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 inspire your submission and help newer writers understand how to fulfill a call’s thematic elements.
This week we’re getting ready to sub to Unidentified Funny Objects in April, and we’re reading Alex Shvartsman’s You Bet.
Unidentified Funny Objects
Eligibility: humourous speculative fiction stories from 500-5,000 words.
Take Note: as markets go, this one’s tough. UFO has published big names like Neil Gaiman and George R. R. Martin. Keep that in mind when you sub, send your best, and don’t take it personally if your story is rejected. If you are able to read the forewords written by editor Alex Shvartsman of any of the previous UFOs, he happily drops a dozen hints of what he likes and what he’s looking for. Maybe amazon’s ‘look inside’ feature will help you read those if your local library is short on copies.
Submit by: UFO is open from April 1st to April 30th, 2020. We have time to write and polish and polish again. Let’s do this.
Payment offered: $0.10 per word plus contributor’s copy
A Story to Ignite Your Writing Mojo
UFO’s website offers no less than seven free stories to give you a feel for their preferred humour – click here to go directly there. If you’re financially able to obtain a copy of the past volumes or lucky enough to have a library that stocks them, one of my favourite UFO stories is Chad vs the Rebel Alliance by Shane Halbach in UFO7. Yes, I am a Star Wars fan, and yes, this story carefully skirts any copyright infringement, but between us it’s Stormtroopers as dude-bros and it is DELIGHTFUL.
However, since most of us are starving writers and our libraries may not carry UFO7 (but you should ask them to), we’re going to dip inside Alex Shvartsman’s You Bet. Click here to go read that now.
Shvartsman is the editor of the UFO series and wrote this story as a Kickstarter campaign prize. I think it’s a good choice for our purposes because it shows us what the editor himself finds funny. Rather than puns, cleverness is the way to go if you want to get into UFO. In You Bet, Shvartsman introduces us to poker game where the players are tropes. They’re playing for their own relevance, and they only leave the game when they disappear from the larger culture. The story’s humour revolves around the trope characters themselves and how they see the world, so while it makes us chuckle, the jokes also serve to deepen its own themes. That’s impressive.
Now it’s your turn. How do you make your friends and coworkers laugh? Have you tried translating that to paper before? You’ve got nothing to lose but a bit of ink and a little time. Let’s get writing.