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: Kidlit Edition

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.

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Zizzle

UPDATE: It has come to my attention that as of January 2019, Zizzle is charging writers a $3 (U.S. dollars) submission fee. I have removed the link to their submissions page as this is not industry standard and writers should be extremely wary.

Eligibility: Zizzle is a middle-grade ‘bookzine’ seeking stories from 500 to 1200 words which will appeal to readers 10 and up, including adults.

Take Note: their submission says that submissions are “free until December 31st, 2018.” Does that mean they will charge for submissions in 2019? Not sure, but I’d recommend subbing before the new year to err on the side of caution.

What makes this call stand out: these hardcover print magazines are stunning, the pay is wonderful, and yahoo, its a new kidlit market!

Payment: $100 USD per story.

Submit by: ongoing submissions, but don’t miss the section above regarding December 31st.

What I’m Reading:

The kids and I have made our way through Eeny Meeny Miney Mo: Tales for Tired Tykes. It’s a fun book of bedtime stories. The girls love picking out the story by choosing a picture and little Nimia is delighted by the bold colors and simple lines of Jon Stubbington’s illustrations.

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Table of Contents, with art by Jon Stubbington

Before I go deeper into my review, a caveat. There is a wide breadth of stories in here. There are sports stories, mindfulness tales, and many more, meant to appeal to a wide range of kids, but not necessarily to me. That bias will affect my reviews so I’m going to stick with the fantasy stories for my review, because that’s my wheelhouse. This is ten out of twenty-nine tales. Also, this review is intended for parents, so spoilers abound.

Lida’s Rainbow, by Ariel Stone, is the story of a land brown and cracked, without rain for a generation. The children, except for Lida, don’t believe in color anymore, for they’ve never seen any. After her father gives her a wishing stone, Lida makes her wish and awakens to a beautiful rain culminating in a breathtaking rainbow. This story left me with questions. Why no color anywhere? But the girls didn’t question it, they dug right in and delighted in the first drops falling on the roof and the vindication of the colorful rainbow.

The Boy Beneath the Beech Tree, by Edward Ahern, tells the tale of a terrible ogre who kidnaps a boy to do his chores for him while the boy’s Granny is away. With the help of a skunk, the boy is able to escape by locking up the ogre instead. After he hears the ogre moaning, the boy returns and releases the ogre after making him swear never to harm the boy or skunks again. I enjoyed this story very much, and I loved that the boy returned to the ogre rather than letting him die. I did worry this one might scare the girls, one of whom has endless nightmares about being kidnapped, so I read the ogre in the silliest voice I could come up with to tone down the suspense.. It worked.

Lady Ogress and Oglets, by Lyn Godfrey, follows the sole lady ogre in a village of ogres. After she finds a human baby in the forests, she conceals its humanity by coating it with a green face mask she makes for her complexion. The baby is noisy and fussy but cute and soon all the ogres want one. To satisfy demand, she travels to human orphanages and collects babies, coats them green, and delivers them. She keeps them green by sneaking in at night and giving them another coat. Of course, eventually she is caught, but all is well. The ogres have fallen in love with their babies. It’s a fun story., though I worried over how inclusive it was, despite its theme.

When Rivers Run Up, by Salena Casha, tells the story of an immature water-god dragon in a school for gods who unwittingly unleashes his water powers on a village and can’t shut them off. The villagers are in grave danger of being washed away forever until he uses his wits and fellow young gods’ help to tilt the world on its axis and save the village. Based on Chinese mythology, this is a wonderful story to use to teach kids about the way past generations saw the world.

Hector and the Moon Cat, by Daisy E. White, is the perfect story for kids plagued with nightmares. Hector notices a silver cat on his windowsill as he worries about dark dreams. The cat takes him on an adventure to the Moon Valley and explains that the moon cats collect bad dreams from children and hide them in the dark valley, where they can never return.

The Princess and the Dragon, by Wondra Vanian: Drewhilda’s parents worry that she will never marry and their kingdom will fall to her evil uncle. The feminist in me stopped and had a conversation with the girls about how women are more than capable of ruling before we carried on. Drewhilda is cursed by a witch that she will never find her true love until she tells them she loves them. Of course this is quite impossible and everyone is upset. Drewhilda decides to run away to a faraway aunt, where she ultimately meets a dragon. They become best friends. At last she blurts out that she loves her dragon friend and poof! he turns into a man. The fun part is that he isn’t just a man in his happily ever after, but can turn into a dragon and do terrible dragony deeds (like slaying evil uncles) when he wants. I thought that was a fun twist even though I do worry about the message that dragons could rule the kingdom but not the daughter. Hmmm.

