So, yes, right then, editor hat on and all that…
For Urban Mythic, we are seeking contemporary tales with all the magic and wonder of myth and legend, blending modern life with the traditions of folklore from around the world. Whether lurking in dark alleys or brash shopping malls; from shanty towns to the floating cities of Venice, Bangkok or Dubai; swanky riverside penthouse lofts or humble suburban semis, we want to see how the mythic is woven into the everyday.
We want fantasy that entertains but also pushes beyond the usual urban fantasy boundaries; fast-paced action; folk tales re-imagined; mythic creatures adapting to the urban environment; noir; humour; horror (with recognisable mythic elements); literary or lighter styles. Fully realised characters are a must and solid plots extremely desirable.
We don’t want: secondary worlds; steampunk; SF; zombies; paranormal romance or erotica. Also, no human sacrifice; magic help-lines; religion; gore or mythic-beastie love triangles. No poetry.
Original fiction only. Between 3,000 and 8,000 words.
Electronic submissions only, to Jan Edwards and Jenny Barber at firstname.lastname@example.org
Send as an email attachment in standard manuscript format in RTF/doc/docx.
Email subject line should take the form Title/author’s name/word count (i.e. My Great Story/Jane Doe/5,000 words). Full contact details must be included on the mss front/ first page.
Payment: £10 advance, royalties, plus a paperback copy of the book on publication.
Urban Mythic will be published as paperback in 2013 and then be followed by an eBook edition.
Submissions close 31st March 2013. No acceptances/rejections will be made until after this date.
Expanded subs guidelines can be found on the Alchemy Press site here.
And because we really want you to have the best chance at getting in, here are my particular preferences and niggles… (Jan will be blogging her own shortly!)
Do not assume the guidelines don’t apply to you. The wordcount is firm and we’re really serious about those things we don’t want to see because, honestly, some of them don’t apply to the theme, and some of them are things we’ve seen so many times in the slushpile our brains automatically shut down as soon as we see a story with them in.
So – to repeat, this is not an anthology for your poetry, secondary worlds, steampunk, SF, zombies, paranormal romance or erotica. We don’t want to see human sacrifice, magic help-lines, heaven/hell as a corporation, mythic-beastie love triangles or relentless gore.
Also – do not send us fan fiction with the serial numbers filed off, main characters who spend the entire story in denial of the supernatural elements around them, anything remotely resembling a mid-life crisis, someone in the midst of writer’s block (or other artist’s block), anything with an obvious twist or dream endings (they rarely work). In fact, check out the Strange Horizons page on what they see too often, that pretty much covers a lot of the stuff that makes us cringe too!
And avoid anything vaguely epistolary. Due to excessive experience in multiple slushpiles, I can’t read any story that’s set out as letters/emails/diary entries/tweets etc.
Don’t go overboard with the covering email – keep it short and to the point. If you use Word, don’t forget to turn off your track changes and accept all changes before you send the doc, because it is very distracting when it all shows up. 🙂
Don’t waste your first page. Open strong, don’t waffle, don’t smack us in the face with an epic infodump on your story’s version of the world or the complete history of your protagonist. We can work these things out as we read. Give us an interesting character and situation to make us keep reading.
Diversity is good. I’m all about encouraging diversity in all elements of the anthology. We’ve said in the guidelines that we’re interested in settings and cultures not traditionally covered in urban fantasy but make sure they’re well researched and not exoticised. Picking a location just because it looks shiny is a no-no – give us depth and a respectful understanding of the local culture and folklore. Likewise with your choice of protagonist – we’re very open to diverse perspectives and hearing the stories of people who are traditionally underrepresented in urban fantasy. I’d definitely like to see more stories with gay/bi/trans characters in or a protagonist in the more mature age range. See the Resources page for links to useful articles on avoiding cultural appropriation etc.
I like humour and satire and generally fun stories. A bit of subtle social commentary never goes amiss so long as it doesn’t get overbearing or preachy. I like stories that are fast and to the point, with plenty of plot-related action. I like things that introduce new concepts and that mash up genres. I also like stories that are slower and create an atmosphere, things with a decent plot that are also mood pieces. I’ve a soft spot for a gorgeously turned phrase, though watch out that it doesn’t go purple.
Mainly it’s all about the characters. I can forgive a lot in a story, but if the characters are thin or cliche or generally unpleasant assholes with no story logic behind their personality, then I lose interest. I have very low tolerance for obsessively racist/sexist/homophobic characters, even if they meet a grisly end. I like characters whose choices move the plot along, characters who have a strong voice and obvious personality. I prefer characters with a bit of experience in their profession and/or with the mythic element of the story, as I’ve read far too many stories where a newbie is just discovering the weird things and spends the whole story having everything explained to them.
So get your stories in! That Alchemy Press site link again!