Not So Common

17 Jul

I have just been reading a magazine’s list of ‘plots we see too often’ and, as with reading lists of SF  or fantasy cliches, I realise that a) I must have some knack for avoiding such things and b) for cliches, I seldom see them in the submissions I receive. Of course, what the magazine really meant (it was indicated obliquely at times) was that these were plots that they received a lot that were usually badly (ie obviously or simply) written, or where an interesting plot element became the basis of the entire plot. Essentially, it’s a variation of what I wrote in an earlier post on here – there’s no such thing as bad writing, only writing that is misaimed; in this case, the writers have either sent their story to the wrong publisher or they have taken what could have been a good idea and failed to develop it properly.

But, at the same time, I did find myself thinking that, if you are receiving a lot of stories of a certain sort, perhaps that is the sort of story people want to see? Of course, when it comes to small presses, publication decisions are usually driven far more by what the editor likes than commercial concerns – it doesn’t matter if the world has gone mad for vampire romances, if you hate them, you can ignore them. Still, it does make me wonder if there are any editors out there who have ever considered taking a look at such lists and basing anthologies around entries. They’d certainly be guaranteed submissions (although not necessarily good ones!) and, if lots of people want to write about a specific idea, you would assume that there will be plenty of readers. If anyone decides to make an attempt, let me know how it goes, I’d be fascinated to hear!


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