Thursday, April 16, 2015

Please Don't Write About These Don'ts {A Guide for Fiction Writers}

A Naga

A debate-ish popped up today about editors' proclamations. Editors of small journals which publish fiction. In addition to always and not originally stating, "Send us your best," as if writers knowingly send their crap, their fails, their uglies, an editor, one in particular, was called out for his proclamation, his warnings in his journal's Call for Work.  This particular fellow isn't so bad. But comments, mainly from men, defending him are (so bad).  It's an old battle, ongoing and never very interesting, the battle being the "don'ts" of plot. A woman instigated the debate. I suppose that's why the fellows chimed in.

One comment was only Kafka could write about the creature/human transformation. Whew! He got in under the wire. I thought the cutting off point was Shakespeare. I thought the real cutting off point was Ovid. I guess cause Satan isn't an animal, Goethe was safe.

Listen to me and listen hard. No one is to write a fairy tale. No one is to read the Hans Christian Anderson or Angela Carter. You might be inspired. O fie on thee, writer, inspired by great writing.

Some other don'ts include:

Don't write about star-crossed lovers, or lovers who have any problems at all.
Don't write about adultery.
Or gambling. Or driving, hitchhiking, or walking.
Don't write about men who hate their father.
Don't write about daughters with overbearing mothers.
Don't write about the experience of being a soldier at war.
Don't write about the experience of being a citizen in a country at war.
Just leave the whole war thing alone.
Don't write about revenge, abduction, or molestation. Who cares?
Don't write about being a Jew.
Don't write about being a Catholic.
Hey, Protestants, Buddhists, Muslims, and Hindus. Don't bother.
I'm on the line about atheists and agnostics.
Don't write about the absurdity of the academy.
Nothing there of interest and definitely nothing humorous.
Don't write about being a misfit teenager.
Don't write about a deformity, imaginary or real.
Don't write about poverty.
Don't write about Brooklyn.
Don't write about wealth.
Don't write about Boston, New York or Americans who travel abroad (wealthy or not, for adventure, or with drugs).
Don't write about crime, be it true or false.
I beg of thee. No stories in which someone is murdered and a detective, official or quaint, solves the crime.
Please. No stories of injustice. No children born out of wedlock. No working class heroes. No war heroes. No heroines. No-I mean NO-stories of orphans who are adopted, abused, sent to dreadful schools.
Don't set your story in New Orleans. Or Texas or New Mexico. Or Oregon. Which reminds me:
No stories about institutions caring for or warehousing the mentally ill.

The above is a short list.

 Of course, be warned, publishers of journals. The quiet, open-minded, modest editors will end up publishing the best - original writing which steals from the finest. Theft in art? Always a plus.
*The Nagas were mythical beings who could transform from man or woman to snake. They were a separate species from humans and lived in their own secret cities deep in the jungle. Often worshipped as gods in the early days, they eventually ended up as minor parts of both the Hindu and Buddhist religions. For more see:  The Naga

Sunday, April 5, 2015

I'm Posting Two-Word Reviews on Goodreads

Art by: Hikaru Cho. See below for her website and a short bio.

Hello to Anyone Interested.

I stopped reviewing formally last year, for many reasons none of which I will delineate here. But I just realized I could keep a list of what I've read on Goodreads, a platform I'd abandoned. So now I am posting two-word (or a few more) reviews of books. Right now, of books I've read in the past few months.  And although in some cases I write "good poet," the fuller meaning would be "I enjoyed reading this collection written by a good poet, and I have indeed read the book and am not simply claiming to have read same." There are even fuller-er meanings but you'll have to buy me a glass of wine to hear those.

Love to Reads & Poets & All Writers,

Sarah Sarai
I'm on Goodreads under the pseudonym, Sarah Sarai, ha ha.

Hikaru Cho. Her website: and from that website a brief bio:
Born in 1993/3/29 Currently living in Tokyo Japan. taking "UNUSUAL" as a theme of her creation and creating Art work such as Body painting, stopmotion movie, illustration, clay sculpture, clothing design, Character design, and all sorts. Also do collaboration with several cloth brands. She is now a student in Musashino Art university.
2012年 武蔵野美術大学 視覚伝達デザイン学科に入学。
UNUSUAL(非日常)ARTをテーマに掲げ、体にリアルな目や物を描くボディペイントや衣服のデザイン、イラスト、立体、映像作品などを制作。衣服ブランドMelantrick Hemlight,タイツブランドtokoneとのコラボレーションや、ポスター、スマートフォン向けアプリのイラストやキャラクターグッズのデザインも行っている。