Written by S. Kalekar October 5th, 2020

25 Themed Submissions Calls for October 2020

There are 25 themed submission calls for fiction, nonfiction, and poetry for the 17 avenues listed here. Some of the themes are: fairy tales, foraging, animal love, night terrors, unmasked, tough times, haunted holidays, a postcard from the past, touch, far from home, and derelict. Apart from these, there are also a few themed contests for writers at the end, with cash prizes and no submission fees.


Curiosities: Fairy Tales
This is an online magazine of retropunk audiofiction, and they will soon open a brief submission period for grim fairy-tale theme related stories. Their guidelines say, “We want them singularly grim and fractured. No modern settings. Do your worst. …    Manuscripts that do not appear to be related to some kind of fairy tale will be automatically rejected.”  They do not want variations of certain fairy tales, and these include Red Riding Hood, Bluebeard, and Pied Piper (see guidelines).
Reading period: 7-14 October 2020
Length: Up to 7,500 words
Pay: 4c/word
Details here.

Wizards in Space: Foraging
Their guidelines say, “for Wizards in Space’s sixth issue, we’re seeking words & art that explore what it means to forage, to gather, to fight tooth and nail for survival.
What have you been collecting? What wild seeds are you cultivating? Give us a peek inside your survival kit; share with us stories of tenderness and of resilience. Maybe foraging means providing for others in a time of need, or maybe it’s learning to fend for yourself in the wake of a storm. Maybe what you’ve gathered aren’t things at all, but stories and communities that lift you up and carry you forward. We want handfuls of berries and borrowed candles, your grandfather’s stamps and your family’s home cooking.” They publish fiction, creative nonfiction, poetry, and artwork. Also, they do not publish “just sci-fi/fantasy, despite our wild affection for wizards and space.” They accept reprints.
Deadline: 15 October 2020
Length: Up to 5,000 words for fiction and creative nonfiction, up to four poems
Pay: $40
Details here.

Shooter Literary Magazine: Animal Love
They want short fiction, nonfiction and poetry. They want writing “to do with all creatures great and small, wonderful and wild, exotic and beloved. Meaningful, offbeat and/or humorous writing on pets, exotic species, encounters in the wild, veterinarians, equestrian sports, animal shelters, or anything that revolves around humans in relation to other species is welcome.
We’d especially like to see work that concerns animals other than dogs and cats, as those are likely to figure prominently.” 
Deadline: 18 October 2020
Length: 2,000-7,500 words for prose; up to three poems
Pay: £25 per story, £5 per poem. Stories that fall below the requested minimum of 2,000 words will be paid at poetry rates; non-UK contributors can opt for either a copy of the magazine, or cash payment
Details here.

WordFire Press: Unmasked
They want short stories of unmasking, to include a mix of science fiction, fantasy, horror, alien, magical, witchcraft, AI, and romance elements – see guidelines for further details, and potential ideas for stories. Stories must be appropriate for a PG-13 audience.
Deadline: 31 October 2020
Length: Up to 5,000 words
Pay: $0.06/word
Details here.

Scare Street: Night Terrors
They want short horror stories with a focus on ghosts, the supernatural, paranormal, monsters, and dark tales. The stories will be published in their ‘Night Terrors’ anthologies. “We go for stories that are dark, literary; we are looking for the creepy, the weird and the unsettling” according to their guidelines. The magazine also accepts reprints.
Deadline: 26 October 2020
Length: 3,000-7,000 words
Pay: “$10 per 1,000 words” ($0.01/word)
Details here.

