Diversity in Fiction aka Vanilla Slush
I’ve been reading a lot of slush this past month. Mountains of it, really. So much slush that I have imprints of the little yes/no/maybe buttons burned indelibly into the inside of my eyelids so I can see them staring back at me even in my sleep.
That’s a whole lot of slush.
But the biggest problem for a slush reader is that so very much of it is the same. Well not really. The setting changes a bit. This one is set in a car. That one is on a far away planet. There’s a cute setup about a mystical creature under a bed. But more times than not they all come back to the same thing.
A white, middle class, educated protagonist. Heterosexual. Generally male. Sometimes we get an educated, middle class, heterosexual white female. Usually she’s fairly angst-ridden and she’s looking for love. Or she’s bitter about love. Or she has a cat.
We get an awful lot of cat stories. You submitters sure do love your cats. And I’m glad you love your cats…. *sigh* But that’s beside the point.
So I’m challenging you to throw some other flavors into the slush. Send us some rocky road. Some pistachio chip with sprinkles. Avocado with bacon chips and a dash of honey drizzle on top.
The world’s too big and diverse and wonderful. Not that vanilla isn’t wonderful. I’m about as vanilla as they come. But vanilla is so much tastier with a zesty side of Latin transgender astronaut. Or a QUILTBAG family battling to stay together after the alien apocalypse.
Send us every age, sex, gender, sexual orientation, race, religion, and creed you’ve got. Send characters with disabilities and physical limitations that make us reexamine our stereotypical expectations. To the LGBTQ community, Flash Fiction Online is your ally in a search for equality. This is an open invitation. We don’t publish erotica or gore. But we do love characters and story plots that push the boundaries and make us think.
Now, a caution. You can send the best flavor ever conceived, but if it’s not well written as a story, it’s still not getting through slush. If it’s dripping all over the sides of the cone and puddling on my good shoes, that literary Harlem deliciousness isn’t getting a yes. Craftsmanship is everything. Hone your skills. Make your characters sing. Because slush needs them.
Flash Fiction Online needs them.
Now go write!
Anna Yeatts, Publisher, FFO