Friday, September 14, 2007

Indistinguishable Fiction

The other day, I got one of the most curious rejection letters I've ever seen. This was from a BIG magazine that publishes one story per month in addition to a lot of other content.

In their rejection, they said they want stories that are indistinguishable from the other content in the magazine.

Indistinguishable?

adjective
Not distinguishable, especially:
Impossible to differentiate or tell apart: indistinguishable twins; markings
that make a moth indistinguishable from its background.
Impossible to discern; imperceptible: a sound that was indistinguishable to the human ear.
Difficult to understand or make out; vague: indistinguishable speech.

In art, idistinguishable indicates something that is merely decorative. Motel room paintings. Elevator music.

Since when is indistinguishable a desirable trait for fiction? Is one of the most prestigious markets for short fiction actually looking for stories that blend in with the background?

I'm at a Losfer Words (Big 'Orra).

1 comment:

Debra Leigh said...

This doesn't surprise me. We're in a publishing climate where writers as wonderful as Justin Cronin have to conceal their identity (because, as Justin's agent warned, he is considered "too literary") in order to make "big" sales to "big" publishers.

I just received a rejection note that said, "We encourage you to submit your work to other journals." I wrote back and told them that it was by far the best rejection I'd ever gotten.

DLS