Welcome to Submit Your Stories Sunday. Every week I bring you a new call for submissions to find a home for your stories or inspire a new one. Each call will contain a speculative element and offer payment upon acceptance. Next, I’ll highlight a story to help newer writers understand how to best fulfill the call and kickstart your creativity.
This week we’re exploring Short Edition’s call for short stories and poetry to place inside their vending machines and reading Susan O’Neal’s Harnessing the Unicorn from Short Edition’s website.
Eligibility: short stories and poems up to 8 000 characters and children’s stories up to 7000 characters. Please note this is characters not words. Spaces are included as characters. (tip: if you’re using MS word, the wordcount function also displays characters with and without spaces)
Take Note: the rights requested wander from the norm, so read them carefully before submitting to ensure you’re comfortable with them.
Payment: $75 for poetry, $125 for short and children’s stories (currency unclear)
Submit by: call is open at time of writ, no closure dates listed.
A Story to Ignite Your Creativity
Susan O’Neal’s Harnessing the Unicorn is one of the science fiction and fantasy stories published by Short Edition and available to read on their website by clicking here. What begins as a simple day in the life of a virtual reality programmer twists into a heart-pounding tale as a bug switches off the safety parameters with an 8-year-old inside.
O’Neal’s story works for a broad audience by grabbing our heartstrings (save the kid!), keeping the technical aspects of the story low, and employing unlikely heroes we can’t help but cheer for.
These short story vending machines have been turning up here in Canada at large airports, appealing to bored travelers who might not have the time or attention span for the novels sold at the airport bookstore. There’s a difference between this kind of audience and the ones who might pick up an anthology or read a literary magazine. Experimental fiction probably won’t succeed as well in this venue, nor will intricate stories which require close attention and deep thought. Controversial topics likely won’t do you any favors here either. Simple, easy-to-read fiction that entertains should be your goal and O’Neal’s story does this well.
Good luck with this one, and I hope to see your story in a vending machine one day.