Let Your Words Fly: Submission Bonanza 2015

photo (7)Do you have stories that have been hibernating over winter in the caves of your computer files? Poems that have sleepily spent the dark months hiding from the cold snuggled between the pages of your notebook? Blog posts or essays that are destined to fly in the summer breeze and see a new audience?

It’s time for a Submission Bonanza, and I’d love for you to join me!

Here in Alaska, the new, green life is taking shape. The air feels fertile and full of possibilities. Birds are sending their songs out into the world and all this makes me feel like I should follow suit. With the start of summer, there’s the reminder of the possibilities that exist and the importance of our art seeing the light of day, stretching in the sunshine and basking in the warmth of the outdoors.

Two years ago at this time, I began a Submission Bonanza. It was an attempt to start getting my work out in the world, which I had been terrible about doing. It had been a long time since I had submitted anything anywhere, thinking of myself as not-a-real-writer, as someone who just wrote to make myself happy. At some point, I realized that writing, for me, is actually about connection and the real reason I was not submitting my work anywhere wasn’t because it was “just for me” but because I was afraid of the rejection. I mean, this poem is my soul; how could I stomach someone saying it wasn’t good enough?

Two years and hundreds of rejections later, I am stronger. I know now how to take the rejection letters. Being an editor of a magazine myself, I see how subjective the process can be and I know that it’s not a reflection of the worth of my soul.

I also have quite a few publications under my belt, because as subjective and harrowing as the process can be, there will also be moments when your work falls into the lap of someone who gets you, someone who connects with what you are trying to say. And they’ll want to share that with other people. Which, honestly, is kind of magical.

I have to say, I’ve fallen off the wagon a bit, been remiss in keeping my work flying out into the world and, thankfully, nature has reminded me that it’s time again.

submission bonanza logo 2 copySo, I’ll be doing another Submission Bonanza this year, 30 submissions in 30 days. For the whole month of June, I’ll be keeping a running list of literary journals that I submit to, and I’ll highlight some of the best ones so that you can submit to them, too.

If you’re new to submitting, check out my Guide to Creating Your Own Submission Bonanza, Choosing and Selecting Submittable Pieces, Finding Literary Magazines, and Six Tips for Perfect (Professional) Cover Letters.

Feel free to use the Submission Bonanza logo and join up. I’ll keep you posted with how things are going. Keep me posted as well!

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How to Tell a Messy Story: Divina Trace by Robert Antoni

divina trace

 

 

“This is magical realism with an avant-garde twist, as if Garcia Márquez and Joyce had themselves engaged in unholy cohabitation,” says Gustavo Pérez Firmat, referring to Robert Antoni’s Divina Trace. This is indeed an apt portrayal. Divina Trace is the story of Magdalena Divina, the patron saint of Corpus Christi, an imagined island in the Caribbean. We are introduced to the story by Dr. Johnny Domingo, Jr., who gives us the story from the points of view of his grandparents, a former slave, his father, the abbess of the local convent, the saint herself, and Hanuman, the monkey messenger from The Ramayana. The story itself is a wild ride, a mix of religions, histories, and sciences that come together to paint the ungraspable picture of miracles and mysteries. The elusiveness of this story is both created and made more manageable for the reader through the use of structure, language, form, and repetition.

Though the story itself is messy, with the blurred edges that come with the intense humidity of island life, the structure is nearly mathematical, precisely formed. In each chapter, Johnny Domingo introduces us to a narrator who tells him what they know of the story of Magdalena Divina. These narrators make a perfect palindrome, with chapters being told in kind by Granny Myrna, Papee Vince, Evalina, Dr. Domingo (Sr.), Mother Superior Maurina, Magdalena, Hanuman, Magdalena, Mother Superior Maurina, Dr. Domingo (Sr.), Evalina, Papee Vance, and Granny Myrna. In this way, the chapters mirror themselves, front to back, During Hanuman’s retelling, in nearly the exact middle of the book, lies a mirror. Almost exactly one-quarter and three-quarters of the way through the book, during the chapters of Dr. Domingo Sr., there is the same page from a medical journal. This structure gives the reader something to hold on to as the story and the language falls apart.