FurPlanet Productions: Reclamation Project – Year Two
This is a shared-planet anthology with furry characters as primary protagonists. The tagline for the project is “Casablanca Meets Thundarr: The Barbarian …With a touch of Studio Ghibli”. Their website says, “Reclamation Project – Year One was the first foray into shared-world tales of future fantasy and solarpunk from some of the brightest stars of anthropomorphic literature. Year Two hits the ground running as the healing world of Ambara Down deals with catastrophe, assassination, and betrayal. As their flying cities begin to fail, humans must find a home on this new Earth, among the sentient animals that are its inhabitants. Love and danger, power and promise, and a world to win or lose in the balance!” Themes and aesthetics include rebirth, regrowth, integration, transformation, adventure, building a new world from the bones of the old. Hope in the face of difficult challenges. They also have a Reclamation Project Wiki, and writers can mail to request an anthology bible – see guidelines. They do not want erotica or extreme violence. They also accept some reprints (see guidelines).
Deadline: 31 October 2020
Length: 3,000-15,000 words
Pay: Half a cent per word
Details here.

Chicken Soup for the Soul: Tough Times
They accept true inspirational stories and poetry on set themes. For October, they are reading on ‘Tough Times’; there are other themes listed, as well (see guidelines).  For the Tough Times theme their guidelines say, “We are looking for stories about how you have been affected and how you and your loved ones are handling the changes in your life. We’re looking for the ups and downs, so share the tough times but also the silver linings, the unexpected blessings, and resilience and gratitude that you have discovered in yourself and the people close to you.
We’re also looking for stories about tough times unrelated to the pandemic. Are you going through other challenges that have nothing to do with the pandemic, such as health crises, loss of loved ones, personal challenges, family issues, job loss and economic upheaval”. Other themes, with later deadlines, are: Angels, Cats, Counting Your Blessings, and Eldercare.

Deadlines: 31 October 2020
Length: Up to 1,200 words
Pay: $200
Details here (theme details – scroll down), here (guidelines), and here (submission portal).

Lonely Cryptid Media: Resist with every inch and every breath
They want fiction, nonfiction, and poetry on the theme. They have extensive submission guidelines about what they want, including: “Stories of resistance and rebellion, but also of the steps in between and the change that comes after. … Tell us about resistance big and small; real and imagined; rooted in reality or fantastical in nature; science fictional or science factual; historical, contemporary, or in the future. The everyday resistance of women. The power of youth and children’s rebellions. Resistance in the streets. The dismantling of white supremacy. Overthrowing colonial states. Empowering workers and undoing capitalism itself.” They have two submission windows, one for marginalized authors only, and the second one is for all authors. They also accept reprints
Deadlines/reading periods: Up to 31 October for historically marginalized authors; 1 November to 31 December 2020 for all authors 
Length: Up to 15,000 words for prose; up to 300 lines for poetry
Pay: $25
Details here.

The Periodical, Forlorn: Haunted Holidays
This is a new literary magazine and they are reading for their first issue, themed ‘Haunted Holidays’. They will accept short form fiction in any of these formats: flash fiction, poetry, or short stories. Their guidelines say, “For this issue, we don’t want tales of peace on earth and good will to men. We don’t want to hear about the warmth of family gatherings or how the Christmas spirit inspires a new outlook on life for those once thought irredeemable

We want to know how misfits and outcasts approach the holiday season. We want to know how ghouls and goblins and all manner of pagan creatures mark the season.” They want work that is dark, creepy, weird and just a little off-kilter. “We’re open to genre fiction, particularly anything related to horror, science-fiction, speculative fiction or weird fiction. But we’re also interested in anything that twists or subverts these genres in some unexpected way.”

Deadline: 1 November 2020
Length: Up to 6,000 words
Pay: $15
Details here.

Bouchercon: Second Time Around
The aim of this project is to raise money for the New Orleans public library. For this fiction anthology their guidelines say, “The theme of this anthology is second chances, redemption, second try, play it again. Since this is the second Bouchercon in New Orleans, we may call it Second Time Around”. The story does not have to be set in New Orleans. 

Deadline: 1 November 2020
Length: Up to 4,000 words
Pay: $75
Details here.

