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Seeking Submissions for How to Win at Ultravision: A Strategy Guide for Video Games That Don’t Exist

Bradley Sands will be editing a multi-author anthology called How to Win at Ultravision: A Strategy Guide for Video Games That Don’t Exist. Eraserhead Press will be publishing it. The book is inspired by Jeff Rovin’s How to Win at Nintendo Games and Jorge Luis Borges’ reviews of books that don’t exist.

Submissions are now open. He is looking for mini-strategy guides for games of your own invention. They must be in the range of 1000 words to 5000 words long. Text only. Payment is $10 and a contributor’s copy.

Email submissions to bradleysands@gmail.com.

Here are some links to examples:

A page from How to Win at Nintendo Games

From The Ultimate Game Guide to Life

A piece written by Albie about a game that doesn’t exist (I recommend cutting and pasting it into a MS Word document because it’s otherwise a bit difficult to read)

 

Here is part of Bradley’s pitch for the book. Perhaps it will inspire some of you:

I’m extremely fond of fiction when they’re told in different forms. The earliest example that I can think of is Jorge Luis Borges reviewing books that didn’t exist. This gave him the opportunity to write about a book that he was passionate about without having to devote months or perhaps years to writing them. He was also a prankster, so he would publish the reviews and pretend that the books existed.

A more recent example of telling a story in a different form is in Stephen Graham Jones’ Demon Theory and The Last Final Girl, where Stephen tells stories in the form of screenplays even though they’re intended to be read as novels.

I’ve also done this sort of thing myself. I wrote a story that’s a screenplay for a Rico Slade movie (inspired by my novella) and a story told in the format of a comic script about two giant monsters who are having a tiff about their relationship (while they are destroying the city). In each case, the script’s fictional author is the main character rather than any of the characters that they are “writing” about.

If someone were to actually make a movie using my Rico Slade screenplay, it would be awful. I feel as if telling stories in different forms like this works best when the “fictional” intended product would be a complete failure if it were actually made according to the script without any alterations.

The thing that excites me the most about stories told in different forms is reading a story that has never been told this way before. It’s new and unique even when it’s based on a preexisting form. I see it as continuing the legacy of Borges in the modern era.


The New Bizarro Author Series Seeks Book Submissions

Want to become a part of Eraserhead Press’s New Bizarro Author Series? We are actively seeking submissions and time is quickly running out for this year. The books will make their debut at BizarroCon in mid-November. You can read the detailed submission guidelines here.

We’ve asked our 3 series editors about the kinds of books that they are looking for. This is what they said:

Bradley Sands:

I’m only interested in novellas, so no story collections please. Please keep the books under 30,000 words. Although it specifies that in the guidelines, most of the submissions that I receive are longer.

I like books that focus on language, meaning the author put a lot of effort into writing each sentence. But I don’t like style over substance. Form and content are of equal importance to me.

I have a weakness for books that are related to pop culture and are gimmicky. But a mediocre book with a good gimmick isn’t going to work for me. It needs to be a great book with a great gimmick.

I’m looking for books that use a central high-concept idea: books that can be summed up in a sentence or two. Also, the sentence (or two) should make a potential reader excited about your book and make them want to buy it.

I prefer pitches for unwritten books over full-manuscript submissions. Send me a whole bunch. If I end up liking one, I’ll ask you for a sample of your best writing. I know there isn’t much time left to write an entire book for this year’s series, so if that’s not possible, there’s always next year.

Spike Marlowe:

I’m looking for smart, entertaining, creative stories with strong plots and emotional cores. I want stories that are unique and personal to the author, stories that couldn’t have been written by anyone else. I’m open to looking at all types of bizarro, and am excited about expanding what fits under the bizarro umbrella. I’m especially interested in authors who represent diversity in their identity and within their stories.

Kevin Donihe:

I’m looking for character-driven work in which the oddity feels natural to the story, rather than forced and unnatural to the narrative.


