Wednesday, August 17, 2005

Short Stories and Other Ways to Make a Pile

I am currently reading a book by David Sedaris. He is originally from Raleigh, and his books are usually peppered with references to his home town, so I read them with relish. I would read them even if he was from Timbuktu, because he is a wickedly funny writer. You may have heard of his books "Me Talk Pretty One Day" and "Dress Your Family in Corduroy and Denim ".

In Barrel Fever (1994), a collection of short stories, one of his characters decides to apply to a dirty magazine for a position writing letters and descriptions of giantesses growing out of their clothing. This got me to thinking that maybe Hoss ( and I could both make our piles ($$$) making up "letters" wherein people describe their "experiences". I expect he'd be better at it, since he's older and has had more experience than I (at least I hope he has). Please don't ask me how I know about those letters in those magazines; no, don't beg.....I won't cave. I know you are dying to find out how I learned about such seedy stuff. You pulled it out of me at last....(you knew I can't keep a secret; after all, the blog IS named "justask....").

Hubster and I went to Florida years ago for a conference. When we checked into the hotel, they gave us a room with one bed and a pull-out couch. Later that night, when the couch was pulled out, lo and behold, on the floor under the couch lay two really nasty magazines. Never having seen anything like that before, I was interested in what important information they might contain (just research, you understand), so I read them from cover to cover in one sitting. The letters, puportedly written by common, average people such and you and I, described almost every possible form of sexual activity known to mankind - and some I was unaware of before! I found it hard to believe that people signed their names to the letters; if I had done what they were writing about, I sure wouldn't want the whole world to know it. Later, I learned that those letters are not really written by readers, but people are paid to write those stories in letter form. Supposedly, it is more titillating to some people if they think that real people engaged in those affairs. So, do you think Hoss and I could make a pile writing them, or maybe just a half-a-pile. What do you think? Should we try it? Which magazines do you think pay the most? (And just how is it that you come to be so familiar with those magazines, anyway?)

As an aside, you might be interested to know that the next morning, when we complained to the front desk about what we found under the couch, they gave us a refund for that night. Maybe that was the beginning of my pile, and I just didn't know it!


OldHorsetailSnake said...

"And when she slipped a horn worm onto my ball sack, I took a deep breath and said, 'Those aren't tomatoes.'"

I think we're off to a good start.

Heather said...

I am dying to read Me Talk Pretty One Day!

srp said...

I'm speechless. Now you know everyone will be looking in those hotel pull out couches from now on trying to find a way to get the room refund.

Zinnia Cyclamen said...

David Sedaris, yes, he's on my list of 'authors whose books I must read'. I'm sure you and Hoss would bring a sophisticated, erudite, humorous slant to those letter stories. So, no, you probably wouldn't make any money.

Kim said...

Oh god, so many comments to make, so few of them decent enough to post.... : D So THIS is what you are doing when you aren't posting to other blogs.....I'll have to visit more often.....

Finn said...

I say Penthouse Forum is the way to go. Penthouse is fairly mainstream and widely (no pun intended) read. They probably pay the best. And I think Hoss is off to a rousing start - why can't sex be funny - we sure as hell look funny doing it.

If you find out how much they pay, let me know; I could use some extra cash!

Finn said...

Oh! Michele sent me. Can't forget that part; I don't want to incur her wrath. ;)

Jamie Dawn said...

Hoss's comment had me dying with laughter!
You and Hoss probably could come up with some really racy stuff. If you link up with Hoss, he will damage your sweet mind forever!

Angie said...

I knew he was gonna use you for research matrial! LMFAO

poopie said...

K girl, here's the deal. I'll do the "research" and you and Hoss write about it! Thirds?

Carmi said...

I always thought those letters were made up. But then, it happened to me, and I felt compelled to write about it...

Yeah, I was shocked the day I discovered a similar stash in the basement of my parents' house. Horrors!

metten said...

Okay, this is going to be huge and will probably get cut off, but it will give you a real answer if you're interested. If you want to write for just about any magazine, even smut, you have to send them a professional query. Here's the sumission requirements for a Penthouse publication:

Pays 10-49¢/word or $151-750/article

Penthouse Media Group
2 Penn Plaza
12th Floor
New York NY 10121

Phone: (212)702-6000

This market entry
has recently changed.
Date of change: 1/25/2005
Nature of change: Information updated and verified.

Barbara Pizio, executive editor

category-oriented, erotica magazine.
Frequency: Monthly
Freelance Facts:

100% freelance written
Established: 1978
Circulation: 100,000

Pays on acceptance
Publishes manuscript 14 months after acceptance.
No byline.

Rights purchased:
# All rights

Editorial lead time 7 months.
Submit seasonal material 10 months in advance.

Responds in 1 month to queries.
Responds in 3 months to manuscripts.

Writer's guidelines for #10 SASE or by e-mail.

Book excerpts
Personal Experience

Does Not Want: "No previously published fiction, no humor, no poetry, no children, no one under 21, no relatives, no pets, no coercion."

Buys 50 manuscripts/year.
Submission method: Query by mail only or send complete ms. Do not submit unsolicited mss via e-mail.

Does not pay the expenses of writers on assignment.

"Variations publishes primarily heterosexual stories in vanilla sex categories as well as various types of S&M and fetishism."


Length: 3,000–3,500 words.

Pays $400 maximum.

"Story submissions should be first-person narratives containing at least two explicit sex scenes. These sex scenes should be focused within a specific category of sexuality and placed within the context of a realistic plot with well-developed characters."

Carmi said...

Realistic plot. Well developed characters.

Um, right.

Arethusa said...

Hahahahahahaha! Oh this is great. If your letters do get accepted let me know and somehow I'll manage to get a copy. First thing for everything ya know.

I've heard so much about Sedaris but haven't read any of his books yet. Of course, I intend to.

kenju said...

As Hoss would say....."Hoo Boy!" Am I that believable? I was just kidding about actually doing the writing, but it's interesting that so many of you think I was serious.

Metten: thanks for all the info; if I ever do decide to write smut, I'll know how to go about it.

Carmi: You parents had a stash? I can't believe it! Well, probably your Dad stashed them, huh?

Arethusa: I think if I ever did decide to write smut, NO ONE but me and the submissions person at the magazine would ever know about it! I would be too embarrassed to tell anyone.

Anonymous said...

A refund. Hm, maybe I should pack some for my next stay and "find them". (Nah, I wouldn't deceive but the thought's interesting)

Sedaris is funny.