I see on social media that some people are just waiting for the calendar to flip over so they can hit the send button on their submissions, but I assume just as many people are in much earlier stages of their process. So here’s a sneak peek into what I’m thinking and looking for heading into this reading period:
- For both books I want to cover as wide a spectrum in themes, moods and voices as I possibly can. I want frightening corvids and goofy ones, wise scarecrows and menacing ones and everything in between.
- I want stories set in unique and interesting times and places because they couldn’t take place anywhere else. Lush settings that feel immersive and real.
- Give me characters with dimension.
- An hour after I finish your story and walk away will I be able to recall the characters with any detail? Are you sure? I’m going to be reading dozens and dozens of stories, make yours stand out.
- Please remember the anthology is called Corvidae, not Crows. I do want crow stories, but I also want to cover as many different birds within that family as possible. I want magpies, blue jays, treepies, choughs, rooks, nuthatches… see what I’m saying? The whole Corvidae family, not just the Corvus genus within it.
For both titles:
- A steampunk story and/or dieselpunk story.
- War story. Bonus points if it’s the Great War.
- A magic realism story.
- Something set in Asia*.
- Something creepy.
- Something that makes me laugh.
- Something that makes me cry.
- A story featuring a nest made from some sort of unusual material the/a bird has scavenged.
- A story where the bird fashions and/or uses an unusual tool.
- In our reality corvids inhabit every continent except Antarctica, so I’d love to see an Arctic/Antarctic story for Corvidae. Because.
- At least one story where the scarecrow isn’t man-shaped.
- A story where the scarecrow is not stuffed with straw (or blood, or a corpse). Surprise me.
- Scarecrows in space! C’mon, you know you wanna…
These lists are meant to be descriptive, not prescriptive. I want to try and help out a bit if you find yourself saying, “I’d really like to submit to those anthologies but I haven’t any idea where to start!” Please don’t read this and say, “Well, none of those describe my story, so I won’t even bother.” because really, the best submission of all is going to be the one that gives me something I didn’t even think to ask for, because it’s new and unique.
Make me care about your characters, vanish into your setting or fall in love with your prose and you’ll be a shoe-in for my short list.
*I chose Asia specifically because I’m intrigued by Kuebiko from Japanese mythology. I would give bonus points to anyone who creates their own mythology as well. :)
Full anthology submission guidelines here.