A Talking Eyeball Walks into a Bar: An Introduction to Bizarro Fiction

Bradley Sands is teaching an online class on writing bizarro fiction. It’s for a new lit site called Lit Demon.

In this workshop you will learn to write high-concept bizarro while concentrating on the absurd and the surreal. You will discover what “high concept” means and learn what appeals to bizarro readers. We will study the differences between bizarro and traditional fiction, as well as their similarities. We will discuss characters in bizarro (particularly protagonists), settings, and the relationships between characters and settings. You will be taught to use traditional plot structures in untraditional stories. We will speak about conflict and what protagonists do to solve the problems they face. Do they do this differently than protagonists in other genres? If so, how?

By the time you finish the workshop, you will be able to write a bizarro story that will delight and totally weird out your readers.

Bradley Sands is the author of Rico Slade Will Fucking Kill You, Sorry I Ruined Your Orgy, TV Snorted My Brain, and others. He edits the New Bizarro Author Series for Eraserhead Press. He also works as a freelance editor. Bradley holds an MFA in Writing and Poetics from Naropa University. In the past, he was the editor-in-chief of Bust Down the Door and Eat All the Chickens (A Journal of Absurd and Surreal Fiction), an associate editor for Bombay Gin, and an assistant editor for Weird Tales.

“I would not be published today if it weren’t for Bradley. As a guest teacher in a bizarro workshop, he picked me out and asked for more, and asked for better. He was constantly challenging me to push further and in a short time helped me chisel my writing abilities to a finer point. Bradley was able to not only see gaps in my writings, but was able to push me toward interesting solutions to fill those gaps, not just create bridges. He doesn’t push his own style on you, but helps you realize your own. A fantastic teacher and editor all around.” – Andy de Fonseca, author of The Cheat Code for God Mode


Top 6 Ways to Get Your Stories Rejected

by Bradley Sands

I used to edit a bizarro lit journal called Bust Down the Door and Eat All the Chickens. I’m difficult to impress, so it always took me a long time to find enough stories to fill an issue. Throughout the seven or so years I worked on the journal, I noticed I often rejected submissions over and over again for the same reasons.

6: Stories About a Guy Taking a Shit

I don’t know why this kept happening. Was it only me? Stop. Just stop. It isn’t interesting. It’s stupid. Taking a shit isn’t weird. We all do it. At least I think we all do it. If you don’t, I suggest you see a doctor.

5: Stories About a Guy Who Does a Bunch of Acid and Runs Around Doing Totally Crazy Shit

No one has the least bit of interest in reading this unless they’re already on the acid that you’ve hooked them up with.

4: Submitting Completely Random Shit Unless the Writing is Exquisite

Plot is important to me and the prose is important to me. Give me a story with an engaging plot and incredible writing and I will probably accept it. Give me a story with little to no plot and poor or mediocre writing and I will definitely reject it. Give me a story that’s totally random, freaking hilarious, and incredibly well written and I will definitely accept it. This is my personal taste, so others may not do the same.

3: Submitting a Story That is Too Long or Too Short (and Shit)

The guidelines are there for a reason. Do what they say. If the story is a little long or short, it will probably be fine, but mention it in the submissions email. Otherwise, I may end up assuming you haven’t read the guidelines. You don’t want to make a bad impression on me before I read your story.

2: Submitting Shit Without Reading the Guidelines

Yes, it’s obvious and it’s completely insane when this happens. It takes a minute to read guidelines. It’s there to increase your chances of acceptance and to avoid wasting my time. The problem is that many writers submit to tons of places and don’t care where they are accepted. The only thing that matters is acceptance. I don’t understand this behavior. It’s like flinging your shit against the walls to see where it sticks. Unless people like this change their ways, they’re doomed to either remain unpublished for the rest of their lives or to get published in shitty places where they will never be read.

Even better, read an issue of the journal to familiarize yourself with it before submitting. Editors are aware that you’re probably submitting to lots of places and you may not have the time or money to buy and read an issue from every place that you submit. And that’s okay. This is why there are guidelines for you to read. In the case of my own journal, people didn’t necessarily have to pay money to read an issue because a few of them were available as a free PDF.

