Hello, Women and Female-Identifying NEHW members!
This is Trish, guest editor for Wicked Women with some updates for y’all.
Our first round of rejections, acceptances, and revise & rewrite requests have all gone out this weekend. If you submitted and have not heard, you may send an email to firstname.lastname@example.org to ask about your submission.
We do still have some space in the anthology, and due to just about everyone’s life getting turned upside down thanks to COVID-19 & co, we’re extending the deadline to APRIL 15. (So you have something other than taxes to look forward to or to redirect stress!)
After having gone through the first round of submission decisions, I wanted to say a few things...
First, I’m very glad we went with blind submissions. Many choices were very hard, but not knowing who sent what allowed me to focus on the writing equally for each piece. When I accepted the guest editor position, I decided I’d send feedback with rejections. And I would send out R&R requests for stories that hooked me with something but didn’t quite work for us.
Next, I want to remind everyone who did receive a rejection (as well as those who received R&Rs and might not agree with the suggestions), that you are all not only welcome but encouraged to submit something else. Really!
Now, here’s some cheat code for the incoming submissions:
While some of you have experience with Editor Trish, not all of you do. I am a TOUGH editor, and I know how well many of you can write. I expect each submission to show an author’s best game. Wicked Women should showcase of how freaking awesome I know NEHW women are.
So, I was rather surprised at how many submissions had common grammar errors or didn’t appear proofread.
Outside of straight up typos and missing punctuation, the top three grammar/proofreading errors found in over half the submissions:
· Run on sentences and/ or comma splices
· Improperly punctuated or hard to follow dialogue
· Incorrect verb tenses (especially past perfect / pluperfect)
These are all things authors can check for themselves, and they are all explained for free online. Do a Google search for what I listed, make sure you’ve not included those mistakes, and that will make a huge difference. While these issues weren’t sole reasons we rejected stories, they factored into decisions between an R&R and a rejection or an acceptance and an R&R.
I cite these first because they are easy to avoid and fix. But it was Big Picture issues that influenced our decisions most. Here are the three most common Big Picture issues we found:
· The submission was not a complete story; it was an “experience” or felt like a scene from something bigger.
· We didn’t see a clear motivation for character actions; the interiority of the character was missing or didn’t match the actions taken.
· It was a plot we’ve read / seen / heard / was forced to read in school several times already; we could predict each plot turn.
So if your incoming submission doesn’t have any of these issues, it will have a much higher chance of acceptance. But if you really want a powerful cheat code... do all that and...
#1! Give me a story with obviously queer characters!
Every. Single. Submission. We. Got...
...had either all cis-het characters—often with a plot point dependent on a heterosexual monogamous relationships—or sexuality/gender was not brought up at all. This made me extremely sad. Please make me happier with more rainbow representation? In gender AND sexuality? Pretty please???
2. We also received no stories with characters who were anything but able-bodied. Change that.
3. While there was a better representation of different ethnicities and cultures than queer and able-bodied identities, submissions that aren’t a cast of all or nearly all white people will be looked upon with more favor. (Unless they are racist or clichéd representations. Manuscripts that include racist, bigoted, or ignorant renditions of characters of color will be rejected.)
If you’re an author writing outside of your own experience, Writing the Other (writingtheother.com) has great resources. TV Tropes is another great place to check your clichés regarding characters of color—and clichés in general.
Double-bonus cheat code:
Here are some near and dear topics / themes we were hoping to receive...
While not nonexistent, there was a severe lack of wicked faery women or wicked human women dealing with the fae! And a severe lack of non-western folk / faery tale wicked representation. There was also no space horror, very few reimagined historically wicked women, and nothing with horses or horsewomen outlaws.
And no lighthouses! (One editor in particular would really love a good lighthouse horror!)
I’m not saying you have to include those topics, but clean manuscripts that do include diverse representation and favored topics are going to be exceptionally strong contenders!
So, potential submitters to Wicked Women—Go forth and write!! I look forward to the submissions we get by April 15!
If you need a reminder of the rest of the guidelines, here they are:
Length: 3K to 6K words; query for longer or shorter works.
Payment: $50 for short stories and $25 for poetry (depending on length that could change).
Formatting: Standard MS, 12 point Times New Roman. One space after the sentence ends. Attach the story as a file .DOC, .DOCX, or .RTF. No PDFs please. Do not copy and paste the story into the body of the email.
Send submissions to: NEHWSUBS@gmail(dot)com.
Submissions, as well as revised and resubmitted pieces, will be read blind. Make sure you identify yourself in the cover letter, but if you scrub your manuscript of your name—including the meta info if you know how—that makes things a lot easier for Dan, who has been wonderful about helping us keep things blind. We shouldn’t have to say it, but announcing publicly when you’re submitting, asking story-specific questions on a public forum, or letting one of the editors know you’ll be submitting soon hurts the blind process. Please don’t do this.
We also shouldn’t have to say this, but please do not send stories of sex with animals or with children. No extreme violence or gore. If you have to include violence in the story to continue the plot, that’s fine - not too graphic and move the plot along. Keep it R rated.
Payment will be made 90 days after publications.
Finally, we are still taking cover submissions!
If you are an artist or you know an artist who should submit, here’s the GLs for that:
Send 2-3 thumbnail concept images as .JPG or .PNG files to NEHWSUBS@gmail(dot)com along with a cover letter that includes estimated cost, time frames, and your contact information. Cover pitches do not need to be sent blind.
Thank you everyone!