As a writer, I am forced to pidgeon-hole my work.  My words must fit within certain parameters to even be considered by lit mags (ebook publishers are, thank goodness, much more open-minded in terms of genre).

The problem with gothic fiction is:

  • It’s not necessarily horror.
  • It’s not necessarily paranormal.
  • It may or may not have romance, mystery, or suspense thrown in.
  • It may or may not also be fantasy, or sci-fi.

Gothic fiction is, a pile of contrasts.  And while gothic stories are popular (for instance, this is the fifth time “Darkness Cornered” and the third time “A Slip of Wormwood” have topped the Fictionwise rankings), magazine editors get really picky about stories fitting into their perceptions of “what works.”

(I especially hate it when I go to a magazine’s submission page and there’s at least two printed pages worth of “Do not bother sendings stories with ______ in them” lists.  Have an open mind, guys.  Just because it’s been done before doesn’t mean others couldn’t do it better [and I’m not referring to myself, either].)

It makes it really difficult to find homes for stories that are a bit too short for the ebook market.

Of course, I’m not going to change what I write, just to fit in with what’s selling.  I like my ghosts, my vampires, werewolves, my necromancers and gargoyles and zombies too much.

But it is a frustration.  I don’t want to pidgeon-hole my work.  It is what it is, and I’m not going to change that.

Maybe I should start my own magazine…..


2 thoughts on “the problem with 'gothic'

  1. That’s a brilliant idea! You would be a wonderful editor and chief. Not to mention, giving others a place to publish their works that are like yours, (Not the standard, or don’t fit into their molds). Or even, those that fit into more than one category. There is nothing wrong with your writing. You are a very talented story teller and the editors of those magazines should consider your works, even if they are too short, or not quite the norm, etc. I can imagine you would be swamped with work if you started your own online magazine. There must be tons of writers, just like you, that run into that same sort of problem when submitting thier works.
    There is one other option, and that is to just store the “Out of the Ordinary” stories until a day when you can put a bunch together in a group of shorts book. It never hurts to “save some for a rainy day”, so to speak.

  2. 🙂 I’ll probably end up just hanging onto my unusual stuff until such a time as someone wants it for something — with as busy as I seem to be lately, I highly doubt I could start up and run a webzine, and do it justice.

    But, someday, maybe, when I’m rich and famous (tee hee hee)….

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