The language of this book plays a particularly big role. There are very few sections which are written in standard English. Even Johnny Domingo, who was educated in America, slips into Caribbean dialect as he writes. This is even more evident in the voices of the storytellers. Each person has their own language and way of speaking. Mother Superior, for example, uses Spanish and cusses like a sailor. Evalina talks in a thick Caribbean accent. Magdalena’s chapters are written like epic poetry or revelations from god. There are line breaks and it is the retelling of Indian epic The Ramayana. The most striking chapter is that in which Hanuman speaks. In this chapter, the language is meant to be English, but in the voice of a monkey. Hanuman invites us to look at the monkey in the mirror, “Dat sapian night, desperate, you dropasleep deaddrunk, again dreaming you writereading, you simian Bible of baboons e-eeing. Ayes close you now you simian fossil potto, you simian primate missinglink:” and then comes the page of the book that is a mirror. But this is far from the uneducated jabbering of a mindless chimp. This chapter references Helene Cixous and Julia Kristeva, which forces the reader to think about the ways in which intelligence and standard English work together or don’t. This chapter is certainly disorienting, but by this time the reader is prepared for it because the language has been slowly becoming more and more slippery and nuanced as the different voices take the stage.

Antoni uses a variety of forms to tell this story as well. In addition to the mirror and the pages and pictures from medical journals, he also uses epic poetry, personal letters, knot tying diagrams, musical notation, recipes, and newspaper articles. The myriad sources underlines one of the main themes of the book: Who has the authority to tell stories and decide which versions are told? In each chapter, the story of Magdalena Divina is told again, sometimes negating previous chapters, sometimes adding new information, sometimes raising new questions. This is done in such an artful way that the reader is compelled to keep going, even through the sometimes confusing, difficult-to-read varieties of language.

Perhaps one of the most intriguing, subtle techniques that Antoni uses is repetition. Each chapter is a repetition of the story. We see the same scenes from different points of view and in different languages, which make them different scenes all together. The characters also begin repeating themselves and each other. There are echoes of phrases from previous storytellers, making it difficult for the reader to tell where the story is coming from and whose words are whose. This shines an interesting light on the way that myths and histories and collective stories are told, and retold, what gets picked up and what doesn’t.

 

*This post is part of a series on the craft of writing called Reading for Writers.  This series examines a variety of authors to ascertain the choices they’ve made in their writing and the effects of those choices so that we as writers can make better decisions in our own writing.

Call for Submissions: Eurynome

Eurynome is now open for submissions!  Check them out below!

 

Eurynome publishes speculative fiction on a rolling basis. To ensure that everyone is on the same page, the following is a broad definition that Eurynome embraces:

Speculative fiction is an umbrella term encompassing the more fantastical fiction genres, specifically science fiction, fantasy, horror fiction, weird fiction, supernatural fiction, superhero fiction, utopian and dystopian fiction, apocalyptic and post-apocalyptic fiction, and alternate history in literature.

Clearly, speculative fiction includes a wide array of genres with varying gradients of fantasy and realism. We invite stories that make the reader think, not cringe. Please send your excessively gory or sexually explicit stories to a different magazine. However, we do like humor.

Eurynome gives special attention to pieces that retell old stories or myths for a modern audience, though a well-written fiction piece outside of those measures can find a home here. Please keep in mind that Eurynome is a digital publication, and therefore your submitted work should be convenient for on-screen reading. Don’t let unwieldy paragraphs damage the flow of your story.

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We do not accept simultaneous submissions or reprints, and please only submit one story at a time. If your finished story can already be found online (even on your personal blog) then unfortunately we do not wish to publish it. At this time, we are unable to monetarily compensate authors, but we hope to change that in the future.

If your story is accepted, congratulations! We will let you know when to expect your piece online. If we offer to publish your piece, Eurynome claims first world electronic rights. This means we reserve the right to be the first place to feature the story online, though you may submit it for subsequent reprints to other digital and physical publications that wish to accept it. You also retain your audio rights to the story.

If you receive a rejection, it may (but not always) include feedback on how the piece fell short. In some cases, we may invite you to resubmit after evaluating our feedback. Otherwise, however, please do not submit the same story again.

