The following market report on the ezine, Horror Garage, as well as the follow-up interview are courtesy of Market Scoops by D.L. Snell.

The Market

  • Zine: Horror Garage
  • Editor: Pitch Black
  • Pay Rate: $30.00
  • Response Time: Confirms receipt within 1 month; does not reply to rejects.
  • Description (from the editor): Horror Garage is a hot skillet, but the original dark fiction found therein is the bloody steak. Truth is, you probably KNOW deep down that your vampire story sucks, and your two friends that read it are just too embarrassed to tell you something you already know. Don’t send that one! In general, we don’t find zombies, getting lost in the woods, or freakazoid sex very scary, either. Horror exists in too many forms to fit into any one category. Find it. Expose it. More in guidelines: Complete Submission Guidelines

Note: Horror author D.L. Snell conducted the following interview to give writers a better idea of what the editors of this specific market are seeking; however, most editors are open to ideas outside of the preferences discussed here, as long as they fit the basic submission guidelines.

The Scoop

1. What authors do you enjoy and what is it about their writing that captivates you?
Because I’m probably A.D.D., I prefer short fiction, so please take that into account.

I feel that Kurt Vonnegut was a humanist at heart, but developed a sarcastic exoskeleton in order to deal with daily inhumanities. A bitterness permeates his work, but there’s also a hope that ultimately humans might be able to tolerate each other. I love the way Vonnegut comments on human nature against a fantastic backdrop.

Mark McLaughlin is genuinely FUNNY, and somehow incorporates humor into some very horrific stuff. I can’t think of anyone who’s able to pull that off to the same degree.

Clive Barker’s characters have some strange perspectives, and he’s especially good at describing “action”…his language is direct and physical, his images are confrontational.

John Shirley succeeds in making unlikeable characters likeable, because he speaks to the wounded child in all of us. Shirley’s stories feel REAL.

If Steve McQueen were a horror writer, his name would be Norman Partridge. Norm’s got a no bullshit, meat and potatoes writing style coupled with a deep understanding of human nature. He’s incredibly versatile, and writes equally well in different genres. I identify with his characters. Norman’s a true craftsman.

I really appreciate Stephen King’s style, but feel he often writes himself into corners that require some very awkward extrications.

2. What are your favorite genres? Which of these genres would you like to see incorporated into submissions to this market?
I wouldn’t want to bring up specific “genres” at all…most of the time, the less traditional, the better.

3. What settings most intrigue you? Ordinary or exotic locales? Real or fantasy? Past, present, or future?
I have no setting preferences. At all.

4. Explain the type of pacing you enjoy, e.g. slow building to fast, fast throughout, etc.
Just grab my attention and hold it, at any speed!

5. What type of characters appeal to you the most? Any examples?
I like characters that have a unique perspective, and I like that perspective made to be believable. The best examples I can think of right now would be Barker’s “Rawhead Rex” or the main character from his “Age of Desire.” Mark McLaughlin’s version of HAL the computer in “The Voice of the Pangyricon” is yet another. Note that only one of the three characters I’ve just mentioned is “human.”

6. Horror and violence can be blatant or suggestive. Which one do you prefer and why?
I like both. To depict spectacular, over-the-top violence requires different language than suggestive stuff does. I don’t have a problem with either…I have a problem with crap.

7. In fiction and in life, what do you find most horrific?
In real life, I find it horrific that G.W. Bush was elected for a second term. People’s spirits being crushed, certain illnesses, and the fact that the earth’s poles are going to switch five years from now all horrify me. Some of the things human beings are capable of doing to each other horrify me as well.

The best horror stories take a core “real life” fear (i.e., disease, loneliness, subjugation, loss) and expand on it. There’s no difference to me.

8. What are the top three things submitters to this market should avoid?

1. Stories that keep referring to a character’s “hunger,” then wrap it up with “Hey, wait a minute…oh my god, she’s a vampire!” Chances are, I’ve read two stories like that already this morning. Vampires (or zombies) can be a cool backdrop, but shouldn’t be the POINT of a story. In these cases, the story should say something about (in)human nature under extraordinary circumstances.
2. Gratuitous sex or violence that’s presented as a “story.” Don’t be all shock and no substance. And keep it “Rated R” while you’re at it.
3. Long, meandering stories with the payoff not relative to the effort needed to get there. The main offenders are usually newcomers who are trying to develop a style or find a voice. Being able to use pretty words and construct sentences won’t hide the fact that a story itself is unspectacular.

9. What commonalities are among stories you’ve rejected? Is there a particular aspect authors get wrong? (Question by Martel)
You’d be surprised at how many stories I get where the writer doesn’t have a basic grasp of the language, or neglects to use Spell Check. That aside, don’t bore me two paragraphs into a story. Don’t use 6,000 words when 2,000 will do.

10. If you reject a story, how open are you to a revised version, or do you only want revisions upon request? (Question by Martel)
Revisions ONLY upon request please!

11. What trait are you seeking most in submissions to this market?
You know how most episodes of “The Twilight Zone” have a twist at the end that makes you say, “A-HA!”? That’s what I want. Fuck with me. Make me feel safe, then saw my head off.

12. Any last advice for submitters to this market?
Visit the site, soak up the vibe, and have a look at the guidelines.

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