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 subbing to the newly returned Fantasy magazine and we’re reading The Things My Mother Left Me by P. Djèlí Clark.

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Fantasy Magazine

Eligibility: writers may submit a fantasy poem, flash fiction, or short story, keeping in mind all submissions must be anonymous.

Take Note: Fantasy is sibling to Lightspeed and Nightmare magazine, and firmly among the top markets for fantasy stories. Don’t let this discourage you from trying, but do manage your expectations accordingly.

Submit By: July 7th, 2020 (please note this market is scheduled to be open again August 1-7th, 2020 if you need more time to prepare)

Payment Offered: $0.08 per word, or $40 per poem

Click here to read the full call for submissions.

A Story to Familiarize Yourself With the Editor’s Tastes

Fantasy magazine has been on hiatus, but their archives remain, and from those archives, we are going to read P. Djèlí Clark’s The Things My Mother Left Me. Click here to go read that now.

I think I was half way through this one when I starting grinning with delight and that grin stayed with me to the end. Rich layers and SO MUCH IMAGINATION is something I’ve come to expect from a P. Djèlí Clark story, and The Things My Mother Left Me is no exception.

The story opens following the death of Tausi’s father and she is adrift in a sea of aunts who want her house but not her self because of the mysterious reputation her late mother had. Choosing to take her future into her own hands, Tausi decides to run away. She soon finds a fascinating array of captured creatures in a strange circus who encourage her to learn more about her magical, matrilineal descent. What results is powerful and delightful to read. This is storybook magic for adults and it’s wonderful.

Also of note is Clark’s use of setting in the story. It’s woven skillfully into the tale itself and I don’t come across that as often as I’d like. At one point Tausi looks up into the sky and sees a cracked moon, with broken pieces of another moon in its orbit, but it’s revealed as mythology: a brother moon shattered in a bout of rage by his sister moon. Her crack is what remains from the collision where she shattered him. Tausi makes mention of the tidal waves that wrecked the world upon this collision, deep in the past now, and of the goddess who left the world when this happened. More than just a story within a story, we’re given a strong sense of what life is like post-apocalypse. Likewise, the goddess who ran away returns in the magical objects Tausi seeks and also plays significant role in both the climax and the ending of the story. If nothing else, writers should read The Things My Mother Left Me as a study of how to use setting to create an amazing and memorable tale. 

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That’s it for this week, writers! I hope this post finds you well and healthy. If I may, I’d like to remind you that I am participating in Clarion West’s Write-A-Thon where some 500 writers like myself are writing our collective bottoms off to raise money for Clarion’s scholarship programs. If you have found these posts helpful, or if would simply like to help writers in need, you can visit my sponsorship page here. Thank you.

Happy writing!

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