Before your story is published, we reserve the right to make minor (mostly cosmetic) edits. Any large edits will be sent to the author before publication for their feedback.

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FLASH FICTION

Eurynome accepts flash fiction, which is defined as a fiction piece between 500 and 1,000 words.

If you wish to submit a piece to the magazine, please send an e-mail to submissions@euryno.me, and attach a .rtf or .doc file containing your story in manuscript format. For the subject line, write:

[FLASH FICTION SUBMISSION: author name – story title]

In the body of the email, please include a short (2-3 sentences) biography about yourself, including a link to your website and/or your Twitter handle. Please also include an approximate word count, and tell us how you found our journal.

The average response time for flash fiction is under a week, but is usually quicker. If you do not receive a response after one month, please send a follow-up e-mail. Stories are read and responded to in the order they are received.

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SHORT STORIES

A short story is defined as a fiction piece between 1,001 and 7,500 words.

If you wish to submit a piece to the magazine, please send an e-mail to submissions@euryno.me, and attach a .rtf or .doc file containing your story in manuscript format. For the subject line, write:

[SHORT STORY SUBMISSION: author name – story title]

In the body of the email, please include a short (2-3 sentences) biography about yourself, including a link to your website and/or your Twitter handle. Please also include an approximate word count, and tell us how you found our journal.

The average response time for short stories is about a week, but is usually quicker. If you do not receive a response after one month, please send a follow-up e-mail. Stories are read and responded to in the order they are received.

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ARTWORK

Eurynome is regularly seeking artwork to complement our story selections. To inquire about providing an illustration for the magazine, please send the art you would like to submit, a short (2-3 sentences) biography, and a link to your portfolio (if applicable) tosubmissions@euryno.me. We accept artists of all skill levels, experience, and styles. At this time, we are unable to monetarily compensate artists. We do not commission artists, but instead accept their previously-created artwork. Artists retain their rights to submitted artwork.

Call for Submissions: Permafrost’s First Annual Book Prize in Fiction

 

 

Permafrost Magazine, the farthest north literary journal for writing and the arts, located at 64° 50′ N (198 miles from the Arctic Circle), is now accepting submissions for its First Annual Book Prize.  Check it out!

Also, take a look at the latest issue, which is out now!

We are proud to announce that we are now accepting submissions for the 1st Annual Permafrost Book Prize in Fiction!

Click here to submit!

 

Prizes:

The winner will win $1,000 and publication of their manuscript through the University of Alaska Press.

Eligibility:

We welcome manuscripts from all living writers the world over who are writing in English. Writers can be both published and unpublished. However, we will not consider manuscripts that have already been published elsewhere or have been self-published. We do accept simultaneous submissions, but please notify us immediately via email if your manuscript is accepted elsewhere. No past or present student or paid employee is eligible to enter the Book Prize Contest.

When to Submit

We are currently accepting submissions; the deadline ends on December 1, 2014.

Manuscript

Manuscripts must be a minimum of 150 pages long. All entries will be read anonymously. Please include two cover pages: the first listing only the title of the manuscript, the second including the author’s name, mailing address, telephone number, and email address. An acknowledgements page may be included also if the author wishes.

We accept only electronic submissions through our Submittable page.

Entry Fee

We ask a $20 entry fee to submit your manuscript to the contest.

Notifications

A winner should be selected by May 1, 2015. Results will be emailed shortly thereafter.

Judge

Our judge for the contest will be Benjamin Percy, whose works include Red Moon, Refresh, Refresh, The Wilding, and The Language of Elk.

Questions?

Please address inquiries to the editors at editor@permafrostmag.com.

Form and Format in Fiction: Les Guérillères by Monique Wittig

Les Guérillères by Monique Wittig is an otherworldly story of an apocalyptic war between men and women. Wittig writes in French, from a feminist perspective. In an attempt to subvert traditional ‘patriarchal’ forms of literature, Wittig uses a variety of interesting techniques to tell a different kind of story.

