Submit Your Stories Sunday: Dream of Shadows

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 help inspire your submission and aid new writers in understanding how to best fulfill a call’s thematic elements.

This week we’re looking at a new market, Dream of Shadows, and reading The Dead, in their Uncontrollable Power by Karen Osborne and published in Uncanny Magazine.

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Dream of Shadows

*new market

Eligibility: original fantasy or horror fiction up to 3K words featuring honest, daring protagonists reaching for a goal. One story will be published on the Dream of Shadows website per month, culminating in a 12-story anthology at year’s end.

Take Note: the wording and title strongly suggests dark fantasy will be preferred over brighter fare.

Payment: 20 Pounds per story

Submit by: no deadlines posted as yet, but keep an eye on the site linked below for any changes

Click here to go to the original call for details.

A story to ignite your creativity:

This week we’re reading The Dead, in their Uncontrollable Power by Karen Osborne and published by Uncanny Magazine. This story, like the ones requested in this week’s call, involves a honest, daring protagonist pursuing a goal. This is story easily falls under the dark fantasy category the Dream of Shadows is looking for. You can go to Uncanny’s website and read it by clicking here.

The Dead follows the story of a sin-eater aboard a vessel eternally bound for Paradise. The ship’s captain employs the sin-eater to absolve their conscience of any misdeeds. Upon the Captain’s death, a new sin-eater, in this case an underage girl, must literally swallows the Captain’s sins forever, while the Captain’s successor eats their blessings. The new Captain moves forward in blissful ignorance, questioning nothing about her position’s right to authority over the three classes of citizens aboard the ship.

The past Captains come alive inside the sin-eater, clutching at her voice when she tries to speak of their monstrosities, throwing her to the floor in convulsions when she fights back, forcing her to relive the murders they committed again and again. Her experiences during this physical and mental invasion speak to the honest and daring protagonists the Dream of Shadows call is looking for.

We never learn her name. It is erased by her profession and the hundreds of Captains that invade her soul, but she dares to tell her story just the same.

After she uncovers a dark truth about the ship’s journey and the last Captain’s bid to remain in power forever, she has to find a way around the hundreds of previous Captains inside of her, working against her, to tell the people and to show the new Captain the truth about what this Captain has inherited. This is the goal she reaches for, the goal that builds the story tension to a shriek of nail-biting intensity.

By its nature this story is dark, delving into the what-ifs of humanity’s dark side, religion, and the easy corruption of power. As readers we can pull so many parallels with our modern troubles. Osborne’s ending satisfies, but I wouldn’t call it happy. The Dead, in their Uncontrollable Power leaves us thinking, a trick that good dark fantasy does well.

Writerly News

The Nebula Awards ceremony was last night and you can view all the winners at the SFWA site here. Congratulations to all the nominated and winning writers, you amaze me!

Happy writing!

 

Submit Your Stories Sunday: arcane microfiction

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 help inspire your submission and aid new writers in understanding how to best fulfill a call’s thematic elements.

This week we’re looking at the Arcanist‘s open call for microfiction, and reading the drabble Palm Reader by Gwendolyn Kiste as published on the Weretraveler.

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The Arcanist – Microfiction

Eligibility: science fiction or fantasy stories (horror inclusive) under 100 words. Stories must have a beginning, middle, end, and strong characterization.

Take Note: The Arcanist will be publishing a microfiction story every week on their website, as well as their twitter and instagram accounts.

Payment: $10 USD per accepted story

Submit by: no deadlines, everything open at time of writ. (please check their website in the link below if you’re visiting from the future, you tricky time traveler, you.)

Click here to go to the original call for details.

A Story to Inspire Your Submission:

To get you started, we’ll be reading the 100-word drabble Palm Reader by Gwendolyn Kiste published on The Weretraveler. Click here to go there now. Don’t worry, I’ll be here when you get back.

