I've never met writer Nick Mamatas. I only know him as nihilistic_kid on LiveJournal. Read some stories written by Nick. And, well, "Nick stories". Stories passed around about Nick and his legendary flame wars. And stories Nick tells about Nick -- the man is unusally immune to worrying about what other people think of him.
He also serves as senior editor of Clarkesworld, where shockingly he actually gives useful and honest comments to submissions. Which sometimes offend writers, who then go against the Submission Guidelines and try to argue with Nick. You can't argue rejections with Nick, not only will you lose, he'll post the whole exchange on his blog and if you get rude, offensive and stupid, the world will know and you'll get banned from submitting to Clarkesworld again. The latter, IMHO, is not a badge of honor.
Twice I've submitted to Clarkesworld and both times found Nick's comments Really Useful. But be warned, if you try this route Nick isn't going to waste any time trying to massage your ego or mince words.
A Tale of Two Postings
So in the last two days Nick has managed to post things which I think writers need to think about. Yesterday Nick wrote about How To End A Story. Today he wrote about the editors' lie that "I just want good stories":
I don't want good stories. I want great writing with no story, good stories with great writing, wonderful anti-stories with poor writing, nifty ideas on silver platters, stories that depend on having read some other story to make any sense at all, stories that nobody will think are good until three days after they are read, stories that couldn't have been written before 1969, stories that will never be written again after 9/11/2001, mood pieces, monologues, atmospheric effects, grand tours, minute examinations of places I've never been, thinly-vieled (sic) autobiographies, grocery lists, liner notes of records never pressed, stories about pro wrestling that only people well-versed in kayfabe will fully understand, stories written as if "story" were some weird new thing that nobody ever heard of, etc.
Don't know about you, but that's some inspirational stuff. And honest. Now you don't have to take Nick's advice or believe his opinions. But gosh darn it I like reading things which make me think.