Sunday, December 6, 2009

Unsolicited Advice from an Unpublished Lady

Tip #1:

Do not write about vampires. (Or werewolves.) This theme is dead; it may be popular among the kiddies right now, and you may want a piece of that over-baked pie, but seriously, honey, if you ain't got nothing new to add to the goth make-up of your alluringly pale protagonists, just put down the keyboard and back away slowly.

This isn't (only) my personal bias talking. Recently I have been researching horror and speculative fiction literary magazines (through the wonderful resource of duotrope, thank you for asking), and nine out of ten sites make mention of vampires somewhere in their submission guidelines, in the form of DO. NOT. WANT. But they say it much more literarily.

Seriously, people, there are so many other, fresher, less trampled metaphors to be plumbed out there. Mmmm plums. For instance, my story is about a blind girl who sees through the eyes of spiders due to some unspecified magical thingy, who then steals the tongue of another girl in order to stop seeing with said spider eyes (by way of magic, again). It's a metaphor for abusive relationships!

It's true that your idea does not have to be an original one (we're running out of those...maybe?), but the spin you put on it, the style with which you write it, the voice in which you tell it, the characters you move through it - those things have to be unique in order to get noticed. My philosophy is, write what you want to read. I haven't seen many stories about sense-swapping teenage lesbians and magical doors to magictown in mainstream fiction (I haven't seen many teenage lesbians in mainstream fiction, period), so I decided to write my own. (You wake up in the middle of the night with a craving for creepy blind girls, what else are you gonna do but write it yourself. ...What? We all have needs.)


1. Joss Whedon. Look, my unhealthy obsession with Buffy the Vampire Slayer not withstanding....oh, who am I kidding, that particular obsession influences everything. Joss Whedon tinkered with vampire mythology and managed to make it broodingly enticing (yes, a little cheeseball too, but like a fine brie, no empty calories). He can do whatever he wants.

2. Fan-fiction. You can write whatever the crap you want on fan fiction boards. Someone will invariably like it, and then ask you to read their slash, and you'll be all "what is sla--ohdeargodwhyareEdwardandAngelDOINGTHAT!!?!" But it's cool. (Angel is the top in this scenerio, obvs.)

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