Sunday, June 22, 2008

Slush and Punishment: We Have Decided Not to Publish Your Steaming Pile of S***

Last year, about this time, I ran a series of posts called "Slush and Punishment" which were as close as I could ethically come to showing you real examples of the darkness that lurks in the heart of slush. The point being, This Is Your Competition. Not your competition in terms of getting published, of course, because I would rather eat nails than inflict stuff like this on children. But your competition for editors' time and attention... which is why it's so hard to get an editor's time and attention. Go forth armed with the truth.

In that fine (if not very long) tradition:

Little Poo is terrified and alone after the horrific natural disaster called BM washes him up in a strange place known only as "sewer". How will the brave Little Poo find his way home?
I'm throwing this away, but I feel unexpectedly bad for the trash basket.

24 comments:

Anonymous said...

What makes me shiver the most is that according to the internal logic of a fulfilling story arc, eventually Little Poo *will* find his way home...

Editorial Anonymous said...

Yes, that is the horror.

Harv said...

I used to think EA was making these up, or at least exaggerating the truth about how awful the slush is. Then I got a job in a publishing house. Oh mercy me.

Who'd have guessed that English Lit. degree would lead to so much (almost, though alas not entirely) indirect contact with "The Crazies". Run away!

emeraldcite said...

I'm curious how it all ends up for Little Poo.

Editorial Anonymous said...

Flushed.

Nancy Matson said...

This is the inevitable dark side of the success of books like Everybody Poops, kind of like the way Bob Marley paved the way for all the bad reggae that followed.

ae said...

My thoughts go with the editors who read this poo poo while having lunch. Chinese comes to mind. Ick.

Merry Monteleone said...

Wow, there's actually an author out there for whom the critique, "You write like s***!" would be a ringing endorsement of her character building skills...

ack... you know I've often thought I'd love your job - I might have to rethink that position.

Colorado Writer said...

Poor Poo.

ChrisEldin said...

Don't know whether to laugh or cry.

LindaBudz said...

"Horrific natural disaster?" This guy/gal could take "anal retentive" to whole new levels.

Anonymous said...

This takes potty humor to a whole new level. Except it isn't funny.

On another note, periods and commas go inside the quotation marks, even when quoting a title or a quote. Periods and commas go inside the inside quotation marks, and then put the outside quotation marks. I thought that maybe the punctuation rules had changed on me through the years. This seems to be so common anymore, so I had to check on it. No, the rules haven't changed. People are just not following the rules.

Since we're on the subject of being anal, I thought I'd mention that.

christine tripp said...

What makes me shiver the most is that according to the internal logic of a fulfilling story arc, eventually Little Poo *will* find his way home...


As all little Poo's and little Pee's do, they get back home via the kitchen faucet, in one diluted, chlorinated way or another. Ah, the circle of life is complete. Of course, it's not as happy an outcome (pardon the pun) for little Country Poo, sewers hold the hope of a light at the end of the tunnel, concrete septic tanks... not so much:(

It's not so much she/he writes LIKE shit but that the WRITE SHIT:)

Anonymous said...

Anon 12:41 must be an editor. Because I once had a book editor that made the same type of snotty, superior comments about my work. Easy to nitpick others, much harder to do the work that a blog (or ms.) takes.

Let it go, for heaven's sake. The blog isn't being published.

Just_Me said...

(stares in horror at the sample)

Really? Really???? Oh. Dear.

Some things just don't need to be written. This, I feel, is one of them.

Deirdre Mundy said...

I think this book would be horribly upsetting to children.

First, they sympathize with the little lost poop. Then he's "killed" by huge doses of chemicals at the sewage treatment plant. Talk about nightmares...

And with a not fully trained kid, you'd probably scare them off from the potty forever....

"No, Mommy No! I don't want my little poo too die!!!!!!"

Or, alternatively (with the circle-of-life theory)

"Ewwww.... you're making my Orange Juice with poopy water!!!!!!"

Would the book come with a 25% off coupon for the ensuing therapy? =)

Anonymous said...

If we really want to be sticklers about punctuation, we should point out that the "inside quotes" rule is only hard and fast in North America. In Britain, the rules change depending on whether the punctuation "belongs" to the material in quotes, or to the sentence as a whole. So, from an international perspective, the post is totally correct. From a big picture perspective, doesn't the punctuation debate kind of miss the point of the post?

Big Momma Pimpalishisness said...

HA! Natural disaster!

Anonymous said...

deirdre mundy's comment made me laugh out loud. Hilarious.

As for Anon 8:19 PM comment about snotty, superior comments about punctuation, that's not how I meant it. Often the intention/tone is taken wrong and doesn't come across in writing. It's not just blogs where I see the wrong punctuation with quotation marks. I see it ALL THE TIME, and that's why I was wondering, what the heck, did they change the rules?
I had to check Strunk & White again.

But thank you Anon. 12:41 for clarifying about the different rules of punctuation used in Britain. That explains a lot.

And, yes, of course the punctuation debate misses the whole point of the posting, but, hey, since the blog touched on being anal, I thought I'd be a little stinker. My bad.

Anonymous said...

This story is out of this world, like something from Uranus. Wild!

Kelsey said...

Having been a slush pile reader, I can totally sympathize. So many submissions are just horrifying. It really makes you wonder about people.

Anonymous said...

I am a children's librarian and what I find most amazing is how much crap actually manages to get published. I see it every day, and wonder what the editor was on when he accepted the ms.
I don't wonder about lousy books by people who are well known. You know their books hit the shelves because their name sells it.
What is sad is that children are fed this garbage - and then we wonder why they don't like to read.

EJ McKenna. said...

Scarily enough, a family member tried to get me to write something like this after a nephew said 'bye-bye poo, have a lovely adventure'.

*shudder*

shoppista said...

*shudder*

Surely the last thing a potty-training child needs is a complex about poo possibly trying to climb back inside? That is the logical endpoint of a story about poo finding its way back home, right?