OK, I've started and erased this post a couple of times already. I guess I'm just not sure what to write about--I'm more in the mood to vent, rant, whatever. Searching for markets to submit short stories to is exhausting and frustrating. The ones that pay well want very specific types of writing--usually a bit more highbrow than what I write. You know, I was a nerd (ok, punk-nerd) in school, and pretty much stayed the off-beat hybrid of intellectual and down-home girl. I love literary writing to a degree. Symbolism rocks. Really. I love writing that has meaning and a message. The Picture of Dorian Gray, for instance, is one of my favorite novels. (Well, minus the prattling monologues by Lord Henry. If you read that book, just skip whatever he says because it has nothing to do with the actual story.)
But I do not get some of the stuff that passes for writing these days. And I definitely don't get how it's encroaching on formerly intelligent yet lowbrow venues. Literary fantasy? Not like Chronicles of Narnia or Lord of the Rings literary--I'm talking fantasy written like obscure poetry in prose form. There's an online spec-fic magazine I submitted to recently, and I had never read anything in it before. I had only submitted to try and land a pro-pay publication. Well, I decided to check out one of their stories. Holy cow. I felt like I needed to be sitting in a coffee shop wearing all black, while people around me buzzed about how the story so accurately captured the dark plight of humanity, blah, blah, blah.
More like bleh, bleh, bleh.
I just finished Ted Dekker's Boneman's Daughters. THAT book has some great symbolism, and real meaning. And it's written in sentences that actually make sense. And the characters have actual traits. I was sucked into the story, and could actually follow it. (I'd like to know where he'd submit a short story for publication--well, you know, if he were doing so under another name cos you know darn well he'd get published anywhere he put a story the second they saw his name on there!).
Anyway, I'm not against getting away from traditional fantasy. Actually, that type of writing can get boring pretty quick. Only so many ways a land can be threatened by an evil king...oh, yeah, you know the story cos it's been done to death. (Not that it's all bad--Eragon, et al, rocks.) I do think uniqueness is good! But when the writing becomes all about experimentation with sentence structure and there's nothing to connect the reader to the characters...it ends up feeling clinical to me. I guess it all boils down to a quote from When Harry Met Sally..."That doesn't mean you're deep or anything." (I have yet to find a situation where there is no applicable quote from When Harry Met Sally :).
My point? Hm. Not sure I have one. Writing needs to be unique, and insightful, and thought-out. But when the writing is meant to show off the writer's "depth" instead of bringing the reader a really cool experience he/she can get lost in, it's gone too far for me. I don't want mindless drivel either (not mentioning any names here...ahem, Twilight....99.98% of commercial romance novels...), but I want a story that isn't all hacked up to show off the writer's intellect.
OK, I feel a bit better now.
And in case you're wondering, the magazine I mentioned rejected my story. Oh, now there's a shocker :P.