Welcome to this week’s edition of Submit Your Stories Sunday! Every week I bring you a unique call for submissions to help you find a home for your stories or inspire a new one. Each call will contain a speculative element and will offer payment upon acceptance. Next, I’ll recommend a story to help inspire your submission and aid new writers in understanding how to best fulfill a call’s thematic elements.
This week we’re looking at the Arcanist‘s open call for microfiction, and reading the drabble Palm Reader by Gwendolyn Kiste as published on the Weretraveler.
The Arcanist – Microfiction
Eligibility: science fiction or fantasy stories (horror inclusive) under 100 words. Stories must have a beginning, middle, end, and strong characterization.
Take Note: The Arcanist will be publishing a microfiction story every week on their website, as well as their twitter and instagram accounts.
Payment: $10 USD per accepted story
Submit by: no deadlines, everything open at time of writ. (please check their website in the link below if you’re visiting from the future, you tricky time traveler, you.)
A Story to Inspire Your Submission:
To get you started, we’ll be reading the 100-word drabble Palm Reader by Gwendolyn Kiste published on The Weretraveler. Click here to go there now. Don’t worry, I’ll be here when you get back.
The reason I chose this drabble is because Palm Reader has a distinct beginning, middle, and end. As we begin the narrator is getting their palm read. We can picture the scene easily without description. We hit the middle as the palm reader squeezes the narrator’s hand, pulling us along in their relationship in a few, brief sentences. They are all we need to know our narrator loves her. The ending arrives and our narrator has been poisoned by their love, thus fulfilling the fortune told in the beginning and bringing the story full circle.
It’s tricky to make your reader care about the characters in such a short piece. This is what the Arcanist wants when they refer to ‘characterization’ – the character should evoke a feeling. It doesn’t have to be positive, but by making the reader feel something, the story will stick with them, no matter how small. We care about the Palm Reader‘s narrator because we know they love this fortune teller, and they still love her despite her murdering of them. That’s a strong, fatal, foolish love. What a loss and tragic end, but they will never awaken to chew on the aftermath, they died in love as ever. It sticks in my mind, frustrating me with its unfairness. Kiste painted this image of character as a function of the plot AND in twenty-five words. The words do double time. Don’t hesitate to use those words.
You know what to do. Good luck!