Structurally, it is difficult to call this work of fiction a novel in the traditional sense. There is no one character that the book follows. It could be argued that the book tells the story of “they” (humankind? womankind?) but there is not one personal main character. Occasionally, specific people are mentioned, but each is only mentioned for a few sentences before the writing reverts back to the more generalized story. Additionally, the book does not set up a linear narrative. Instead, Wittig writes Les Guérillères in a series of vignettes. These vignettes serve to give glimpses into the everyday life and the war of this possibly futuristic society. Some of the vignettes tell stories of specific people living in the society, some of them tell of the goddesses that the society worship, some tell of the collective history (which seems to point to a time much like present day) and some tell of specific points in the war between the sexes. It is not abundantly clear that the vignettes are even in a relatively chronological order, which raises some interesting questions. For example, is the seemingly utopian (all-female?) society at the beginning of the book the result of the war, or is it what creates the battle?

In terms of format, Wittig makes sure that this book looks different than other books from the get-go. The first thing the reader is confronted with in this book is a poem in all capital letters. As the book progresses, the vignettes are dispersed between lists of names which are also in all capital letters. The effect of these lists is like that of a war memorial, name after name of those lost in the fight. Less frequently, but perhaps more strikingly, the vignettes hold giant circles between them, whole pages on which the only thing that is written is a circle. There are quite a few vignettes that tell the significance of the circle, which is the symbol of the vulva. This importance of the symbolism of the female anatomy then comes up again and again in retellings of our society’s stories which are reworked to make the circle symbolism paramount.

The strength of this book, for me, is in this formatting. The ways in which Wittig subverts the reader’s expectations asks important questions. We know what the language and the literature of tradition looks like. But what does the language and the literature of the oppressed look like? Are there heroes or heroines? Does it undermine the traditional chronological order? Are symbols important enough to include? How do you tell the story of a group of people? Are there stories that are better told in non-traditional formats? What happens when these formats become traditional?

I can’t help but feel that something is lost in the translation of this book. There seems to be something very important happening in the pronouns being used and those pronouns leave the reader with a plethora of questions. Who are “they?” Who is included in this “they” and who is not? Are we as readers supposed to identify with what “they” say? Are we supposed to be critical of what “they” say? The answers to these questions make for very different readings of the book. If “they” are an inclusive group which tells the truth and speaks for all people, then we might take what they say at face value. However, if we question what “they” say (as we might when we say “some people say…”) then the society in this book might be read as a feminist dystopia, a matriarchal society that is ridden with the same problems as present society only with the roles reversed.

I think where this book falls short is in the heavy-handedness of the story itself. Perhaps I am idealistic, but I like to believe that it will not take an apocalyptic war to create an equal and free society. The combination of this war of mythic proportions and the unusual format come together in a way that feels pedantic. Though the book makes the reader think and ask questions, it also feels like it is leading the reader to specific thoughts and questions instead of allowing the reader to come to her own conclusions. This book feels like a hybrid between theory and literature, a theoretical discussion made material on the page.

*This post is part of a series on the craft of writing called Reading for Writers.  This series examines a variety of authors to ascertain the choices they’ve made in their writing and the effects of those choices so that we as writers can make better decisions in our own writing.

Call for Submissions: Cake & Grapes

Another new(to me)! magazine that’s open for submissions: Cake & Grapes!  With a name like that, how can you not submit?  Check them out.

We at Cake & Grapes believe that art is anyone’s game. 

That’s why we’re opening our doors to you: to give you a chance. Flash fiction, short fiction, epic poetry, photographs, sestinas, sketches, films, paintings, sculptures, gifs, papier mache hats – we want them all. 

Show us what you’re made of, and we’ll show the world.

GUIDELINES

We don’t want to hamper your creativity; we just need to lay down some basic rules.

Prose
Short fiction, flash fiction, and non-fiction are all accepted. All prose submissions must be less than 2,500 words in length. Exceptions will only be made for essays that are relevant and irreverent.

Poetry
If humorous, epic poems will be tolerated. Otherwise, it’s fair game.

Artwork
As this is an online publication, we will only be able to accept photographs or scans of your artwork. Please be sure that your work is well-lit. We will consider original comics, sketches, sculptures, paintings, graphic designs, gifs, – you name it – for publication.

Video
All video submissions must be less than 10 minutes in length. We’re not the FCC, so no worries there.

Feel like you fit within our loose rubric?

SUBMIT!