Recommended Reading: The Stories “Strange Horizons” Prefers Not to See

The blogger standing on the bank of the San Juan River in Farmington, NM.
The blogger standing on the bank of the San Juan River in Farmington, NM.

I was searching for a market for one of my stories today, when I came across “Strange Horizons”‘s list of stories they see too often (http://www.strangehorizons.com/guidelines/fiction-common.shtml). This is an interesting and entertaining article on (in my humble opinion) not only the types of fiction that “Strange Horizons”¬†prefers not to see, but also the types of stories not to submit to any quality magazine: the tired, the clich√©d, the preaching, the didactic, the sugary-sweet, the unprofessional, the polemic, the ranting, and the diatribes among a host of others. The list is so extensive, one could almost create a list of the characteristics of good literature by simply listing the antitheses of the types listed here. Yes, this list is oriented toward sci-fi writers, but if one were to replace the sci-fi specific terms with those of another genre, one would have a list of examples of mediocre to poor writing for that genre. Of course, neither this list nor any other can be completely exhaustive of all examples of either good or bad writing, but it would be an interesting mental exercise.

Thoughts? Comments?