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Submissions call (YA anthology)

Back from WorldCon. More about that experience later. Right now I'm having a brain storm and so we're putting out a special call for submissions. In my head I'm imagining retellings of things like Anansi, Baba Yaga, American folktales (with an eye toward Spanish, Native American and/or African American focused stories), Chinese, Japanese, or Korean folktales. We'd also welcome other non-Eurocentric retellings (Middle Eastern, South American, Maori, etc.) of folk tales. Now, this isn't going to be an anthology of those original tales (though I do want copies of the source material so I can give the audience some background) instead I want to see them twisted. Take it to the future, take it off planet, set modern folks loose in the past...basically let's create a whole new stage for fantasy. I'm thinking a 5,000 word minimum with a 25,000 word maximum. And a Dec 1st deadline. Payment of $30 and a free copy of the anthology. It has a loose title of "Globalization...The Fantasy Edition" but that's just my cold medicine drugged brain at work. Expect a title contest for this anthology too. Did I miss anything? Oh yeah, submissions should follow our usual guidelines and be emailed to the verb.noire@gmail.com. Feel free to spread the word!
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15,000 word minimum with a 25,000 word maximum.

That seems unusually long for a YA anthology; aren't most chapter books around that length? I'm not complaining--I love novellas!--but doublechecking; it seems to me that would lead to an anthology with only eight or ten stories in it.
We debated a 10,000 word minimum but were concerned we'd wind up with some very abrupt endings. Though you do have a point about the number of stories as I was (in my head) aiming for at least a dozen if not more in this one so I'll back it up to 10,000.

Edited at 2009-08-11 09:03 pm (UTC)
I admit I don't know much (or anything, really) about YA anthologies, so for all I know the wordcounts you suggest are pretty standard. It just seems like the sort of book that would benefit from a really wide variety of stories.
If we wind up with 30 or more we'll probably split it into two editions.
I hope you do! That would be fabulous.
Hi. I've sold a number of stories to Ellen Datlow & Terri Windling's YA fantasy series. A 10,000 minimum is really quite... well, let's just say that's damn intimidating to many writers. Usually such stories are anywhere from 3-9K. Some stories just do not need that many words to tell (or retell).
Maybe I'm just very long winded...actually I think I'm just terrible at short stories now that you mention the idea of a 3,000 word story. For me that's barely enough time to get into the action.
Certainly as editor you are entitled to choose whatever word length restrictions you want. I just know that a high minimum would preclude a lot of talented people, especially for the sum of $30.
Meh, I cut it back to 5,000 just in case.
Great. I'll recommend this to friends. ethereal_lad has written in the past some beautiful pieces that have African-American folklore in them... I recommend his Sea, Swallow Me. I'm sure he'd be willing to offer a reprint.
Oooh. I've been noodling around with some retellings of the faerietales for a while.

I hope I can get the lazy muse to put down her bonbons.
I love fairy tale re-tellings. I've been working on one but it's waaaay too long, but I might try this for a good break from that one. :)
How long is too long? We are also contemplating a YA novel...
That'd be awesome if I ever finished this one. It's at 6,000 words right now and should be growing since I'm on the first part and I'm planning for it to be at least two or three parts when it's finished. The only problem is that the main characters are (mainly) Caucasian in the first part, although there are minority characters introduced in the second part that start playing huge roles.

...none of that makes sense, does it? :P
I like the sound of this already!
Wow. I don't typically write fiction at all, but I can't stop thinking about working with some of my favorite old Jewish folktales for this.
Do it do it do it!
wow, this sounds AWESOME. :D
You're not considering Slavic mythology eurocentric?

Off to ask my husband/his family some questions.
Oh my God I'm so excited for this to bear fruit. What a great idea.
This looks awesomely fascinating. I may have to turn my brain towards it, although my usual wordiness is more in the 5-7k range. But goshdarnit, I love YA and I like folktales, and...

Oh. Oh yes. Awesomesauce.
Minimum's down to 5k now. Go for it. *)
I saw. Now, of course, the hard part is finding just the right story. And that reminds me to ask the editor:

You say future, past, and off-planet are okay; what about the here and now, i.e. urban fantasy? And are you thinking to allow American settings with transplanted/juxtaposed elements, or are you looking to focus more on non-American/non-here-and-now? If I'm going to fire up my brain, I'd like to know what is and isn't allowed as far as time/place/setting.