The Post Pixie, by Phillippa Rae, tells the story of a mail carrying pixie who mixes up his deliveries. The gnome receives a tea cosy for a hat, and the Fairy Flower receives a hat to keep her tea warm. When they all meet for tea later, the pixie’s story comes out and everything is set to rights. While this is a simple story, the girls loved the idea of the tea party with gnomes, pixies, and fairies so much they acted it out the next day.

The Other Monster, by Anne E. Johnson, is a silly tale of mistaken identity. Elspeth, friend to the monster Gak, helps an unemployed wizard find the local evil monster only to discover and uncover the many misunderstandings that have lead the local folk to believe her friend Gak is evil. Together, they come up with a way to get the wizard’s job back and prove Gak is kind.

Elizabeth and the Lightning Sprite, by Trish Rissen, follows Elizabeth as she joins a lightning sprite above the clouds. She meets the thunder thumpers and the vast trampolines they use to make the thunder, and rides a rainbow home again when the storm is done. This is a simple story, but it gave my eldest good daydreams and smiles, and that’s what I want from a story.

Sir Blodry, Adventurous, Or: A Good Knight’s Work, Or: A Hero’s Work is Never Done, by D. J. Tyrer, is a humorous story about a knight who didn’t quite slay a dragon, but got all the glory for doing so anyway. King Arthur sends him off to deal with a new dragon and Sir Blodry decides to reason with the dragon, opting for a riddle instead of a fight. His cleverness wins out, the dragon must leave the kingdom, and Sir Blodry’s questionable reputation remains intact. My daughters and I agreed that this is a fun story. Silly in all the right places. Plus, it had cake.

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Writerly links worth sharing this week:

J. S. Pailly made this compelling case for why art, and writing, need science. Ray Bradbury would be proud.

Publishers Weekly posted about a creepily detailed phishing scam seeking manuscripts targeting writers.

Jami Gold offered this advice on How to Save a Broken Story.

Happy writing!

Submit Your Stories Sunday: Neon Druids, Tolkien, and C. S. Lewis

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. I’ll follow it up with my best read from the week to inspire your writing and a small collection of writerly articles to fuel your craft.

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Neon Druid: An Anthology of Urban Celtic Fantasy

Eligibility: Original fantasy stories from 100 to 10 000 words that contain characters from Celtic mythology and are set in an urban environment. Writers can submit one short story or two flash pieces.

Take Note: this anthology isn’t paying great rates, but that can mean a better chance of acceptance for newer writers looking to get more experience and publishing credits. Use your judgement.

What makes this call stand out: Celtic mythology contains a huge range of lesser-known fairies, goddesses, and monsters to work from. The possibilities are staggering.

Payment: $10 USD for short stories, $5 for flash fiction, which they list as up to 1 000 words

Submit by: December 10th, 2018

Click here to go to the original call for details.

What I’m Reading:

I picked up a copy of Bandersnatch: C. S. Lewis, J. R. R. Tolkien, and the Creative Collaboration of the Inklings by Diana Pavlac Glyer at my local library. It was an impulse loan which ended up being a fascinating read.

The Inklings is a critique group in Oxford that included Tolkien, C. S. Lewis, and many others. The writers met twice weekly, once for chatting and uproar, and once to read aloud their work and subject it to the criticism of their peers. Bandersnatch gives the reader a chance to be a fly on the wall of that group, to hear Lewis argue hobbits with Tolkien and Tolkien’s opinions of Narnia.

If you’re still on the fence of what a critique group can do for you, you should read this book. If you already have a critique group, you’ll find yourself nodding your head and commiserating with your heroes. My heroes, anyway. It might take the sting out of some of those harsher critiques when you see the greats suffered the same.

As a fan of Tolkien, I found myself thrilled with this book. As a writer, I felt inspired. While I read a library copy for this review, I’ve ordered a paper copy to keep on my writing desk to dip into when I need the inspiration.

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Writerly links worth sharing this week:

This article about a writer who won a prestigious writing award from the university that employs her as a janitor is nothing short of inspiring. I can’t stop smiling over how excited she is. She also makes an excellent point about choosing a stress-free job to keep one’s priority on writing.

Chuck Wendig was put in twitter jail this week, and he uses that experience to give an important warning for creative people on social media. NSFW: Chuck employs colorful language to make his point. The fallout from Wendig’s twittering, which you can read in subsequent posts, include his firing from three Star Wars projects and Marvel comics. There is a lot to unpack there as a writer with conviction. Wendig has long been outspoken against injustice.

