FunDead Publications is now seeking traditional literary gothic stories with a non-traditional spin. We are looking to re-awaken a sleeping genre by putting a new spin on an old style. This anthology, (title TBA), is slated for release in late spring/early summer of 2018. Please read the guidelines and requests below for the best results, they are here to help YOU! Yes, there’s a lot of info there, but we want you to succeed, so utilize the guidelines and content requests.
Submit by midnight, March 11, 2018
Word Count: 6,000-15,000 words (Yes, that’s a lot for us, so use them wisely!)
Payment: Accepted submissions will be awarded payment in the way of $25 upon printing, paid via PayPal, along with a print copy of the anthology. Previous calls have been limited to $10 per story, so this is the highest payment we have been able to offer thus far! Accepted authors will also be promoted via social media and beyond (we post daily, often, and spotlight our writers regularly).
Format: Format should be in standard manuscript format and submitted as .doc or .docx. We expect the proper information to be stated at the top of the first page (name, title, word count, author’s info, etc.). Unfortunately, we cannot accept reprints at this time. Please include a brief cover letter introducing yourself along with your submission, this may be pasted into the e-mail, or attached as its own file. Please let us know if this is a simultaneous submission.
Response Time: Please be aware that it may be AFTER THE CLOSE of the submissions call (in March) before you receive a response from FunDead Publications, we often wait until after the close date to send acceptance e-mails to ensure we select the best content for our readers. Our submission load is often fluctuating, but we read and respond as quickly as we can. If you are impatient, you might consider waiting until the close date to submit your piece so the wait for a response is shorter!
Diversity Statement: We at FunDead Publications believe diversity is what makes fiction wonderful and unique and we welcome submissions from writers of every race, religion, nationality, gender, non-gender, and sexual orientation.
What is traditional gothic? Some excellent
reading material for research would include:
Traditional elements we’d like to see might include: ghost stories, spiritualism, big old houses, cemeteries, dark forests, horror elements that may be solved or have a scientific explanation, psychological horrors, horror meets elegance. Stories do not need to include all of the above. Southern Gothic styles are also welcome, as long as the story still includes traditional gothic elements.
What is the non-traditional spin? The main thing we’d like to see is non-traditional main characters. For example: A lesbian couple buys a large Victorian home and moves in to discover there is a mystery revolving around the death of the previous owner, who died in the parlor of the house. Again, doesn’t need to be this angle, we’re really just looking for a traditional style of gothic with characters you wouldn’t normally see in the main character roles. People of color, people with disabilities, people coming from different backgrounds or nationalities, and/or LGBTQ+ characters in the main roles are highly encouraged. It is up to you how to make them non-traditional to gothic stories. In traditional gothic tales, the main characters are usually straight, white young cis women or straight, white brooding cis men. You can still use these character elements, but special consideration will be given to characters that fall outside ‘the usual’ for what we see in older gothic tales/novels/etc.
What we ARE looking for:
- Large houses (both old and new) with dark history
- Brooding main characters, brooding love interests, brooding in general (but ONLY if it works in your story. We only need the brooding if it’s written well!)
- Well-researched, literary stories with a traditional OR pulp gothic feel. Think everything from the Bronte sisters, Mary Shelley, and Ann Radcliffe to Daphne du Maurier and Shirley Jackson to Victoria Holt and Phyllis A. Whitney. We are looking for stories representative of the traditional gothic genres, as well as the more contemporary gothics of the 1960’s and beyond. Think My Cousin Rachel, Mistress of Mellyn, and yes, even Crimson Peak!
- Dark themes with especially creepy undertones that border on horror: ghost stories, spiritualism, legends, cemeteries, dark corridors…you get the idea. Don’t be afraid to try and scare our readers!
- A little romance within the story is acceptable and even encouraged, but does not necessarily need to be the main focus of the plot. Traditional gothic stories often revolve around, or include a love story, though it is not required for this anthology.
- Beautiful descriptions of houses, clothing, and period accuracy thereof.
- Historical and contemporary stories are welcome, but stories with historical leanings will be given special consideration, even those set mid-twentieth-century. Please do your research! If you DO choose to go contemporary, there MUST be historical elements in the story, like a big old house/building/setting, or an old mystery to solve, cursed antiques, etc. If you go historical, please research for period accuracy! If you include a newspaper clipping about the War of 1812, make it have accurate information. If you mention real historical figures, make sure the reference makes sense for the time-period. If you mention a real song, book, newspaper, etc., please ensure it is a pop-culture reference that makes sense for the era in which you’ve set your piece.
- Both male and female main characters are welcome, and we encourage non-traditional ideas within the story that might not have been previously seen or explored in gothic books. For example: homosexual characters, trans characters, people of color and unique backgrounds, unmarried or widowed women who do not intend to marry. We DO NOT want caricatures; if you use these themes for personality traits, make them human and make them real.
What we are NOT looking for:
- Modern Sci-Fi, Fantasy, Steampunk, Splatter-porn, Erotica or any overtly pornographic material (sex scenes are okay, as long as they add something to the story), Trashy-Romance, or Cozy Mystery.
- Experimental works or character studies that do not have a clear beginning, middle or end. We want a structured story that has a clear plot and finale. We WILL NOT consider portions of larger or unfinished works. We want complete stories ONLY.
- Vampires, Werewolves—okay… if you must use vampires and werewolves, they must be done with subtlety. We are not looking for Anne Rice this time around, and we are DEFINTELY NOT looking for Twilight. While those styles have their place on the bookshelf, it is not what we are seeking specifically for this anthology. If you were to use supernatural creatures in your story for THIS anthology, we’d hope they lean more toward themes like The Hound of the Baskervilles or perhaps a mystery that seems to imply vampires, but the mystery is eventually solved to prove a scientific explanation. For example, Mary Shelley’s Frankenstein is a gothic story with sci-fi themes. While the story does have the fantastical element of bringing a man back to life, it is done in such a way that is believable in our world. If you’re bringing people back to life, there should be a way to explain it that isn’t “magic.”
Instructions: Send your submission to DearFunDead@gmail.com for consideration with “Gothic Fiction Submission” as the subject line. You may include your cover letter as the body of the e-mail, or attach it as a separate file from the submission.