Kevin Brennan Writes About What It's Like
More excellent poetry over at The Housewife this morning – “How to Drink Yourself Sober.” You can imagine …
But you know what I’d like to see coming in over the transom? More fiction. I’m a fiction writer, after all. I’m itching to curate on some cutting-edge tales.
Maybe the problem is that not a lot of people are writing what I have in mind. Yet I don’t really think that’s true because much of the flash fiction I see out and about is edgy and boundary-stretching. I remember the thrill I used to feel when a new collection of Donald Barthelme stories came out. I know there must be some absurdists out there, carrying his torch.
But maybe the problem is my length requirements – 1500 words or less. Most of what’s come in so far is more like 2500 to 3000 words. I’m willing to be a bit lenient at this stage of the game, though, so material hovering between 2000 and 2300 can still make the grade.
What I’m afraid of is that with online magazines, readers will scroll down, see a lengthy piece ahead, and promptly bail. One reading-time calculator I found says that it takes almost 17 minutes to read 3000 words. Well, not many folks-on-the-fly are willing to invest 17 minutes on a short story in a brand-new independent literary magazine they’ve never heard of. Are they. But half that’s a might-do. So 1500 words is an ideal target, to my mind.
The other issue, as I mentioned before, is that so much dark stuff is coming in that I’m starting to have ghastly nightmares from reading so much of it. I’d rather see absurd cleverness than shocking darkness. Maybe that’s just me, but hey – I’m the editor!
If you have some offbeat fiction you’re dying to place, and it’s less than 2300 words, send it on over: thedisappointedhousewife(at)gmail(dot)com.