The reason I chose this drabble is because Palm Reader has a distinct beginning, middle, and end. As we begin the narrator is getting their palm read. We can picture the scene easily without description. We hit the middle as the palm reader squeezes the narrator’s hand, pulling us along in their relationship in a few, brief sentences. They are all we need to know our narrator loves her. The ending arrives and our narrator has been poisoned by their love, thus fulfilling the fortune told in the beginning and bringing the story full circle.

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Photo by Josie Stephens on Pexels.com

It’s tricky to make your reader care about the characters in such a short piece. This is what the Arcanist wants when they refer to ‘characterization’ – the character should evoke a feeling. It doesn’t have to be positive, but by making the reader feel something, the story will stick with them, no matter how small. We care about the Palm Reader‘s narrator because we know they love this fortune teller, and they still love her despite her murdering of them. That’s a strong, fatal, foolish love. What a loss and tragic end, but they will never awaken to chew on the aftermath, they died in love as ever. It sticks in my mind, frustrating me with its unfairness. Kiste painted this image of character as a function of the plot AND in twenty-five words. The words do double time. Don’t hesitate to use those words.

You know what to do. Good luck!

Happy writing.

Submit Your Stories Sunday: recognizing fascism

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 help inspire your submission and aid new writers in understanding how to best fulfill a call’s thematic elements.

This week we’re looking at the anthology Recognize Fascism and reading Cyd Athens’ Poison in Fireside Magazine.

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Recognize Fascism

Eligibility: fantasy and science fiction stories from 250 to 5k words on theme of the first moment a character recognizes fascism and determines to resist.

Take Note: this project will only go ahead if crowdfunding is successful. This is fairly standard for most anthologies and while it does involve some risk, writers should not be deterred from submitting.

What makes this call stand out: with professional payment, there’s a good chance you’ll recognize some of the names in this anthology when it’s finalized. Get in there and submit your story alongside your favorite writers. You never know.

Payment: minimum $0.08 per word.

Submit by: June 3, 2019

Click here to go to the original call for details.

A story to ignite your creativity:

For this week’s inspiration story, I’m stretching the theme a bit to bring you a story that makes you, as reader, the character who first recognizes fascism and resists. You can read or listen to Cyd Athens’ story Poison in Fireside Magazine by clicking here (there is no charge to read/listen to this story but please consider subscribing or buying the issue if you are able).

Poison is written in second person, which gives the reader a deeply immersive experience into the story. In this instance, Athens uses this perspective to reveal the story details like little bombs as you, the reader, awaken to the story reality alongside the character awakening from their poisoned cryo-sleep. Disorientation follows, a strong sense of something isn’t right here and suddenly we’re pushed into an erupting violence and it’s shoot or die, survival instincts screeching as the part of us that’s holding back wondering “Whoa! What is going here?” gets smaller and more subdued as we rescue our fallen friends and race to safety. Once there, Athens pulls back and fills in what we’re missing. Yes, we’ve committed genocide in this story world, we had no choice, we are forced into it by our rulers. The clues were all there, but the confirmation sits awful on us all the same.

This is why I chose Poison to match with the Recognize Fascism call: through Athens’ words, we have just experienced the rising of fascism. We had that moment of sensing something wasn’t right, moving to enormously wrong, and a leap into some future’s mirror to see what horrors we have committed while in a stupor of confusion. An allusion to the dulling and desensitization by relentless media brainwash of dictatorships. These are the elements we need to understand, recognize, and feel to write a story for this Recognize Fascism call. Now we just need to build our stories around them. Good luck.

Happy writing!

 

Submit Your Stories Sunday: longevity

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 help inspire your submission.

PLEASE NOTE: there will no Submit Your Stories Sunday next week (April 28th) as I will be attending the Frye Literary Festival in my hometown. The series will resume on Sunday, May 5th, 2019. Thank you!

This week we’re looking into the theme of longevity for a pro-paying anthology and reading Rebecca Lang’s What No One Ever Tells You About Becoming Immortal on DSF.

