If there’s any auspicious day to be a writer, it’s most likely today, William Shakespeare’s birthday. But I’ll spare you the astrology and entrails- or tea-leaf readings and simply wish the Bard a happy birthday. What do you get the 450-year-old cultural icon who has everything? Naturally, you write in his honour.
Title page of the First Folio, with copper engraving of Shakespeare by Martin Droeshout. Image courtesy of Elizabethan Club and the Beinecke Rare Book & Manuscript Library, Yale University (via Wikipedia).
On that note, here are some midweek markets to help you blast away that coating of quintessence-dust!
- Get grisly: Writer, it’s the wee hours of the morning and you’re plotting revenge. If you can scare people with your own desert places or alien races, then Dark Markets could be after your new blood. Check out this clearinghouse/treasure-trove of sources and resources to send your “dark” writing darlings out to, for possible sacrifice. It’s wordcraftery, Lovecraftery, and more!
- Love Your Mother: Brother, can you spare a rhyme? Okay, it need not rhyme, but if you can tap into a brevity of wit about Mother Nature/Earth Day, Six-Word Memoirs and SMITH magazine want your six-worded thoughts. Their SixContest #22 seeks nuggets of “What You’d Say to Mother Nature” and features a small prize (a keychain). Submit through Friday, 25 April, until 3:00PM ET, on their site. Good green luck to you all!
- You down with OTP? That would be On the Premises, “a Web-based fiction magazine . . . [that] aims to promote newer and/or relatively unknown writers who can write what we feel are creative, compelling stories told in effective, uncluttered, and evocative prose.” There are no entry fees. Nonetheless, they offer cash prizes, publication/exposure for winners, and free critiques for contest finalists who do not get published (nonfinalists can also purchase critiques). The latest contest unravels in the form of decisions. They write: “One or more characters face an especially difficult decision.” To find further criteria for your “1,000 but no more than 5,000 words” piece due 30 May 2014, visit OTP online. Note that they also hold mini-contests (with small cash prizes) for only their e-newsletter subscribers. My personal observation as a several-year newsletter subscriber is that if you’ve got spec-fic (speculative fiction) chops, this market will be particularly fruitful for you.
Hic sunt dracones!
A three-headed Russian dragon (titled “Общины св. Евгении,” 1912) from Wikimedia Commons. Originally by Ivan Yakovlevich Bilibin.
For those of us many years in arrears on our Latin studies, as I, this phrase is translated as “Here are dragons.” To date, this sentence has been found on a dyad of old globes.
Dragons perhaps best typify that crux of imagination and uncertainty. They are terrible and terrifying to some, powerful and majestic myth to others.
On that note, let’s get on the trail of some speculative-fiction writing markets, where I hope you’ll be able to chart your own course to creativity, complete with dragons or critics (or do I repeat myself?). As always, please read back issues of the publications themselves (where available) or subscribe to them; scour their pages or Web sites to see what work they like to publish; do your own research on the market(s); and, if you decide to submit, marry yourself to their submission guidelines or calls for queries.
- Even if you’ve never personally made the Kessel Run in under 12 parsecs, if you write science fiction (or fantasy), Parsec might be just the venue for you. Their latest short story contest, with a theme of “parch,” seeks stories from the horror, fantasy, and science fiction genres. “Stories must be original, unpublished, unsold and no more than 3500 words in length,” and can be submitted only by non-professional writers, whom they define as “those who have not met eligibility requirements for SFWA or equivalent: sale of a novel or sale of 3 stories to a large circulation publication.” Deadline is April 30, so throw on that wingéd thinking cap!
- Try it before it’s gone (time travel notwithstanding): Kazka Press has an unthemed SFF (“sci-fi, fantasy, horror, or related sub-genres”) writing contest, called 713 flash fiction after a previous incarnation of a 713-word count, whose deadline is April 20 and, the month after that, nil.Sadly, this speculative fiction competition is closing after April 2014, so get to work on your as-yet-unpublished short story between 500 and 1,000 words. They note that “If you’re selected as a winner of our monthly contest, we’ll purchase First Worldwide Electronic Rights from you for $15, regardless of word count.”
- And now, at last armageddon (translation: I’ma gettin’) to this week’s last market. Do you have a disturbing apocalyptic potboiler of a manuscript? Then Dystopia Press might be just the place for your chiseled wordcraftery. DP publishes “post apocalyptic (what happens after the world/civilization collapses) and dystopian (what happens after the world/society veers off in some disturbing direction) trade paperback novels.” If you have an 80,000- to 100,000-word unpublished manuscript, consider working up a synopsis and sending them the first 50 double-spaced pages of the edited manuscript. Submissions are managed free via the online service Submittable. Read complete submission details here.
Happy wordcrafting, fellow spec-fic-ionados!
GENRE: Fantasy or possibly magic(al) realism
WORD COUNT: 102
Meab had dared me, so I had to.
In an auburn sea my footsteps cracked open midribs and sound mingled with mossy smells. Each gust drizzled my courage on the receding forest floor.
“Stay away from that cage of crape myrtle,” Grandpa waylaid us as we were leaving.
I could imagine little Meab’s back melting into Lookinglass Rock. His words knelled yet: No one’s ever come back from inside. It steals breath, you know.
As I neared the edge of the tangle of trees, my chest cinched. Are my still-wet wings enough to keep me from eternal silence in the Gnarl?
If you are a writer, I encourage you to participate in Friday Fictioneers, for which this piece was written. Thanks for stopping by, and please visit again.