Sunday, September 12, 2010

Guidelines and Common Sense...

All too often as editors, A.W. and I are asked why we don't like Anne Rice (for the record, we've never said we didn't like her work, we just prefer our vampires with less angst, less cry-baby drama not wearing last century's formal wear), why don't we like Twilight, etc, etc. We're always happy to explain why, just as we are happy to explain why we like what we like. We share a combined 10 years experience as editors, Bete Noire is our second magazine, and we still love to get asked questions as to 'why'.

But rarely do we ever get pressed by submitters as to why not on certain subjects. Until this weekend. If you've read our guidelines, you'll see we've posted that we will we not accept any story that involve gratuitous and or violence against children or animals, especially those that are sexual in nature. That statement should, SHOULD, be pretty self explanatory.

Yet we were questioned by a submitter when we pointed this out and rejected their story. After their second query and vain attempt to rationalize his submission (which by the way was extremely well written except that it dealt with child killers and the above for mentioned no-no for submitting to Bete Noire), we told the submitter why, and I feel compelled to mention it here, as well as on our facebook and twitter page.

We know that these horrible things occur in real life, and we don't want to be a part of that in any way. There is no story that needs to have violence or sexual deviance against children or animals as a central part to their story. We went on to explain further.

You see, A.W. and I grew up in a county in rural Michigan where, for a time in the late seventies, parents were afraid let their children outside because of the Oakland County Child Killer. We grew up in a heightened state of fear because we knew that the monster in our community was far more disturbing than the ones under our beds. Four children were killed in a year's time frame. No one was ever caught, no one was charged. Some speculate the killer or killers moved to another state, some suspected he/she/they went to prison. No one knew. No one still does.

In high school, I knew a girl who was abducted and killed by serial killer Leslie Allen Williams. Hell doesn't have a fire hot enough to roast this demented f*cker. So yes, A.W. and I will not condone or promote child killing or animal torture of any kind, in any form, in any way.

I hope that this sheds some light on things. Sometimes you have stand for something, even if it means standing alone.

I hope there is now understanding,  and I hope you to read each of your submissions soon...


  1. Aside from an editors decision being the final word, i applaud Bete Noir for sticking to this guideline. Too often, 'evil' as fodder for a villain is unimaginative. Casting a role as child/animal killer or rapist is usually a ploy of a writer who is too lazy too make their character truly and believably evil with the bouquet of creative devices available.

  2. Here here, and we couldn't agree more. To create a peice of fiction, with a protagonist as a serial rapist/child killer shows the cheap tactics used by lazy writers for 'shock value'. It's unimpressive, repulsive(at least in this editor's eyes), and makes me seriously doubt a writer's ability to create truely dark literature.