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Third Flat Iron Anthologies: Longevity

Eligibility: speculative stories between 1 500 and 3 000 words OR humorous pieces under 600 words, on the theme of longevity.

Take Note: the wording suggests the editors are looking for stories focused on the hows and why of the longevity, rather than just the effects or character living with it.

Payment: $0.06 per word

Submit by: this call is open from July 10th to August 10th, 2019. Lots of time remains to craft up a fresh story.

Click here to go to the original call for details.

A story to ignite your creativity:

To get our imaginations fired to answer this call, we’re going to read Rebecca Lang’s What No One Ever Tells You About Becoming Immortal, published on Daily Science Fiction in 2014. Click here to go read that now.

In this story, Lang uses a steady rise of technology to retain and lengthen lives to an extreme point. It begins with nanotechnology to fix the protagonist’s cancer and later, replace her hip. Medical marvels all, but then the story turns, focusing on the uncomfortable fixation with youth that modern media keeps telling us we have. The marvels shift into vanity, or hubris, and things fall apart for the protagonist. She buys her way out of death, but in so doing loses her self. This story is both a tragedy and a vivid reflection of financial privileged society.

Lang’s story answers the questions Flat Iron poses in their call (how is this life extension possible and what are the side effects) from a Capitalist perspective. What perspective unique to your voice and your favorite genre can you use to write a different set of answers to craft your submission around?

The longevity theme also comes with its own inherent trope. Vampire stories, especially, paint the immortal with endless angst about the perceived tragedy of immortality and outliving family and friends. These stories suggest that if death is cheated, all one finds is regret. We see this echoed in Lang’s story as the protagonist acknowledges that while her body lives, she does not. This trope makes these stories nice and safe for us mortal readers. There, there, gentle reader, you don’t want this immortality you can’t have, just be content with your lot.

Meh. I’ve seen people die of old age. I’m not buying this trope anymore.

So why not blow the trope out of the water? How can you subvert it into something fresh and unexpected? What is it going to take for someone to be happy after thwarting death? Do they need to be a villain, an extreme introvert, or… ? Play with it, see what you come up with. Answer the call to adventure – oops, I mean call for submissions.

Happy writing!
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Photo by Pixabay on Pexels.com

Submit Your Stories Sunday: felines, bicycles, and space

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 help inspire your submission and finish off with a list of writing industry news and articles I came across this week.

This week we’re looking at the Bikes in Space anthology series and reading the Bicycle Rebellion by Laura E. Goodin and published by Daily Science Fiction.

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Bikes in Space

Eligibility: feminist bicycle fiction on the theme of cats, 500-6K words

Take Note: must be feminist, speculative, and contain kitties

What makes this call stand out: I’ll be honest, it’s the quirkiness that grabs me. I love my bike, I love feminism, and I definitely love my cats.

Payment: dependent upon kickstarter success, but no less than $30 USD per story

Submit by: August 1, 2019

Click here to go to the original call for details.

A story to ignite your creativity:

For the purposes of getting your writing mojo fired up, I’m going to focus on the bicycle aspect of this call rather than the cat or feminism. Those are fairly straightforward, and writing about bicycles always poses the greater challenge for me. The bicycle story we’re going to look at, the Bicycle Rebellion by Laura E. Goodin, does not take place in space, either. What it does do is stretch our imaginations outside of the usual way we think about bicycles, which is what will best help us craft our own stories.

Laura E. Goodin’s the Bicycle Rebellion is available to read for free on Daily Science Fiction. Click here to go there now. I’ll wait.

