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November 25, 2006

SF Story Call for Submissions

I'm calling for submissions for my blog! Okay, it's a new idea, and it may die out very, very soon if I get a great job and can't keep this up, or if nobody submits anything, which is far more likely, ... but here's the idea:

The Idea: Once a month I would like to post an SF story (for our purposes, "SF" means "Speculative Fiction", i.e. science fiction, fantasy, alternate history, horror, magical realism, combos thereof, or etc.) based upon a particular idea, topic, or new technology.

How It Will Work: I will post an idea, topic, or ... thing here, will sit back and wait for submissions, and a month later, will close submissions and post the best story. That is to say, post the story I think is best according to constantly shifting criteria which I will not explicate. The stories must address the topic or technology or thing as an integrated part of their central conceits or plots. That is to say, don't pull some random SF story out of your drawer, add a scene in which somebody talks about or uses the thing, and think that's going to cut it. It won't.

The Purpose: is to get people to write new stories --- and they can be bad, I don't expect them to be great --- to get them thinking about current topics. Also, to get people to write things quickly and not be afraid. You know already that this story won't end up in Interzone (since if I "publish" it, they probably won't take it.) I also want people to get an opportunity to try something new in terms of technique, writing strategy, world, characters, etc. So just let yourself go and devil take the hindmost.


  • Because this is a blog format, we don't want a post that will go on forever and ever. So let's say you keep it under 2000 words, exceptions only for really fantastic stuff (that is to say, if it's 5000 words and the first paragraph makes my teeth grind at night, you will get no benefits, doubt or otherwise, and the delete button will get an early workout.) I don't feel bad about imposing this limit because you're all writing these stories from scratch, right?
  • Once again, the stories must address the topic or technology or thing as an integrated part of their central conceits or plots. Seriously. Don't try to fake it. I will nail you.
  • Please paste the story into an email and send it to seelight44 down yahoo way. This means no funky fonts or formats. Just paragraphs full of sentences full of words. Please put "SF Story Sub" and your name in the subject line.

A Note On "Quality": If I don't get any good submissions, then I just won't post anything. "Good" in this case, does not mean perfect or polished. You only have a month at most and I don't believe that most writers can turn out a perfect story based on somebody else's theme in a month or less. What I want to see is a story that's full of life and energy, full of that juice that makes the world and characters and situations come alive for you, that makes you forget that there's a real world outside your head for 20 minutes or so.

A Strong Desire: Anyone who reads this blog will be aware that I am very conscious of race, class, and gender issues, and have strong words for published writers who use literature to reify existing hierarchies, or simply fail to note the mechanics of said hierarchies and reify them by default. If you have never thought about such things, your new little 2000-word story is a great place to start. Try writing a protag who is much older than you, or a different gender or race than you (with gender, I particularly encourage people to try characters who are transgender or whose gender identities aren't simply female/male but more complex), or comes from a signifcantly less, or significantly more, advantaged background than yours. Try to get deep and avoid stereotypes (you know stereotypes: those easy "ideas" that jump into your head, seemingly as a gift from your muse).

So Here's The First Topic:
"Robotics used to create custom-themed interactive game park rides."
Submissions Due Date: December 25, 2006, Christmas Day.
Will Post (or try to post): Jan 1, 2007.


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Oh man, I was thinking of something...then I read "a strong desire." Wow.

be challenged, T! it doesn't have to be great. it just has to be alive! and who knows where that life comes from each time? start small. make just a little change to your protag and see where that takes you.

that's the point of this exercise!

You know I just realized from looking at your blogroll that you are most likely a science fiction writer. Sooooo....does that mean you will totally tear apart our submissions in a vicious manner? And do you have a preferred email address to send to?

no, i'm not interested in critiquing your work, just putting it up on the blog. anyway, when i'm in a workshop or crit, i'm blunt, but not vicious.

i've done lit editing before and i tended to be a pretty hands-on editor, but here i'm not going to be, beyond doing a bit of copyediting and proofreading.

so it'll be a yes or no prospect. no vicious critiques.

please send to seelight44 at yahoo dawht com.

Doh! Maybe I should have read the instructions more carefully then I would have caught your email addy.

There is a link to a story from the "theme" statement. Is the story supposed to specifically address the technology in that gizmag article? Can we deviate at all? If so how far can we deviate?

deviate at will! it's a jumping off point. of course, if your story ends up having nothing to do with robotic amusement park rides, or robots in malls or offices, or amusement park rides in malls or offices, or robot rides as art, etc, etc. *whatsoever* then i probably won't consider posting it.

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