Less writerly, more fangirl, Margaret Atwood published a review of my favorite book, Neil Gaiman’s The Graveyard Book, in the Guardian this past week. Just in time for Halloween.

Happy writing!

Submission Sundays: A Neurodivergent Guide to Space Time

Welcome to this week’s edition of Submission Sundays! 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.

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Spoon Knife 4: A Neurodivergent Guide to Space Time

Eligibility: Speculative, original fiction or poetry featuring the concepts of space, time, and neurodivergence. Following through to the original call in the link below will lead you to a greater explanation of what the editors categorize as neurodivergent.

Caveat: stories should not exceed 10 000 words.

What makes this call stand out: this collection offers a great chance to blow up some negative neurodivergent tropes once and for all.

Payment: $0.01 per word, currency unknown

Submit by: September 30th, 2018

Click here to go to the original call for details.

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Photo by Pixabay on Pexels.com

Writerly links worth reading this week:

Jenn Zuko tackled the “mother knows best” trope at Writer’s HQ. She pin-pointed exactly why the ending of the Hunger Games trilogy disappointed me, but also why many historical accounts of ‘bad-ass’ women disappoint as well.

Victoria Strauss at Writer Beware highlighted the disturbing fine print on a popular, or at least heavily sponsored, writing contest. In response to this criticism, the contest offered writers a half-off coupon for their entry fee. Um, what?

Joslyn Chase wrote an article about covers that sell for the Write Practice which offers wonderful strategies and tips for writers struggling with their back cover blurbs.

As writers on social media strive to become more inclusive, it’s common to see descriptions of images and memes on facebook, but did you know you can do the same for images on twitter? Yeah, me neither. Click through for full instructions.

Happy writing!

Submission Sundays: Tor Novellas 2

Welcome to this week’s edition of Submission Sundays. 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.

Copy of jennifershelby.blog

Tor Novellas

Eligibility: Original speculative fiction novellas from 20 000 to 40 000 words.

Caveat: Submissions must be polished and complete before submitting.

What makes this call stand out: This is Tor’s second opening to novellas, and the last expected opening for 2018. By opening to unsolicited submissions like this, writers have the chance to submit their work to an established publisher without first acquiring an agent.

Payment: Advance against royalties, or royalties.

Submit by: August 13th, 2018 (Please note they do not open the submission window until Monday, July 30th)

Click here to go to the original call for details.

Writerly links worth reading this week:

I was excited to find this lesson on tab indents for Word 2010. It’s handy for prepping submissions for web publication. Alas, the next day trusty laptop died and the new one uses Office 365, where the find and replace ^t does not work. If anyone has a similar guide to use with updated versions of word, please share with me!

This older post from Allison Maruska has excellent tips for manuscript editing.

In this interview Maria Dahvana Headley, she offers her methods of getting started when her brain refuses to let her write. When the heat is high and the sleep is rare, I need all the tricks I can collect to get the words out.

ProWritingAid shared 22 Rules for Storytelling from Pixar. I bristle at the idea of ‘rules’ but there is good stuff in there for kickstarting creativity.

Happy writing!

Submission Sunday: Lab Coats and Love Letters

Welcome to this week’s edition of Submission Sundays. 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.

Copy of jennifershelby.blog

Spark: Lab Coats and Love Letters

Eligibility: Original, paranormal romance flash fiction (or just regular romance) from 300-1000 words, though stories less than 700 words are preferred. Stories must follow the theme of ‘lab coats and love letters.’ I encourage writers to click through to their website as there are other themes and submission dates available.

Caveat: Authors are required to submit a professional headshot upon acceptance, to be published with the story. Selfies are not allowed. Do you have one? Can you get one? Is this feasible for you considering the small payment offered?

Payment: $0.02 per word, American, plus a print copy of the magazine.

Submit by: August 24th, 2018

Click here to go to the original call for details.

Writerly links worth reading this week:

This first link is a bit of a rabbit-hole, but as most markets are gearing up for their Halloween issues this should help you get into a macabre mood. It is an in-depth read about coffin flies sure to inspire a macabre tale or two.

The Write Practice published this piece on how to sell your books locally. The last section, on how to sell books in person, was particularly enlightening.

Whether you call them trigger warnings, content warnings, or content notices, Mythcreants has posted a thoughtful argument to their value. I’m still unpacking how I feel about the idea of rating books as we do movies.

Happy writing!