Thema: Three themes
They are accepting short stories, poems, essays, photographs, and art on three themes currently: The Other Virginia; A Postcard from the Past;and Watch the Birdie! The premise (target theme) must be an integral part of the plot, not necessarily the central theme but not incidental, either. They do not accept electronic submissions, except from writers living outside the US.  
Deadline: 1 November 2020 for The Other Virginia; 1 March 2021 for A Postcard from the Past; and 1 July 2021 for Watch the Birdie!
Length: Fewer than 20 pages of prose; up to 3 poems
Pay: $10-25 for short fiction and artwork, $10 for poetry
Details here.

Off Limits Press: Far From Home
This is an anthology of adventure horror; short horror stories which strongly incorporate adventure. Their guidelines say, “Adventure is intended to be interpreted broadly and may include, but is certainly not limited to, tales involving mountaineering, cave diving, the open sea, parkour, rafting, treasure hunting, arctic expedition, and caving. We are interested in and welcome most horror sub-genres, so long as the theme is strongly incorporated. Stories may include horror steeped in realism and/or the supernatural.”
Deadline: 1 November 2020
Length: 2,000-8,000 words
Pay: $0.01/word
Details here.

Ninth Letter: Touch
They are accepting essays, fiction, and poetry on the ‘Touch’ theme for their online edition. Their guidelines say, “When was your last? The question is particularly evocative (and provocative) at the present moment, when physical and social touch seem so restricted. With this in mind, the theme is necessarily constellatory. Consider: in touch, out of touch, touchdown, Midas touch, human touch, be in touch, lose touch, touchback, don’t touch, wouldn’t touch, wouldn’t touch with ten foot pole, touch a nerve, touch on, touch up, just a touch, touch and go, touch base, touch pad, lost touch, magic touch, touchy, retouched, I’m touched, truly touched, two-hand-touch, untouched, stay in touch, touchback, touch-less, finishing touch, put me in touch, lose touch, lost touch, untouched, untouched, untouched. ” (For the print edition, there are separate guidelines and mailed submissions for that are free.)
Deadline: 3 November 2020
Length: Up to 3,500 words for prose, up to 3 poems
Pay: $75 for a story or an essay, and $25 per poem
Details here.

Pinch: GLISH – Variety English Poetry Project
They want poetry written in or regarding variety Englishes.  Poems in Singlish, Konglish, Spanglish, AAVE, and other English-associated linguistic forms will be considered for publication. Poets may be asked to contribute supplementary linguistic information to facilitate publication. 
Deadline: 15 November 2020
Length: Up to three poems
Pay: $150
Details here.

Cemetery Gates Media: Five themes
They are looking for 500-1,000 word horror flash fiction for a “pocket-sized” anthology, and the theme of the anthology is horror subgenre medley. Writers can choose a theme to write and submit a story for: Cemetery ChillersSpook HousesSupernatural SlashersWitchcraftWithin the Woods. Writers can submit one story for each theme.
Deadline: 26 December 2020, or until filled
Length: 500-1,000 words
Pay: $0.08/word

Details here.

The New York Times: Modern Love
Submissions for Modern Love column are open again. They especially encourage BIPOC to submit, as well as those outside of the United States and people who identify as members of L.G.B.T.Q.I.A.+ communities. Modern Love publishes honest personal essays about contemporary relationships; see guidelines for details and examples of past published essays. Submissions are also open for Tiny Love Stories (of 100 words), though these are unpaid.
Deadline: 31 December 2020
Length: 1,500-1,700 for Modern Love
Pay: $500 for Modern Love
Details here.

Zombies Need Brains: Three themes
They are reading fiction submissions for three anthologies. They are looking for a range of tones, from humorous all the way up to dark.
— The Modern Deity’s Guide to Surviving Humanity is to feature urban fantasy stories set in the modern-day world with some type of god or deity as the central focus of the story.  Stories featuring more interesting gods and deities, especially those from less-used cultures, will receive more attention than those that use standard gods/deities. From the open call, they are unlikely to use stories featuring gods/deities the anchor authors intend to use (see guidelines).

