Wednesday, June 25, 2008

Chicago Overcoat

Submission Deadline: August 1st, 2008

Fill in the Blank:

“Hard-boiled detective” meets ________.

Now write it. But remember: You're not selling ideas, you're selling stories. So no matter how good of an idea "hard-boiled detective" meets "vegan zombie lesbians from Mars" may be, if you don't flesh out a great story, we'll pass.

We like slipstream, cross-genre, surreal, humor, SF/Fantasy, and experimental. Elements of horror are fine, but we like "odd" a lot more than we like "shocking."

More than anything, however, your story should focus on noir. Since the term Chicago Overcoat is taken straight from The Big Sleep, the stories of this anthology will be as new and adventurous as its inspiration material was back in the day. Also, we don't only want stories with surprise, twist, or fabricated/contrived/intricately labored endings. (In fact, we'll probably only take one or two of these, and we'll take them early.) Just make sure the feel is right. That's the most important thing.

Honestly, this will be a difficult anthology to get into. So two tips:

1. It really helps your chances if you know both genres that you're writing in. We can tell if you're just dabbling. It's good to branch out, but you've gotta put in the time before it pays off. You have to hit every genre cliché before you know to look out for it next time.

2. Make your characters real people. Real people have dentist appointments next month, talk on the phone, have pets, and they go out for lunch with friends. They have bad habits; they burn popcorn. And there's an entire range of emotions for them to experience. When they die, they leave all sorts of loose ends untied. But most importantly: They all have motivations for everything they do.

Fiction from 100 to 6,000 words, and we may publish one novella of 10,000 to 15,000 words.

No reprints.

Simultaneous subs okay.

Because you may not get a response until after the deadline, we accept multiple subs, up to four stories or 6,000 words, whichever comes first, OR, one novella length submission. Anything above this will be deleted unread. You should receive an automatic response letting you know that we received your e-mail, if you don't get this, please query.

Submissions go to James Maddox and Brian Worley, editors. Subject line like this (or our spam filters may eat it): COsub/Title/name (or COquery for questions).

Submit work in the body of the email, or attached as a rtf or doc to:

If your work is selected, we will purchase FNASR at the following rates:

$5 for flash (>1000 words)
$10 for short stories (1000 + words),
and $25 for a novella of <10,000.>

Recommended Reading:

Raymond Chandler
Dashiell Hammett
Haruki Murakami
Steve Niles's Cal McDonald Mysteries
Paul Auster's New York Trilogy
Richard Stark
James M. Cain
Slylock Fox*
Frank Miller
Many Stephen King novellas (Shawshank, The Colorado Kid, ect.)
Nicholas Blincoe
Batman, man. Batman.
And many other Lone Wolf types.

*I was totally kidding about Slylock Fox**
**unless you can make it work.

Terms and dates subject to change.

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