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October 19, 2011 2:26 PM   Subscribe

The Sobering Saga of Myrtle the Manuscript. A cautionary tale.
posted by Think_Long (10 comments total) 2 users marked this as a favorite

 
Neat, I was on GEnie when this was written and I remember this :)
posted by empath at 2:41 PM on October 19, 2011


This is informative, good fun and deserves a second reading.
posted by Joey Michaels at 2:53 PM on October 19, 2011


I think an official slush pile reading party sounds like the height of professionalism. At least compared to the system I am familiar with, where my mother used to point 13-year-old me at the piles and piles and piles of manuscript boxes in her office with instructions to let her know if I came across anything good.
posted by DarlingBri at 3:00 PM on October 19, 2011


After skimming it, there's some good/interesting info here... but the style, blech. But wait! It gets better by the end.
posted by Huck500 at 3:00 PM on October 19, 2011


At least compared to the system I am familiar with, where my mother used to point 13-year-old me at the piles and piles and piles of manuscript boxes in her office with instructions to let her know if I came across anything good.

OK, in my next life I want to be reincarnated as the child of a sci-fi magazine editor.
posted by muddgirl at 3:18 PM on October 19, 2011


Am I the only one who remembers a tale about Marlon Brando placing unsolicited scripts in a freezer and using them as clay pigeons?

Ah! Found it.

Sean Penn told writer Charles Bukowski that Brando put scripts from producers into his freezer, in order to use them as targets in skeet shooting. Brando would take the frozen scripts and have them tossed in the air into the canyon below his home at night, and then proceed to blast them into smithereens with a shotgun while they were on the fly. By freezing the scripts, the pages were stiff and made for better "clay pigeon" substitutes. The practice is mentioned in one of Bukowski's poems. Bukowski also wrote about Brando in his short story "You Kissed Lilly", in which Lilly masturbates while watching Brando in a movie on television. The story is part of the collection "Hot Water Music" (1983).
posted by Splunge at 4:11 PM on October 19, 2011 [2 favorites]


Myrtle the manuscript is in no way fictional - here's one author's tale of spending a decade in the slush pile.
posted by PhoBWanKenobi at 4:57 PM on October 19, 2011 [3 favorites]


Let me just assure you that very little has changed since the switch to digital except that an increasing number of us have no physical offices and are forced to telecommute to our Great Quarterly Slush Kill and Pizza Party.

This part was particularly poignant to me:

Saul Badliver picks up an envelope, takes the story out. It is a very flawed leftover series story by a VERY FAMOUS WRITER WHOSE WORK SELLS TONS AND TONS OF BOOKS. He wants to reject it. He knows the letter alone will kill the better part of the morning. He suspects that more people will buy the magazine because of the VERY FAMOUS WRITER’s name on the cover than will cancel their subscriptions because it’s garbage.

His hand trembles. He puts the manuscript in the KEEP basket to the right, loathing himself for doing so.

posted by 256 at 5:21 PM on October 19, 2011


here's one author's tale of spending a decade in the slush pile.

Wow. I give up after 2 months. Why would you continue to pursue a publisher that is so unprofessional?
posted by smithsmith at 5:25 PM on October 19, 2011


OK, in my next life I want to be reincarnated as the child of a sci-fi magazine editor.

I was on the staff of a literary magazine one year in college. No, you don't. No. Seriously. You don't.
posted by dhartung at 11:38 PM on October 19, 2011


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