Sunday, March 19, 2006

Which Leaves

A friend points out the F.A.Q. on the Comma Press website, including "what kind of stories Comma are NOT looking for." I usually hate prescriptiveness ("write to a theme", "we don't want genre") but this is David Eggars-ish in its comprehensive listiness (is that a word?) -: I get the feeling that once they got started they really went for it. I love the last one " If you’re a female writer: writing about ‘going mad 4 a bit and having lots of dangerous sex with unwholesome types’." You can see them going through the pile. "Oh God, another mad woman having dangerous sex with unwholesome types." Wonderful. I might put it in a spreadsheet and analyse every story I write against it. In fact any story ever. It's so much better than that dumb New Puritan "don't do" list of a few years ago. My own "don't do" list was previously "don't use the word Fuck on the first page, cos every novel that does that is rubbish" and (Kingsley Amis gave me this one, albeit through the pages of "The Kings English") "don't start adjacent paragraphs with the same word unless you meant to." And that was about it. But now I've really got something to work on. Watch this space!

1 comment:

Maassive said...

This is one of the best "don't" lists I've ever read, probably written by Gary Lutz, for the 5 Trope submission page (

"On this continuous occasion of our expansion, herewith a cautionary note to prospective submitters and a reassurance to the growing ranks of our readers: nothing delights us as much as splashing about in a slush pile or having the daylights knocked out of us by anything wonderworthy missiled over our transom. Things we're less keen about include dumbed-down postmodernism, stupor-realism, hobby-hour slipslop, flashcard fiction, workshop outtakes, scissored-and-mucilaged scraps from daybooks, lawless lengths of kaffee-klatsch verse, bed-lamped jottings, writing-programmese, playtime speech-stunts, words filliped randomwise onto the screeny page, or "creative writing" (the very phrase puts us in a foul mood). Before submitting work to 5_Trope, have a look at the work on exhibit in our current and previous issues. Then come to us with the unnerving, the uncompromised, the unexampled, the unpredictable, and the spankingly unprecedented."