Vegetables? VEGETABLES?!?!?

Out-of-the-blue-rant time! A rant about … vegetables? No, don’t worry. This does have something to do with writing.

Brave souls may click below to proceed. …

Okay, En Prise was submitted about a year ago. I didn’t even receive a rejection letter or a notice or anything. That’s fine, I guess. I sent out a copy to myself (for copyright reasons) and a copy to the magazine. I received my copy just fine, so I assumed they received a copy, too. But for all I knew, it could’ve been deep in Amish country being bartered for wedges of cheese.

So I moved on. I was careful not to send out En Prise to any other publications for an entire year, just-in-case. Because there was always that tiny glimmer of hope that when the Sci-Fi/Fantasy issue came out, my story could be there… After all, no news is good news, right?

So the other day, the issue arrived in the mail. I open it up.

I’ll break the suspense right now: I didn’t place or get an honorable mention or anything. And that’s to be expected. But I was excited, anyway. Excited that I was about to read some award-winning Fantasy & Sci-Fi short stories.

And maybe I could learn from these stories, maybe I could sharpen my skills and better my own short stories, making them more competition-worthy by studying the ones that kicked my arse?

I eagerly flip to the contest section. And First Place went to a Sci-Fi piece. So I get to reading it. It’s a story about … a modern day retired healthcare researcher? Sure, okay.

Paragraph after paragraph, this story’s boring me to tears. Then I realize: En Prise was beaten by a story about an old depressed guy with marital problems that talks about vegetables! Even the title of the story is – literally – a vegetable.

I double-check. Yes, yes—there it is in black and white: Science Fiction/Fantasy FIRST PRIZE.

Okay… So I continue to read, clinging on the hope that his profession might—you know—lead into something more interesting happening.

But it’s not. So I figure I’m missing something; some magic the editors saw but I can’t? Or nepotism? (Just kidding.) I mean, it’s well-written and all, but it doesn’t really start where the story starts. And it’s so watered down with trivialities that there’s an entire paragraph devoted to confusing an unimportant side-character’s name. Reading further…Christmas, Easter, combing hair, brushing teeth (Seriously—I’m not making this up. I mean, who devotes considerable page real-estate to ‘brushing teeth’ in a sci-fi short story?), (turning the page)… .a lincoln town car, the Bahamas. … Finally! Paragraph 26, there’s a hint that something kind of interesting and Sci-Fi-related might happen later. But the previous paragraphs didn’t build up to it with any semblance of suspense. Keep in mind this is a short story.

Nine more paragraphs and an infodump or two later, I see the words ‘’continued on page 31’. I’m like, “No, thanks.”

I can only guess this story will eventually be about an old guy turning into a vegetable—I dunno? If it were me, this thing would’ve hit the slush by paragraph three. I know people have different tastes, but jeesh.

Maybe print really is dying. I mean, how much of a turn-around did it take just for me to find out whether or not I was published? One year. I’m guessing that with online journals (which now pay better than fiction-print venues anyway), the turn-around is far more tolerable.

Between this and learning about literary terms that don’t even exist, this magazine and I are not on the best of terms. I doubt I’ll be renewing my subscription at this point.

/end rant.

BTW, the other two stories weren’t bad. In fact, the third one was pretty darn good. :D

PS: In case it wasn’t obvious, I’m not really that mad.

5 replies on “Vegetables? VEGETABLES?!?!?

  1. The problem with competitions, or really with any submission, is that the winner gets chosen based on the judge’s taste, and not necessarily based on how good the story is.

    If you get someone who likes that sort of fluff, well…

  2. Well, damn. That blows. :|

    Clearly the judges don’t have good taste? That’s whats disappointing with submissions.. if your story doesn’t fit the taste of a certain judge then it fails. IMHO, they should let random readers be the judge.

    I personally really enjoyed En Prise. :) Must more than I think I would about a vegetable brushing his teeth.

  3. Pingback: Cheque, Mate « RG Sanders

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