When I first started this blog, I had some fews and far-betweens checking it out. Now I have a few mores and closer-betweens. That’s progress. I think the reason for this progress is because of something that a lot of these people have said to me at one time or another: it’s funny.
I like that. Humor brings people together. There are several people that are looking at this blog that aren’t even writers (well, they are literate, but that’s only so they can enjoy some of my content, like the words). They aren’t looking to take rejection letters on their ideas like punches to the face or fight the slush piles of editors around the world. They look at this blog because I let my participle dangle. I take this crazy world of steaming hot rejection, near misses, and seldom heard victory cries and make it enjoyable to others. That’s something to be proud of.
What ain’t funny is the state of the short story industry. I did a Duotrope search on “Science Fiction”, “Fantasy” and “Humorous” markets that offer pro pay. No other filters like story length (it could be a novel or twitter fiction) or submission type was applied. Seven markets came back. Of those, three were for kids: Cicada, Cricket and Spider.
So you’re telling me that if I write something clever, humorous and all around fun for adults I got all of four markets that will pay a pro rate for it? Word?
I write across the spectrum. I have some horror stories, dark fantasy, feel good science fiction and I’ve crossed a couple of genres up like scifi-mystery and fantasy-noir. But overall, I like to stay upbeat, not yelling my angst in a sea of voices also yelling angst. But it’s like most major publishing sites are only looking for dystopian or dark tales like the whole world is a dimly lit French art house that’s smoggy with cigarette smoke while a black and white movie flickers on the wall. Le weep. Le sigh. Le fin.
They can all suck my dangling participle.
Humor’s hard to write. Question: when’s the last time you read something and laughed out loud? It’s not something that happens often. Hell, I’ve seen some standup that I don’t laugh once at, and those guys have voice inflexion, facial expressions, props, and a semi-drunk audience to go along with their words. All I get is text editor, man! Still, I manage to get a laugh or two. Sometimes three.
Publishers are so busy trying to find stories that examine the human condition they’re neglecting the fun and absurdities that lie in that condition. People and stories take themselves too seriously sometimes. A writer has to write, and more so has to write what inspires them. So I have to joke on Force rape babies. And tell you that vampires are gay. And show you goblins trying to get their hustle up. It’s what I do.
This is an open ended rant. Ultimately, I know that industries are slow to change until change is forced upon them. Change happens at the roots, which is folks like me writing stuff like this. Until then, I’ll be selling these comedies for one-fourth of a cent per word or less. That’s also change… the kind you save up to buy a Coke with.