This story is no wind-in-your-hair love story to the “the beautiful duet of human and machine” (I do love that line of Goodin’s).  The bicycles are not behaving as a bicycle should. They have shed their identity as an inanimate object and rove in “packs of feral bicycles.” This is fresh. It makes me think of both wild animals and those horrific pileups you see on turns in bicycle races. It grabs the reader’s imagination and lets them know the usual rules will not apply in this story. This is the kind of permission we need to give our creative selves when working on a bicycle-in-space story. What can a bicycle do beyond  gravity-required transportation? What can a bicycle be besides a human powered vehicle? We’ve got two wheels, a gear mechanism, some brakes, and the whole universe to work with. Let’s get writing.2019-04-13 15.44.26.png

NOTE: There are multiple Bikes in Space anthologies available. I recommend reading them as they’re fun, imaginative, and the stories are well-written. They will give you the best sense of what the editor likes and what you can do with this theme. However, I couldn’t find them in my local library system and it is important to me to keep this blog inclusive to writers who may not have financial privilege.

Writerly links worth sharing this week:

In a bold move, the Writer’s Guild America East and West advised writers to fire their agents this week. This comes in the wake of distrust caused by agents working for both writers and film companies in negotiation of film rights, which the Writer’s Guild pointed out as a conflict of interest. David Simon detailed his experience of this conflict in an article posted last month.

Happy writing!

 

 

Submit Your Stories Sunday: once upon a paranormal romance

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 help inspire your submission and finish off with a list of writing industry news and articles I came across this week.

This week we’re looking at a call for paranormal romance novelettes and reading Deborah Harkness’ book A Discovery of Witches.

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Once Upon an Enchanted Forest: an Anthology of Romantic Witchcraft Stories

Eligibility: paranormal (witchcraft) romance stories from 7K to 15K on the theme of an enchanted forest. The details in the call strongly suggest the editors prefer the witchcraft element of the story to focus on the magical elements of the Autumn Equinox. Writers are encouraged to look in the lore and history of the Autumn Equinox as research for their story.

Take Note: the editors expect happy or happy-for-now endings

What Makes This Call Stand Out: the terminology suggests the editors are actively seeking out new writers

Payment: $75, 2 paperback copies, and 25 e-copies to distribute. Please note this is a token rate for a novelette.

Submit by: May 15th, 2019

Click here to go to the original call for details.

A story to ignite your creativity:

While I usually try to find a free-to-read short story for Sundays, in this case I’m recommending Deborah Harkness’ A Discovery of Witches, the first book in the All Souls trilogy. Disclaimer: I haven’t seen the television series and my opinions reside solely on the books. The protagonist of the story, Diana Bishop, is a spellbound witch and Oxford scholar who finds herself entangled with chemist/vampire Matthew Clairmont when she calls up a enchanted book in the Bodleian library. Love, intrigue, and time travel soon follow. As it often does.20190406_123615.jpg

What I like about this book for Once Upon an Enchanted Forest‘s call is the looming darkness that begins in A Discovery of Witches as demons gather around the book and Diana discovers her magical abilities. The mood is right. If the witchcraft is removed from the story, it will fall apart.

Most of the magical elements of A Discovery fall under the ‘common knowledge’ umbrella.  Here’s where I’d encourage you, as a writer, to do a little research into the Autumn Equinox of pagan religions. Harkness has several original elements in the novel, so she can get away with common magical tropes. You aren’t likely to get away with that for the Enchanted Forest call. There is fascinating lore to Mabon (the Autumnal Equinox), and finding something unexpected and unusual to build into your story will give you an edge. How do cultures outside of the western hemisphere celebrate the harvest and shorter days with longer nights?

The intrigue of A Discovery of Witches is rich and tangled, matching the request of the Enchanted Forest’s editors. A novelette will have less room to build this intrigue than a trilogy, obviously, and that is where depth and focus must take over. Plot heavily and weave in the intrigue with stealthy fingers. Just make sure its there.

Writerly links worth sharing this week:

The Hugo award nominations are up! You can read them all here.

In this article, Arkady Martine suggests that every writer gets one free talent and we can use that to build on the talents we don’t have naturally.. What do you think? What’s yours? Disclaimer: I have no idea what mine would be.

