Tuesday, October 16, 2007

Butcher Shop Quartet: Volume 2

  • Editor(s): Frank J. Hutton
  • Pay rate: 1 1/2¢ / word to pro rates (for pros)
  • Deadline: 31 January 2008
  • Submission Guidelines: www.cuttingblock.net
NOTE: Horror author D.L. Snell conducted the following interview to give writers a better idea of what the editors of this specific market are seeking; however, most editors are open to ideas outside of the preferences discussed here, as long as they fit the basic submission guidelines.


1) What authors do you enjoy and what is it about their writing that intrigues you?

Vidal, Lovecraft, Kafka and Maclean, though any kind of a "favorites" list is necessarily incomplete, as I read different things for different reasons.

Gore Vidal is the great American essayist of the 20th Century. Lovecraft was perhaps the master of atmospherics. No matter that he never rubbed two adjectives together when six would do, they all somehow add up to a mountain of authentic dread. Kafka makes me laugh more than any other writer. And though Norman Maclean completed only a single book, he’s something of the anti-Lovecraft in that he packed more weight into fewer perfectly chosen simple words than anyone I know of.

2) What are your favorite genres? Which of these genres would you like to see incorporated into submissions to this market?
The only genre’ I’ve a personal investment in is horror, in all its guises. No need to break it down into subgenres or cousins twice removed, as it’s the most elastic and inclusive of all, beholden only to what we can imagine. Too many who write to it fail to take full advantage of the creative liberties that horror represents.

Often times the finest work either amplifies or defies the restrictions of its genre’. Writers who do that successfully are among those who push past expectation and achieve a thing of lasting value.

3) What settings most intrigue you? Ordinary or exotic locales? Real or fantasy? Past, present, or future?
Doesn’t matter. The first things I look for in fiction are what can’t be edited in: authenticity and what I call “juice,” that electric sense that transports a reader to a place of the author’s invention. Anything intriguing in a story flows organically from those two things, or not at all.

4) Explain the type of pacing you enjoy, e.g. slow building to fast, fast throughout, etc.
Please see #3.

5) What type of characters appeal to you the most? Any examples?
Conflict is the essence of drama, so conflicted, as we all sometimes are. The fact that the main character is so splendidly created was what allowed us to publish Chris Reed’s “Drool” in Tattered Souls. Especially true in genre’ work, authors have a tendency to pull from a list of cardboard figures and run them through expected paces toward some inevitable end. That rarely works for me.

6) Horror and violence can be blatant a la Romero, or suggestive a la Hitchcock. Which one do you prefer and why?
Execution is everything and when accomplished with excellence, I’ll take either sort. The real gig that drives outstanding horror is provocation, of one sort or the other.

That said, torture porn seems to me a miserable dead end for the genre’. Creatives in horror would do well to remember that grisly death is often the least miserable way out, especially when contrasted with the other, more diverse and malign fates we can conjure up.

7) In fiction and in life, what do you find most horrific?
Life is chock full of horror--or not, depending upon how you take it. Let’s just say that I find corruption of all sorts most interesting, in both fiction and in real life.

8) What are the top three things submitters to this market should avoid?
Uninspired prose. Any Lovecraft pastiche that includes specific Mythos references. Plots that turn upon writers, horror geeks or foolish young men being sent off on dark adventures to get their just desserts.

9) What are your top three pet peeves as an editor?
Hannibal Lector, Buffy the Vampire Slayer and the multitude of writers who apparently believe that if they can spin the unique essence and wit of either of those two franchises just a bit (or worse, combine the two), their job as an author is done.

10) What quality are you seeking most in submissions to this market?
From the inception of Cutting Block Press, Mr. Boyd Harris made a commitment to present original work of only the highest caliber and to treat authors with the creative and professional respect that they deserve. For the “Butcher Shop” imprint, we challenge authors to employ the expanse of the novella form to seriously disturb the reader. At the same time we remind them that we don’t disturb easily. Derivative ideas, familiar parlor tricks or some perversity propped up by hollow prose won’t cut it, but authentic dread caught and held by strong craft will.

11) Any last advice for submitters to this market?
Follow our guidelines. Send only your very best work. If you’ve got a piece sitting in a drawer because you think it’s too daring to be published, send it to us.

Aim really high. We are.

D.L. Snell is an Affiliate member of the Horror Writers Association, a graduate of Pacific University's Creative Writing program, and an editor for Permuted Press. Snell's first novel, ROSES OF BLOOD ON BARBWIRE VINES, pits vampires against mutating zombies in a post-apocalyptic setting. David Moody, author of the Autumn series, calls it "violent and visceral...beautiful and erotic," and Jonathan Maberry, author of Ghost Road Blues, says, "[I]t has all the ingredients needed to satisfy even the most jaded fan of horror fiction." For more information and to read sample chapters, visit Exit66.net.

This article may be freely reprinted in any e-zine, newsletter, newspaper, magazine, website, etc. as long as all links and this message remain intact, as well as Snell's byline and bio. The formatting may be adjusted to fit the venue, but the content of the article must not be altered without written permission from D.L. Snell.

1 comment:

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