Topics, Themes, & Mannerisms We Could Do Without

Animals, Stories Written from the Perspective Of

We get a lot of submissions like these, and they just don’t work for us.

Bukowski, Stories Written in the Style Of

If we feel like reading Bukowski, we will read Bukowski.

College Stories, Drug-Related

Like strange dreams or constipation, we find these sort of experiences rarely make for good reading.

College Stories, General

See above.

College Stories, MFA-related

While likely untrue, we prefer to maintain the delusion that most of our readers are not writers, would-be-writers, or persons with advanced knowledge of or interest in the minutia of creative writing graduate programs.

Cowboy Poetry

Is a surprisingly popular genre which we never want to read again.

Dialect, Excessive Amounts of

We almost never find the exclamation, “Hooo-weee,” appropriately comic or convincing as realistic dialogue, especially when followed by a barrage of “choughins’” or “layins’” or “slidins’” or “textins’.” We appreciate dialect used sparingly and to maximum evocative effect.

Goats, Stories Disparaging

Almost never ring true.

iPhones, iPods, iDoohickey

Stories that make extensive mention of such technology — especially pieces that repeat the word “iDoohickey” or other plays on Apple’s product-naming conventions — almost never feel fresh. If a character is making a call on an Droid or iPhone we find it is usually better just to use the word “phone” in lieu a specific device name. We are living in the future now where even advanced squirrels have mobile devices; the relative intelligence of a character’s telephone can be implied by their interactions with it.

Lists, Previously Rejected by McSweeney’s

We welcome the chance to read stories written as lists, and lists of the humorous sort if clearly crafted for Johnny America’s editorial idiosyncrasies, but we try to avoid infringing on this well-guarded turf of Timothy McSweeney & Company. They’ve done humorous lists since forever, and they do them well, and they carry jars of muriatic acid: we find it wise not to ape their regular features for fear of reprisal.

Military Stories

Are something we like to read, but are rarely a good fit for the particular tone we’re trying to cultivate. If you’ve spent a day reading our archives and have a military story you think might work for us, by all means please send. If this is your first time looking at Johnny America and you’re about to include us in a blanket submission, please be forewarned that it’s very likely we’ll pass.

Satan, Stories Depicting for Comedic Effect

Can be very amusing, but almost always feel cliché. We have to pick our tropes, and this is one we choose to avoid.

Stories Written in the Style of News Reportage

While this style of writing can achieve staggering hilarity for The Onion, we feel it rarely works for non-humor pieces — and because news-style submissions of the humorous sort almost always feel like Onion rejects, we tend to shy away from them.

Television Characters, Fictionalized Accounts Of

Can occasionally be very funny, but are almost always not so.

Violence Directed Against Non-Human Primates

Is abhorrent when written for comic effect.