1: Submitting a Shitty Story

If the first page or two are bad, I’m not going to give you the benefit of the doubt. I’ll just stop reading.


I’m a Dick

by Bradley Sands

So I was talking to Andersen Prunty in 2008 at a party during the World Horror Convention. I was a little drunk, as people tend to be at conventions. Andersen may or not have been the same.

I looked around the room and said, “I’ve probably rejected stories from almost everyone in this room.” This was back when I was editing the literary journal, Bust Down the Door and Eat All the Chickens.

Andersen said, “Bradley, you’re such a dick.”

Then somehow we decided to put together an online anthology called Bradley Sands is a Dick as a PDF. Every story was required to be titled “Bradley Sands is a Dick.” I would make it available on Bust Down the Door and Eat All the Chicken’s website. And we would have an open submissions call so anyone could have their story considered for it. I assumed there would be very few submissions and the vast majority of the stories would be written by my friends. This was not the case. There were MANY submissions. Around the same amount that I usually received for my literary journal. This may have been because the journal was closed to submissions at the time, although I don’t recall entirely.

So all of a sudden my inbox was being filled up with stories about how I’m a terrible person that were written by complete strangers, none of whom were even close to describing the person who I really am. It made me wonder what their motivation for submitting was. I didn’t think Bradley Sands is a Dick was a publication that an author was likely to use as a credit in their biography. Unless an author had a story concerning a particularly loathsome character and were willing to change the character’s name to my own, they had to make an extra effort to write something that fit the anthology. If their story was rejected, it would have been rather strange to submit it anywhere else unless they changed my name. I found it rather peculiar when I discovered that an audio recording of a rejected story (with its original title still intact) was used for fiction podcast.

There was also no payment offered for the stories, except for a $100 prize for the readers’ favorite one. All of the stories were listed in a poll on some website and readers were supposed to vote for their favorite. Unfortunately, the poll wasn’t set up very well and the winner was able to vote for themselves thousands of times (at least I assumed they did). Since Andersen is a good sport, he still awarded the prize.

A number of bizarro authors submitted stories and had them accepted, including Jordan Krall, Mykle Hansen, Cameron Pierce, and D. Harlan Wilson. Carlton Mellick III performed a story at the first Bizarro Showdown competition during the first BizarroCon and I was the story’s protagonist. It seemed appropriate to ask him if we could use it for our anthology.

Before the anthology came out, Andersen asked me, “Are you sure you want to do this?”

“Yeah, why not?” I responded, not thinking about how each time a potential employer searched my name on Google, a link to the anthology would pop up on the first page.

When the anthology came out, I promoted it on my blog with an entry titled “proof the kids will submit stories to anything these days.”

So listen, writers. Writing is hard. You shouldn’t write a story for an anthology called Bradley Sands is a Dick unless you have a good reason. You shouldn’t submit one of your stories to just anywhere. It’s well and good if story acceptance makes you feel warm and fuzzy inside and motivates you to write more, but you should be trying to achieve more than this with publication. Too often I stumble across an online lit zine that is poorly designed and comes out with a new issue once a week. I wonder what kind of people are submitting to these places—probably the same people who submitted to my anthology.

I know that no one is reading the stories these zines publish besides the editors and a couple of the authors’ friends and families.

Submit to places you are proud to be a part of. Places people read. Places YOU read. Don’t submit to an online anthology with a title that denigrates its own editor, unless you know the person. Or if you think the concept is freaking hilarious.

Regardless, I’m happy with how our anthology turned out.

If you would like to read it, it is available for download here: http://rapidshare.com/files/965010522/bsands.pdf


Rico Slade reviews Survivor: Philippines (Episode 13: “Damn, Man. Those Sweat Pants. Damn.”)

Tonight’s review is brought to you by Rico Slade, who Bradley Sands wrote a book about.