– Derelict is to feature stories involving abandoned ships, whether it be ships at sea or starships in space. Half of the anthology with science fiction stories and half with fantasy stories.  They are somewhat flexible as to the definition of “ship” for this anthology, but it must still be somehow abandoned in some way. Stories featuring more interesting takes on the use of the abandoned ship will receive more attention than those that are more mundane or are tropes.
— When Worlds Collide is to feature science fiction and fantasy stories, including alternate history stories, where two different cultures “collide” in some way.  They expect mostly first contact types of collisions, but the story doesn’t need to be a first contact story. The cultures can be human, alien, technological, fae, etc. They should clash in some significant, meaningful way.
Deadline: 31 December 2020
Length: Up to 7,500 words
Pay: At least 8c/word
Details here.


Transitions Abroad: Expatriate and Work Abroad Writing Contest
This is an international contest for professional and freelancer writers, to write a non-fiction inspirational and practical article or mini-guide of 1,200 to 3,000 words that describes their experience living, moving, and working abroad.
Value: $500, $150, $100, $50
Deadline: 15 October 2020
Open for: All professional and freelance writers
Details here.

Welter 55 Contest
Welter is the literary journal of the University of Baltimore, and their contest guidelines say, “Something to say? Up for a challenge? Can you get your point across in exactly 55 words, no more, no fewer? Help us celebrate our 55th year of Welter by composing a 55-word story, poem, or piece of creative nonfiction.”
Value: $55
Deadline: 19 October 2020
Open for: Unspecified
Details here.

Victoria Literary Festival Short Story Contests: Hats Off; Ghost Writer
There are contests on two themes for this Canadian literary festival. They want short stories of at least 1,400 words. For 2020, the themes are: ‘Hats Off’ and ‘Ghost Writer‘. An author can submit stories in each of the two contests. Read the guidelines carefully – writers have to send both, an emailed entry and a postal one.
Value: CAD350; CAD50 each for runners-up
Deadline: 30 October 2020
Open for: Unspecified
Details here.

James Tiptree, Jr Literary Award
This is for a range of disciplines – writers, artists, scholars, media makers, remix artists, performers, musicians, or something else entirely. If the applicant’s work is changing the way we think about gender through speculative narrative – maybe in a form recognizable as the science fiction and fantasy genre, maybe in some other way – they are eligible. Writers do not have to be a professional or have an institutional affiliation, as they hope to support emerging creators who do not already have institutional support for their work.     
Value: $500
Deadline: 31 October 2020
Open for: All writers
Details here.

Malice Domestic Grants for Unpublished Writers
This is given to an unpublished writer (see guidelines) in the Malice Domestic genre at each year’s Malice Domestic convention. The grant may be used to offset registration, travel, or other expenses related to attendance at a writers’ conference or workshop within a year of the date of the award. In the case of non-fiction, the grant may be used to offset research expenses. The Malice Domestic genre is loosely described as mystery stories of the Agatha Christie type—i.e. “traditional mysteries.” These works usually feature no excessive gore, gratuitous violence, or explicit sex. See guidelines for additional details and submission requirements. Apart from the cash award, the prize covers a comprehensive registration for the upcoming convention and two nights’ lodging at the convention hotel, but does not include travel to the convention or meals. 
Value: $2,500, and other expenses – see above
Deadline: 1 November 2020
Open for: Unpublished writers in the Malice Domestic genre
Details here.

Defenestrationism: 2020 Flash Suite Contest
This is a contest for at least three flash fiction pieces that co-relate in some way. Finalists will be published daily on the site, followed by at least two weeks of Fan Voting – winners will be selected by a judging panel, with Fan Voting counting as an additional judge vote.    
Value: $75, $60
Deadline: 1 November 2020
Open for: All writers
Details here.

Author Bio: S. Kalekar is the pseudonym of a regular contributor to this magazine. She is the author of 182 Short Fiction Publishers. She can be reached here.


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