I have previously discussed my plan to try to get my short story, The Swap, published before I try to get any of my novels published. The idea was that having some success on a smaller scale is worth the time and effort in order to make myself more appealing to sales-minded literary agents on a bigger scale.
As expected, I have been met with some rejection but the most recent one actually gave me personalized feedback, as opposed to a generic rejection letter e.g “Thanks for sending us… We will have to pass.”
In this feedback the editor says the pacing was an issue, and then also says the writing was too “on the nose”.
Now, perhaps I have some work to do on the pacing. The comment about the writing being too one the nose interested me though. The short story was inspired by a previous blog post, where I argued that getting racists or racism apologists to swap bodies with a black person would be the only way to make people see that our world is not colour-blind.
In my story, Jason Byrd volunteers to have his mind implanted in a black man’s for six months, in return for a $200,000 payday if he doesn’t feel like his new skin gets him treated negatively. I am thinking the editor’s comments apply to Byrd’s internal monologues, where he lashes out at social justice warriors, political correctness etc.
The thing is, that is how the new breed of racists talk. They take any opportunity to share their bitterness and resentment with an audience, especially an online audience that allows them to hide behind distance and anonymity.
Look at this blog post as an example, where two videos that have nothing to do with feminism lead to some disgruntled man getting triggered and seeing an opportunity to vent.
A scene with a female character in it leads someone to give praise to the series for not having “feminazi bullshit” in it.
“Deborah Ann Woll is so beautiful and talented. The female characters in this show are some of the best I’ve seen in a long time. No feminazi bullshit, no pandering, no SJW nonsense, just all normal, strong, believable women characters that didn’t make me feel like I was watching a show created by tumblr. I loved Karen and Madani in this show (Madani started off annoying until around episode 4 though.) This show is just so well done. There’s some cheesy writing here and there, some flat jokes, but shit, nothing is perfect. I’m stoked for season 2.”
Another scene with two female extras leads to a rant on woman not being good fighters.
“This is such a bullshit scene LOL I laughed out loud there’s no less than two women in that crowd. There is not a single civilian contracted mercenary group that would ever hire women for combat. Sjw’s and stupidity may have forced the US Army to allow women into combat but civilians don’t have to and most people that own their own businesses are smart enough to know simple facts of life. Simple facts such as women are ineffective in combat and if you don’t believe that look at any stats from the US military’s physical Fitness tests. Without fail the ratio of men passing these tests to women passing these tests are ten-to-one one across-the-board. They are not built for combat there’s nothing sexist about that it’s simple fact men are Fighters they are built to be that way women are not.”
As much as bigots complain about everyone being “offended by everything” nowadays, the bigots reveal their own insecurities and fears when they let small instances of minority representation get under their skin. They reveal that they are the ones whose minds are always circling with thoughts of victimhood. You can argue that online forums would give a more concentrated dose of this thought process, but anonymity just allows people to truly be themselves. It can also further polarize people since many online users seek out information that already supports their worldview (the selective exposure thesis). However, polarized online thoughts do eventually translate to polarized internal thoughts. Hence Jason Byrd’s diatribes against the world around him. On the nose? Maybe. Accurate? Definitely.
With that said, I am not saying my writing is perfect. Maybe I still drive the point home too bluntly, but for now I am moving on to another short story. I’ll be turning The Doctor into a short story, aiming for about 5,000 words this time since that seems to be the lower end of the accepted spectrum. However, I’ll just write what I feel and see where it gets me.