Happy writing!

 

Submit Your Stories Sunday: a flash of fantasy

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 (or three) to inspire your submission.

This week we’re looking at Escape Artists’ upcoming fantasy flash fiction contest and reading the winners from contest IV.

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Escape Artists Flash Fiction Contest V

Eligibility: original fantasy stories under 500 words, one entry per writer. There is no entry fee. Entrants will be able to login to the Escape Artists forum to read, comment on, and vote for the stories. The top three stories (based upon reader votes) will be published online and podcasted in an upcoming episode of the SFWA-qualifying market, Podcastle.

Take Note: all stories will be posted anonymously in the Escape Artists’ forums. Because these forums require a log in and password, this does not count as using up a story’s first publication rights. Stories must remain anonymous and writers are not allowed to tell anyone which story is theirs or ask friends or family for votes. Two years ago a contender was removed in the finals because their wife voted for them – which suggested the writer told someone which story was theirs. This is taken VERY seriously so don’t risk it.

What makes this call stand out: my entry came into the top ten of Contest IV two summers ago, which stunned and thrilled me. It’s a great contest to get feedback from readers (tough skin required, btw) as the voters WILL be commenting heavily on your stories. I learned a tonne  from the experience. Stories featuring rape, sexism, and/or racism will be treated terribly by this crew.

Payment: the top three stories will be paid $30 USD for publication and audio rights

Submit by: the contest is open from April 15th to April 30th, 2019

Click here to go to the original call for details.

A trio of stories to ignite your creativity:

The best prep for this contest is reading contest IV’s winners, which are available to read or listen to by clicking here. The first thing I’ll point out is that the winners have and had well-established publications in speculative fiction. I didn’t expect to see a well-established writer in this contest and it threw me. Does this matter in an anonymous contest? Not entirely, but noting that established writers are entering the contest should work to keep your expectations in check but your goals high. Coming in second or third place is still a major achievement.

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Next, I’ll point out how different these stories are from each other. Ogden’s tale is surreal and dark. Kendig’s story has a literary bend with shades of magical realism. Proctor tugs at our hearts with the hardest experience unrequited love can endure.

As for similarities, they are all well-written with a strong voice, but so were many other entries.

If you read this trio of stories, you may notice a certain grimdark edge to them. It stands out strong for me because I read every story submitted to the contest as a voter and I know that a handful of excellent stories with a brightness to them didn’t make it to the top three. This struck me as a reflection of the current trend. Grimdark hasn’t gone anywhere, but it isn’t as popular as it was in 2017, perhaps due to a darkening of reality. Hopepunk is rising, but what’s here right now? What trends are you picking up in the latest stories of your favorite publications?

It’s hard to ignore that Odgen’s winning story is about cats. Post a cat photo anywhere and suddenly you’re popular. Cat video? Me-yow. Is it the same with putting cats in stories? I want to say no, but… in either case, the lesson is clear. You need to please a diverse crowd of readers to win this contest. Pay attention to what presently pleases them and write that into your story. If you do venture into experimental/artsy stuff make sure you do it extremely well.

These three stories are also wildly unique, and this is key. Proctor gives us a retelling of Humpty Dumpty, but it is a Humpty Dumpty we have never imagined. Who has a one-night stand with a constellation? Why is the future of the Earth predicated on a cat who eats its kittens? Who dreams this stuff up? Successful writers, that’s who. So… how do you write something unique? That’s the million-publication question. What’s your weird? What can you write that no one else can? Answer those questions, find your story, write it as best you can, and you’ll be well on your way to rocking this contest (and your career).

Happy writing!

Submit Your Stories Sunday: moonstruck

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 short story to help inspire your submission and finish off with a list of writing industry news and articles I came across this week.

This week we’re looking at Eibonvale Press’ upcoming anthology The Once and Future Moon and reading Arthur C. Clarke’s The Sentinel as well as Sheila Marie Borideux’s The Third Martian Dick Temple.

