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 get you thinking about your own submission and to help newer writers understand how to fulfill a call’s thematic elements.
This week we’re submitting stories to Fireside Quarterly and we’re reading Akhulume by Larissa Irankunda from Fireside‘s April 2020 issue.
Eligibility: original speculative works up to 3,000 words
Take Note: Fireside requests the submissions have a font size 14 (rather than 12). UPDATE: Fireside’s website has been updated to reflect the guest editor’s personal preferences, including: bodily transformation, repurposed tech, effects on trauma on relationships, and cyberpunk. Check it out here.
Submit by: this opening begins tomorrow, June 15th, and closes June 19th, with special guest editor Ryan Boyd.
Payment offered: 12.5 cents per word
A story to ignite your writing mojo
This week we’re reading Akhulume by Larissa Irankunda from the April 2020 issue of Fireside. While Fireside has no specific themes, reading what the magazine publishes can still give writers an excellent idea of the type of story they prefer. Akhulume is available to read, or listen to, by clicking here.
Akhulume tells the story of being trapped inside an alien ship, somewhere in the stars. The protagonist holds tight to their sense of self and their family, but gradually their grip loosens, the worlds entangling, reality muddling. We can feel them losing that sense of themself as they lose their voice, moments bewildering and uncomfortable for the protagonist and the reader.
In a craft sense, I’m drawn to how Irankunda moves the story from beginning to end. Google tells me (keeping in mind that Google is rarely perfect) that “akhulume” means “speak,” setting the theme for the story. Irankunda breaks the story into eight sections, each beginning with “the nth time they asked you your name…” to usher the reader through each shift. With each consecutive question, we are reminded again of the power of speech and voice, the personal history, and what language means to the protagonist. As time moves on, the reader can be confident of the time structure, while the speech aspect becomes less reliable, evolving and changing. It’s an excellent technique.
All right, now it’s your turn, writers, time to get to work and send out the best you’ve got. I hope you are safe, well, and your loved ones near. Until next week,