I'm so excited to read this antho!
We'll take a look at urban fantasy as long as there's a real twist to the story.
I will try to see if I can find anything on my harddrive for submission. :)
Great minds and all that... I'm thinking of putting together something similar to this for the Philippines but for shorter stories. I'll spread the word about this :)
If you do a book like that, an actual paper book, I will be the first in line to buy it and add it to the shelf with my collection of Myths, Legends and Folklore books from around the world.}:P
This does sound amazing. I'm not usually a short story writer, but I love the idea behind this.
I've got a couple of stories featuring La Llorona that I'd like to submit, but they need reworking to make them less adult and more YA... what'll the selection process be like?
Ooh! I'm glad I checked in today. I'm so going to start thinking of something for this antho. Sounds great!
Hi there:

This looks super good, and like many other writers it also inspires me to get cracking on a project!

I do have a couple of questions, though, that earlier posters have brought up but that I don't see answered here. What I'm wondering is, what does non-Eurocentric mean to you? (I'm not asking about absolute definitions, of course. I just mean, what are you looking for for this anthology?)

Like an earlier poster, I was a little confused to see "Baba Yaga" listed; I think of Slavic and Rus folklore as being European. Similarly with the mention of Jewish folktales -- don't get me wrong, I love me some dybbuks, but the bulk of the body of Jewish folklore I'm familiar with arose from European communities.

Anyway, that's why I'm asking. Is there a clear line between the folkloric traditions you are interested in for this book, and the ones you're not? Or, like, is there also some grey area in between?

Thank you!
Basically we want to avoid retellings of Sleeping Beauty, Cinderella, Snow White etc. Things that are on a track that's been beaten regularly over the years. If something is really exceptional we'll check it out, but it feels like Baba Yaga and Jewish folktales are far enough out of pop culture to have a chance at really being fresh.

What's Europe and what's not?

Wow, Russia mentioned explicitly via the link to Baba Yaga. Although she is actually a character of many stories, not a story in herself, you can't really "retell Baba Yaga".

I'm actually from Russia (though living in Ireland now) and would like to try and participate. But I have a question - are copies of original material *in English* a strict requirement? I'm not sure I can find them.

Also, you mentioned the guidelines. Is the requirement for a person of color or LGBT waived for this case? (Russians are white so the Russian background does not in itself cover it). If it is not waived, I can still do it, but need to know one way or the other.

P.S. Is Israel a part of Middle East for this purpose? If true I'll tell a friend there who has been doing some twistings like that already.

Re: What's Europe and what's not?

Heck, I might go for the full restrictions anyway. Several Russian tales concentrate on the person who is despised as foolish or lazy by others in the family or village (of course these end up victorious). Making that person colored is only logical, one just has to come up with a half decent back story of them ending up in rural Russia.

Re: What's Europe and what's not?

Just realized my words could have been misread as racist because of a terrible lack of context. The idea of the tales, of course, is that the despised person eventually wins, being in reality smartest and/or kindest.

Re: What's Europe and what's not?

On third thought :) the idea I had about the retelling of a Russian tale with a POC may not work as I have trouble doing the necessary homework. So - I'd still like to know if this specific restriction applies.

Re: What's Europe and what's not?

If you look at our general submission guidelines you'll see that we also accept stories where the central character is LGBT. That being said, we obviously do prefer that the story avoid propagating stereotypes. We opened the floor to all non-Eurocentric tales so Israeli folklore is certainly acceptable.

Re: What's Europe and what's not?

My issue is that Russian tales, in their original forms, are about white straight people - even though many of them are different from common Western European tales. Making the central character a person of color and/or LGBT would require additional twisting, which of course is quite possible in a retelling - I only wanted to know if it is mandatory.

There are striking historical stories of Russian transgendered people (FtM), but while some of them are anecdotal, they are not folk tales in the strict sense of the word.

Perhaps I can try merging one of the stories (the physical woman who claimed to be a man, became a soldier, and ended up recognized as male by the Tsar himself despite being discovered) with folk tales about soldiers, but unsure how that would work out.

Re: What's Europe and what's not?

Give it a try and we'll take a look at it. You're not restricted to Russian stories.

Re: What's Europe and what's not?

OK, I'll try. It's just that I know the Russian stories and Russian history best. I'll try and get a couple of drafts together and send your way.
Hm, would you welcome Singaporean or Malaysian folktales as well? With a slightly Western bent to appeal to thems audiences.

I'll definitely aim to finish a Chinese one, though. I have a whole library of Chinese folktales to work off of... Thank you!
We would definitely welcome those as well.