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 to Beneath Ceaseless Skies and we’re reading The Augur and the Girl Left at His Door by Greta Hayer.

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Beneath Ceaseless Skies

Eligibility: “Literary adventure fantasy” stories that take place on secondary worlds,  historical fantasy, steampunk, or Weird Western up to 15, 000 words

Take Note: editors prefer close POV (as opposed to distant, such as in fairy tales), no .docx submissions

Submit By: ongoing, open call

Payment Offered: $0.08 per word

Click here to go to the original call for full details.

A Story to Familiarize Yourself With the Editor’s Tastes

This week we’re reading The Augur and the Girl Left at His Door by Greta Hayer and published in Beneath Ceaseless Skies. You can go read it now by clicking here.

The Augur and the Girl Left at His Door is the story of augur who tells the future by reading the marks, wrinkles, and oddities of a person’s body. He can tell how a person might die with a glance at their back, and read their lives in the marks of their scalp. This career has kept him alive but also brought him anguish. When a baby girl is left at his doorstep, he adopts her himself and raises her with much freedom, but he does not teach her his trade. Knowing the future has brought him much pain and he wishes to spare her the same. The girl, of course, fights him on this respect, wanting to know the outcome of her love affairs and her life, each of these mirroring the augur’s private pain, but he holds fast. There is no hope if the future is known, he says again and again.

This story’s strengths lie in its voice and character. Written in close point-of-view, the reader sees the world as a series of interpretations of moles and freckles, painting a vivid picture of the augur’s trade and the repercussions of this kind of knowledge. If Hayer chose to tell this story from the daughter’s perspective instead, it would not be the same story and while we might keep the anguish, the unique world of the augur’s magic would be lost. It takes considerable skill to wield a fictional magic system in this way, and I’ve half a mind to write up some characterization exercises for myself based on what Hayer has done here with my own characters and trades.

Thanks for tuning in this week, writers, and I hope you are well. If you’ve read any wonderful stories lately, I’d love to hear about them in the comments.

Happy writing!

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