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The Once and Future Moon

Eligibility: speculative stories from 1k to 5k words focused on the Moon. Roughly half of the stories will take a historical bend on how the Moon affects our lives and the second half will be near-future stories on the same theme.

Take Note: the editors offer a list of recommended reading to get a feeling for what they want

Payment: 10 Pounds plus contributor’s copy

Submit by: April 30th, 2019

Click here to go to the original call for details. – please note this links to a pdf

A story to ignite your creativity:

For the purposes of this call, we’re going to look at a story in the recommended reading listed by the editors in the call, The Sentinel written by Arthur C. Clarke in 1951 and eighteen years before the Moon Landing  (pdf available online by clicking here). We’ll compare Clarke’s story to one that appeared on Daily Science Fiction in 2018, The Third Martian Dick Temple by Sheila Marie Borideux.

*spoilers*

The two stories are fun to compare because they share many ideals of exploration and discovery beloved to science fiction. Clarke’s story follows the awe of finding a moonbase far beyond human technology. Eager humans break it apart to study what they can learn from the alien culture and technology. In the end, wonder turns to fear.

In Borideux’s story, the human protagonist discovers her third temple on Mars. There is an initial, exciting moment of discovery, followed by abject disappointment. The temple is full of penis statues, just like the other two temples. The work of cataloguing the endless Martian dicks wears away at her. She doesn’t want to do this anymore, this is meaningless, demeaning, and this is such a let-down after all of our dreams of space.

What I like about these two stories side-by-side is that the first reflects the hope of space travel so prevalent in the 1950’s and the second perfectly captures the anticlimactic future we have found ourselves in seventy years on. Otherwise, these stories are essentially the same idea written on a different theme. We haven’t fulfilled the potential we dreamed of in the 50’s and our story got jaded. It’s our once and present Moon. These stories also show us how a shift in theme can change a story completely, and that is something we can use to build ideas of our future Moon.

Writerly links worth sharing this week:

David Simon posted an eye-opening expose of the business of writing-and agenting writers-in Hollywood. It’s worth reading before you get into film options for your work.

If you’re new to submitting short stories, SFWA president and prolific short story writer Cat Rambo has created a few excellent youtube tutorials to get you started.

Happy writing!

Submit Your Stories Sunday: time to have fun

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. Following this, I’ll recommend a linked story to help inspire your submission and discuss why I think its a good fit for the call for submissions.

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Translunar Traveler’s Lounge

Eligibility: fun speculative fiction under 5 000 words

Take Note: the editors want stories where the good wins the day

What makes this call stand out: this is the first call for submissions from a new market. Send them your best work and help them succeed!

Payment: $0.03 per word USD, with a minimum of $20 per story.

Submit by: April 15th, 2019

Click here to go to the original call for details.

A story to ignite your creativity:

Since this market is new, it can be tricky to know what the editors are looking for. To remedy this, we’ll look at a fun story written by the co-editor of Translunar Traveler’s Lounge, Aimee Ogden. Ogden’s story, Dances With Snoglafanians, was published on Daily Science Fiction (DSF) early last year. You can read it for free on DSF’s site by clicking here. I’ll wait.

*hums a tune while waiting

Okay, so there we had a science fiction story merrily making jokes at our species’ expense. It quietly pokes fun at our hero tropes, hubris, our alien planet stories, and it feels satisfying.

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Ogden increases the cheekiness by spending most of a paragraph detailing how Chris (or is it Steve?) achieves some monumental task, only to spend the final sentence juxtaposing that achievement with a small detail of humiliation and/or incompetence. She doesn’t overdo it, spending three paragraphs in this pattern before moving on, and it works, leaving the reader smirking at Chris/Steve’s expense. This kind of sequence is as fun to write as it is to read. Try it and see for yourself.

