If you haven’t heard by now, Garden Gnome Publications is taking submissions for its second anthology in the Biblical Legends Anthology Series. The first anthology – Garden of Eden – has been on the shelf for almost two months. We’ll be taking submissions for Sulfurings until April 7, 2014 at midnight EST.
But what are we looking for, exactly?
Our official guidelines say we want narrative poetry, essays, flash fiction, and short stories, but we’d like to take this time to elaborate on those current needs. So here goes.
Last week we discussed the difference between narrative poetry and lyric poetry. Since then, we’ve received at least a couple of palatable poems. But not all of them match our length guidelines.
The garden gnomes prefer longer poems, although the reason may not be clear.
Longer poems give the poet more opportunities to be creative with the theme. We think it may be prudent to drop the minimum line length, but we’d still like to see at least a couple of longer poems just for the sake of diversity. It takes a lot of chutzpah to pull off a long poem in the first place, so if you have what it takes, we’d love to see it.
More than length, however, what gets most poets is theme.
While we’re looking for poems that address the theme of the anthology, we prefer subtlety in this area. Tangential awareness, metaphor, indirect reference, and derivative expressions are encouraged.
In other words, instead of addressing the theme directly, we’d be more delighted if poets hinted at the theme through language and imagery. Readers should come away with a sense of mystery and intrigue, or perhaps scratching their heads. Remember, this is speculative fiction, er, poetry. Speculative narrative poetry. Whatever that means.
We’ve struggled with the proper term for what we’re looking for in this category. Simply calling them “essays” won’t do because we’re not expecting the typical expository writing that involves a thesis statement backed up by facts and logical analysis. We’re more concerned with taking the reader on a journey, a storytelling journey in a creative manner that doesn’t involve storytelling in a fictional sense.
The closest thing we can come up with in comparison is what journalists call a reported essay. One term is “creative nonfiction,” but that’s so vague it almost has no meaning.
Still, the term “reported essay” is problematic because it tends to be personal in nature with elements of reporting. There’s nothing wrong with that and if the garden gnomes received a reported essay that is worth publishing, well, we’ll publish it. But the subject matter of our anthologies might prove personal narratives in the form of reported essays a bit too challenging. Therefore, we prefer “speculative essay.”
A speculative essay can take any form as long as it isn’t fiction, however, it can use fictional techniques to tell a story and may even include elements of journalism or academic writing. The goal is to tell a compelling story that educates, informs, intrigues, entertains, raises questions, or some mix of the above.
The garden gnomes believe flash fiction has become popular enough that most people know what it is by now. Nevertheless, we’re looking for stories that are 300-1,500 words. Stories do not need to be linear or follow any particular narrative structure. In fact, they can be downright experimental (like this memorandum, for instance) as long as they adhere to the theme and address the speculative question posed by the garden gnomes.
It’s not hard to figure out what a short story is. Anything between 1,501 and 10,000 words with a beginning, a middle, and an end that tells a compelling story within the theme of the anthology and which addresses the speculative question posed by our call for submissions. We could use a few more of these for the Sulfurings anthology. We hope you’ll consider submitting your story by midnight EST on April 7, 2014.
We are also taking stories, flash fiction, speculative essays, and poems for the next anthology, Deluge.
We have not stated our needs on novelettes to date, but we’re open to receiving stories that address the theme of our anthologies up to 20,000 words. We have not decided what we’ll pay for these, but if you feel like you can address the speculative theme and tell a compelling novelette-length story, we’d like to see it.
So there you have it, straight from the garden gnomes. We hope this clarifies some of your questions. If not, feel free to query editor @ gardengnomepubs.com. If you are ready to submit your flash, essay, short story, poem, or novelette, please do so by reading our submission guidelines and sending your document to submissions @ gardengnomepubs.com.