the emphasis on to in the title: most of the Talking Shop posts we've done thus far have amounted to letters from the editor, speaking ex cathedra from the palatial offices of the Rampant Loon Media Corporation. This column signals a new direction for us: providing public answers to questions from writers on topics that are of interest to the writing community in general.

We're working on improving our approachability and interactivity. We're told these are good things.

Mark Keigley said...

You dodged telling him to go mate with a Cthulhu. I'd say you are WAY ahead of the game.

~brb said...

One does not "mate with" Cthulhu. One suffers the agonizing ecstasy of being penetrated in a thousand-million unspeakable ways before your very soul is at last consumed by the ravening black tongues of eldritch fire in a profane orgy of blah blah blah blah...

Judith said...

Ar-eh, Bruce. I use the word eldritch quite often in some of my stories. As in “I’m Cleopatra Court,” Pat said. “This is my partner, Mark Anderson. Our specialty’s ancient gods, eldritch horror, cosmic nightmare, that type of thing.” I guess I'd better not do this any more.

~brb said...

Judith, dearest, your stories fall under the "pretty damned brilliant" exclusion, which is why I've published so many of them. You many continue to use whatever words you need to tell your stories.

Judith said...

[Modest simper] wow, thanks Bruce. I wasn't really fishing for compliments honest, but that's a lovely thing to read at the end of a week filled with nightmares, eldritch (you said I could) and otherwise.

Judith said...

PS I've had dates like you described in your post yesterday dated 2:55pm.

~brb said...

And I've dated women who were disappointed when the evening *didn't* end like that.