The ending (warning: spoilers, but seriously, it’s under 1k words, go read it) reveals that same pattern of false achievement followed by revealed incompetence has also been used over the entire plotline. Chris/Steve has spent his role in the story saving the Snoglafanians and in the final quarter he’s revealed to have played the fool BUT in so doing, does manage to rescue the Snogs from humanity. Its a fun twist that takes the story’s cheekiness to a new level, but it doesn’t come across as insulting to humanity because Ogden has been setting the reader up for it all along. Instead, it’s a good chuckle at our own expense.

An important thing to remember while writing a story like this is to have fun writing it. If you’re grinning while you write it, the reader will be grinning while they read it. Good luck.

Happy writing!

 

 

Submit Your Stories Sunday: dinosaurs

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 ignite your creativity and get you thinking in a new way about your submission and I’ll wrap it up with the writerly news of the week.

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Cast of Wonders’ Dinovember

Eligibility: speculative stories about dinosaurs aimed for an audience 12 to 17 years of age. Characters may be older than the audience, but the story should focus on firsts, wonder, and avoid adult elements.

Take Note: all submissions to Cast of Wonders must be anonymous

What makes this call stand out: Cast of Wonders offers their stories online and in podcast format. Anonymous submissions ensure stories are judge based on story merit rather than by author’s fame/gender/race.

Payment: $0.06 per word for original fiction

Submit by: this call is open from April 1st to April 15th

Click here to go to the original call for details.

A story to ignite your creativity:

My current favorite dino-story is The Tale of the Three Beautiful Raptor Sisters and the Prince Who Was Made of Meat by Brooke Bolander. It appears in the Dinosaur issue of Uncanny magazine where you can read it for free by clicking here. I can’t help but wonder if this story will actually appear as a reprint for Cast of Wonder’s Dinovember call. Cast of Wonders looks for stories with elements of firsts (*takes note*) and The Tale follows a velociraptor who leaves her sisters for the first time. It’s a good fit. She leaves these sisters to solve the mystery of a prince who doesn’t act like other humans. Once in the prince’s castle, the raptor meets his betrothed, a princess with a side of witchery who can speak raptor. While the prince’s behavior proves to be his personal blend of immaturity, foolishness, and privilege, the level-headed princess steps into her story role as friend and ally.

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Cover art by Galen Dara

The Three Beautiful Raptor Sisters is bright and unexpected for being told from the perspective of a dinosaur, and Bolander does it with such perfect detail. The itch of a tick between feather quills where your beak will not reach, the scent of blood, and the joy of a successful hunt – alien, but focused to evoke the empathy of a human reader.

This perspective is further filtered through the writerly tone of the story: a loving grandmother tells this story to us as we lay in our beds, eyes scratchy with sleep. This grandmotherly narrator leads us deep inside a story that otherwise we may have found too strange to bear. Bolander has taken the strange and wrapped it up in something not only familiar, but easy to trust. Sure, your storytelling grandmother might be a velociraptor but shh, quiet, listen, grandma’s talking. Bolander pulls you in, filling your mind with a dinosaur fairy tale and by the end of it we are hatchling raptors peeping from our nests, hanging on her every word.

To date, this is the only dinosaur fairy tale I have had the pleasure of reading. I wanted to highlight the Three Beautiful Raptor Sisters for the Dinovember call for this very reason: what other types of story are in need of a dinosaur? What classic story could do with a retelling involving a few dinosaurs in place of human or animal characters? How far can your imagination bend to accommodate a brontosaurus or two?

Writerly links worth sharing this week:

My feeds were filled with book piracy this past week. Like TV shows, movies, and music, illegal book downloads are hitting artists hard. The Guardian posted on excellent breakdown of the hows, whys, and detrimental effects in this article.

Kevin Powers wrote a poignant review of Vonnegut’s Slaughter-House Five for its fiftieth anniversary in the New York Times. CW for war and gun violence.

Happy writing!