Wednesday, April 14, 2010

Submissions Hall of Shame

by Raelene Gorlinsky

Some writers are hesitant to submit their work to an editor or agent because they aren't sure if their writing is "good enough" to ask someone to look at. Well, if you ever feel like that, you can perk yourself up by seeing the REALLY BAD stuff that some people submit. Several years ago, our editors compiled a "worst of the worst submissions" list. Believe me, none of you reading this blog could do worse. Pity the poor editors who have to look at this stuff.

~ Aack! Thirteen-year-old boy gets drunk, has sex with his four adult aunts, gets them all pregnant. By the time he is 17, he's fathered seven children. Author stated this is the first in a four-book series about the "hero's" life. Claimed it was an important psychological study of the development of the male psyche.

~ OMG! Futuristic post-Armageddon Earth. Chapter One contains a murdered, mutiliated baby, evil beastmen sodomizing and slaughtering villagers. Graphic violence, no romance, no 'good' sex. Why was this submitted as an erotic romance?

~ Historical with gang-rape of captured women. Sixteen-year-old heroine gets sexual turn-on from rape. Suggest writer look up "sensual" and "erotic" in dictionary; this story is neither.

~ A lovely, uplifting story of an escaped prisoner, the family he takes refuge with (all of whom he eventually kills), and the woman who loves him enough to commit murder and suicide at the end of the book so they can be together forever.

~ Where to begin? Hmm, maybe with the gratuitous rape of the 'bad guys', or the death scene that involves a stabbing in the crotch, or the utterly cliche and offensive Southern characterizations.

~ First person fan fiction featuring Nintendo characters. Umm, "romance"?

~ Historical romance based on the Iliad, featuring spankings and rape. Very boring. Neat trick to be able to write boring rape and spanking scenes.

~ Paranormal contemporary tale about a selkie. Basically the sex life of seals--Aesop's Fable meets National Geographic special.

~ Story told in first person by dying serial killer. Describes his first murder--of his best friend by cutting off his penis and slashing his throat--then pinning the murder on the new kid in town.

~ Ick, ick, ick! Hero and heroine marry when she is three years old. Hero actually gets turned on at one point by child bride. Typical dialogue from husband to wife: "Suck it, bitch!" I don't think so.

~ A cheery story about a cheating husband who kills himself at the end of the book. (Well, okay, maybe that counts as a HEA for the wife.)

~ Secret baby! Hero who can't make a commitment, heroine who learns that "love is letting go"! "Heated kisses:, "ultimate jewel in the orb of happiness". Her cute widdle doggie gets a bwoken tail. Need I go on? Did the author miss any cliches or chances for purple prose?


Anonymous said...

I'm dying to know the genders of the submitters. At the risk of sounding woefully sexist, I'm betting most are men. I'm also dying to know how many are card-carrying members of ASSS, the American Society of Sensual Sociopaths.

Stacy McKitrick said...

Truly horrible. Thanks for the uplift!

Lanna Kaye said...

I think I need to go throw up now. How do you guys stomach viewing such trash? I think someone from their local police departments needs to do a drive by or something. sheesh...

Ms Snarky Pants said...

Ewwww some of those are so awful! Like so awful I might feel obliged to offer the submitters the advice that they should seek therapy!


Well just let me say this. While it may not be our cup of tea, tequila or anything remotely near to making us drunk enough to view this, there are people who like this sort of stuff. If you don’t believe me, just look at your movies. CAN YOU SAY SHOCK VALUE?
Silence of the lambs.. A man killing women and using their skin as a suit, eating brains with FAVA Beans?
How about any of the slasher movies, Nightmare on Elm street, any of the HILLS HAVE EYES oldies and remakes (YUCK!) Would you believe that there was a Texas Chainsaw Massacre movies starring Matthew McConaughey, (it was awful).
Rape as titillation? I don’t think so, but historically when women did not a have a choice (slavery is one instance) it was an enduring torturous life. If you don’t believe me just watch the Starz version of Spartacus. I am no prude but I have never seen so much gratuitous sex since the Devil in Miss Jones.
Back in the day the only thing a Vampire did was suck on a girls neck. The sexual yearning was implied never shown, that was until Frank Langella (on and off Broadway). After that Vamps were doing the belly bump, then of course Vampire Sonia and Lucian the werewolf in the Rise of the Lycans.
People are just seeing how far they can go for shock value no matter how disgusting it is. It also makes me think that some of them need some serious help. Sorry Editors had to endure the torturous reads
Just my two cents.

Angelia Sparrow said...

Storidiva, it was liver with fava beans and a nice chianti. 8) And Dracula is fairly pornographic by Victorian standards. Dracula was when the vampire became an STD metaphor instead of a plague metaphor. And Chris Lee did up his share of bosomy virgins in filmy night dresses in the old Hammer movies, well before Langella.

But the capsule summaries don't really do justice to the stories. I mean, one of my recent ones started with a youth killing his incestuous father and burying him in the old privy hole, to celebrate his 16th birthday. It progresses through conjoined twins, hermaphrodites, piercing, fire play and buzz-saw penises.

Sad to say, at 16-24, I would have found the Historical a big turn on. And spanking? boring. Especially too much of it.

Angelia Sparrow said...

Also, Storidiva, I totally agree with you on Spartacus. Wonderful, wasn't it? (yes, I know you said gratuitous)

Lucy Lawless naked was a religious experience.

My verification word is caloti. Er no, no calots in my erotica. (they're a type of Martian dog with six legs and nasty fangs)

Rena Marks said...

Apparently they're all striving for the "cutting edge" story that's different from anything else out there.

Technically, each of those writers did it. But why would ya?

Barbara Elsborg said...

I'm really disappointed now because it's clear you won't want my wonderful story of the three-breasted woman who falls in love with her donkey - impressed by the fifth limb - whose life suffers a downward turn when she finds her beloved has been served on a platter to the local mayor who thinks eating a donkey's fifth limb will enhance his own miserable appendage.I feel this will appeal to all readers, of any age or sex, even these nice men in white coats who look after m.

Desiree Holt said...

OMG! It's scary to think what really goes on in the minds of people who not only write this klind of stuff but actually think it's a romance. I wonder what their daily lives are like. I hoe I never meet any of them in a dark alley!

ECPI Editors said...

Barbara, we did seriously consider your submission, but eventually had to concede that the animal rights people would get after us, so we regretfully had to pass on it.


Regina Carlysle said...

Barbara....ewwwww. LMAO.