Friday, June 5, 2009

Two Anthologies: Vacationland and Speculationland

This will be a pair of sister publications devoted to all that is Maine:

Vacationland will feature mainstream/literary stories.

Speculationland will feature SF, fantasy, or horror, having some sort of speculative element.

I'm doing two volumes because people who prefer mainstream fiction aren't likely to appreciate spec fiction, and spec-fic readers won't likely be too excited about mainstream fiction.

Stories must take place in Maine, or at the very least be a central part of the story (say, a character from Maine living in California or on Mars and wishing he were home). Stories should absolutely reflect what Maine is all about in some way--either through historical exposition, or focusing on things that typify Maine: lobster, County potatoes, Bar Harbor, Mt. Katahdin, or whatever.

The subject matter is entirely up to you, so long as you observe what I consider a story to be (which you'll read about on the next page). I mention this here because, in doing a mainstream-fiction anthology, I know I'll be inundated with piles of "stories" that are little more than slices of life. I don't want scenes; I don't want pieces of a character's day; I want stories that accomplish something and arrive somewhere, with characters who grow and change in some way.

Despite my background in speculative fiction, I have written some mainstream stuff. But I haven't worked on an all-mainstream anthology, so this will be a learning experience for me. For writers, know that what appeals to me are stories with bite, with grab, with visuals, with ideas that make me say "Wow!" That's what I like about sci-fi and fantasy and horror, which can bring a certain edge that mainstream stuff cannot. As such, it will be your job to create really vivid characters--make me feel so sucked into your story that I must finish it, even if there aren't spaceships or dragons or werewolves there to bring that sense of wonder to the tale.

I will give a strong preference for Maine authors. Non-Maine authors should be originally from Maine, frequent Maine, or have some other powerful Maine connection. When it comes down to choosing between two excellent stories, the Maine authors will always have the edge.

I don't want stories by people who obviously have no idea of what the flavor of Maine is. I also don't want 500 submissions that take place entirely in Bar Harbor or along the coast or in Portland's Old Port. There is much more to Maine than those things, despite what the tourists think. There are mountains and hiking trails, whitewater rivers, fields of potatoes and blueberries, the Golden Road, the expanse of Baxter State Park. And there's a load of history everywhere you go. So what I don't want is a pile of stories about lobster feasts and clambakes--strive to be as original as you can imagine. Envision what the masses are likely to write about, and then choose something you don't think anyone will write about.

Stories from 3,000 to 9,000 words; however, I am unlikely to accept long stories unless they are very, very good. Long stories mean multiple shorter stories won't make the cut. So, make sure the longer it is, the better it is. Ideally, I'd like to see stories in the 4,000-6,000-word range.

Deadline for submissions is November 30, 2009. My goal is publication in early 2010, with a secondary goal to have copies available for the summer tourist traffic.

Click here to learn more.


Cynthia Ward said...

Hi, what is the editor's name? Is it Donna Sundblad? It's not clear to me from the post or website. Thank you very much.

Cynthia Ward
Market Reporter, SFWA BULLETIN

Donna Sundblad said...

Hi Cynthia,

No Donna is me...the blogger who passes on the different writing markets I think may be of interest.