What up? Rico Slade here with a review of last week’s episode of Survivor. I know last night was the season finale, but I don’t give a crap.  You gotta earn a review of the season finale, and you didn’t earn that shit, so you’re gonna just have to read a review of the second to last episode and like it. Or else I’m gonna punch you in the face like I did with this giant Adolf Hitler baby.

I’ve never seen an episode of this show before. I’m a freaking survivor, why do I gotta watch this shit on TV? Like if I wanted to watch a survivor I’d turn on the news and see a hot chick doing a story about my survival tactics: stomping on the dicks of whatever dude gets in the way of me and my Bud Light. Cause humanity can’t last more than 3 hours without shotgunning a cold one.

So I’m watching the opening credits that show all the wimps of the show. And it shows this chick

blair

And I’m all like, holy crap! I banged her in the eighties and she was tasty. But damn! She got old and ugly and shit. And then after the credits are over it shows her again.

What the crap? Don’t remember her being a black lady.

And there’s this chick Abi-Maria who has a really sweet pair of sweat pants cause it makes her ass look as freaking hot as a million dollars. And she’s all like “I didn’t come here to feel bad for people. I came here to win a million dollars.” Which is a pretty awesome strategy, you know? The people who came to the island place cause they want to feel bad for people are gonna lose. There’s no time for feeling bad for people when you’re busy drop-kicking bad dudes in the face.

So the contestants do this physical challenge where they gotta climb shit and . Winner gets a chopper ride to a secret location where they eat pizza. Pretty sweet deal. So this dude named Stupid wins and gets to invite two other people along for the ride. He doesn’t invite the sweat pants chick and she’s all heartbroken about it cause she really likes pizza, which I totally understand cause pizza is da bomb. I’ll admit it cause I’m comfortable with my masculinity: This shit is really sad.

Anyway, this show ain’t half bad cause everybody is shit talking each other when they’re not around, which is kinda cool, and it goes back and forth between shit talking and scenes with the shit talkers being nice to the people who are getting shit on. Which is totally thought provoking cause it provoked thoughts. In my head.

And the episode ends with the contestant people voting who gets kicked off the show. And everyone was scheming to vote some sex therapist off who sex addicts probably go to so her face can turn them off from sex forever. But then the chick with the sexy pants is like, “Stupid, you’re so stupid! A dumb stupid moron dumby head!” Which pisses everyone off and confuses the hell out of me since why is it such a big thing to tell that to a guy named Stupid? So they get pissed and vote her off, guaranteeing there’s no way in fuck I’m watching the finale.

For more TV reviews, go here.


Sons of Anarchy (Season 5, Episode 11: “Highway to Cancellation”)

by Bradley Sands

I’ve been promoting TV Snorted My Brain by doing weekly TV Reviews.  You can find them all here.

Here is a review of this week’s episode of Sons of Anarchy:

Sons of Anarchy is a television show that occurs in an alternate reality that closely resembles the present day where police lack the technology to catch any perpetrators of crimes.

All denizens of this world may travel on motorcycles, but the police do not have such things as fingerprint-nanite powder. Because of this, this episode suffered from a lack of suspense. Although the motorcycle gang, whose members serve as the show’s protagonists, murdered many people, the viewers never worried that they would be apprehended. And since the actors who portray the bikers got first billing during the opening credits, it was obvious they would survive instead of the characters who they shot in the face. Despite its weaknesses, Sons of Anarchy has 1.78 deaths per second, which is equivalent to the world’s current death rate.

I have a message for showrunner, Kurt Sutter, who is obviously reading this:  No one is going to want to watch your show if you make your protagonists freaking invincible. Perhaps the viewers will return to the show during the final scene of the series finale to discover who will be set on fire, but this scenario is the best that you can hope for. Let me give you some advice: Oh man, it would be awesome if suddenly the entire show took place in space and the bikers rode space motorcycles and they shot aliens in the face.

Take this under serious consideration. It is the only way to avoid cancellation.


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