an announcement by the Crow.
Recently, the Azure-Winged Magpie and I were discussing ways to diversify the content on The Corvid Review. And this is what we’ve come up with.
My original intentions for the future of The Corvid Review went something like this: we’d start with movies, and then branch into books before looking at other options. While we haven’t yet reviewed a single book, we’ve covered quite a large range of things over the months. And what are we taking a look at next? Short stories.
That’s right. I’m going back to one of my roots: writing. Only this time, I’m looking at writing from the other side of the publishing process.
Since this is the first time we’re doing anything like this, I decided not to open it up to the internet at large. Instead, I’m focusing on a small part of the net for this first edition of The Corvid Review‘s short story runs. And that small part of the net? /r/writing on Reddit.
Welcome to The Corvid Review, /r/writing!
The details about the call for submissions follow:
CALL FOR SUBMISSIONS #1
PLEASE READ CAREFULLY
- All stories must be under 1,501 words long.
- This is a hard limit. There are no ‘fuzzy borders’.
- British English and American English are both acceptable.
- As long as your writing is legible and the content is communicated well, we’ll be fine with it.
- Too many spelling errors — and use of poor grammar — may disqualify your work (only in extreme cases), so pay attention to your work.
- We expect your best. We’ll be able to tell if you’ve been lax. We read a lot.
- Low-effort entries will be thrown out of the window by the time you’ve finished saying “low-effort”.
- No erotica (look below to find out more about our tastes).
- We aren’t looking for any genre in particular. Anything goes, but we do have a theme we’d like to see the story related to (more information on this below).
EDITION #1-SPECIFIC RULES
- Entries for this run are limited to members of Reddit.
- Reddit accounts will be used for verification.
- Your account must have been created prior to the 2nd of May, 2017 (the date of our first announcement).
- Only ONE entry per account.
- Only TEN entries will be selected from our pool of entries.
- The story must relate to the THEME we set (see below) in some way.
- The theme doesn’t have to be at the core of the story, only related to it.
- We’re open to interesting interpretations of the theme.
- The theme for this call for submissions is: LOSS
- As stated above: this doesn’t have to be the core of your story, but a touch of loss is required. And we’d very much like to see interesting interpretations of this theme.
- The window for submissions will open at 0000 GMT/UTC on Friday, the 19th of May, 2017 and stay open until the same time on Saturday, the 27th of May, 2017.
- The window will be hard. No ifs and/or buts.
- So please submit before the clock strikes midnight!
- Send your work to Submissions.TheCorvidReview@gmail.com.
- Any entries sent prior to the window opening will be automatically disqualified.
- Please copy-paste your story directly into the email. (No formatting apart from italics in the text.)
- We will NOT accept attachments.
- Please include your Reddit username (no links, just the name).
- Example: /u/[INSERT USERNAME HERE]
- Please include what name you want to be published under if you win.
We will verify your submission via your Reddit account once we have received your email. People who don’t confirm within 14 days will be automatically disqualified. We’ll be sure to send you an automated email as a reminder.
ONLINE PUBLICATION/RIGHTS-RELATED DETAILS
- Far as the winners are concerned: we’re buying First World Exclusive English-Language Rights for a period of two (2) months from the date of publication. After that period has passed, all rights revert to you, and you are free to re-submit the story to other publications. That said: we’d like to keep the story in our archives indefinitely after our stated period has passed; however, if you want us to remove it, you have the right to request us to do so after one (1) year from the date of publication (you may state this up-front).
- And please remember: upon re-submission to another market, your story will count as a reprint.
- As a note: I’ll include why the period has gone up since my original post both below, and on the Reddit announcement thread.
- We aren’t open to simultaneous submissions.
- If you decide to submit your story elsewhere before we get back to you, please let us know so that we can take your story off the list.
- The top ten selected stories will be paid a flat rate of £12 (GBP).
- We’ll be using online transfers via PayPal, but if you live in a country in which PayPal doesn’t operate (or simply prefer not to use it), we’ll transfer your money via Western Union.
- If you live somewhere where both of those options don’t work for you, we’ll get in touch with you directly and work something out.
(A POSSIBLE FURTHER INCENTIVE)
If possible, we’ll put together an illustrated .pdf of the winning entries and send it out to all the entrants as soon as we can.
We’d originally have liked to include more stories that almost made the cut, but considering this might cause trouble with rights, etc., we’re going to have to constrict ourselves to the stories we’ll be claiming the rights for.
We’ll still contact you in the case that you’re willing to let us include your work in the .pdf. And please remember that if you do accept, this will count as an unpaid first publication (and if it’s been accepted elsewhere, we won’t be able to accept it).
Of course, setting all of this up will take some time, and it’s still very much on the drawing board, so we’ll keep you posted as to whether or not it’ll happen (consider it 80:20 in favour of happening).
If this run turns out to be a success, we’ll think about running another Call for Submissions at the end of the year (with a much larger entrants’ pool). We might just make it a regular thing if we can gather a source of funds at some point.
Unfortunately, having only 10 spots up for grabs means we’ll have to make some hard decisions here and there, so please allow me to apologise for that in advance.
Now, like I promised: why did I bump the rights period up to two months rather than one?
Most online publications ask for 6 months to a year, generally. But I don’t really see the point in making it so long. However, given the rate at which the blog is updated (even though we’re slowing down for the time-being), I’ll be maintaining a sticky to our winning entries somewhere on the front page.
Now, add to that the fact that I have no idea how many submissions we’re looking at, or how long it’ll take us to go through them all. All I want to do is guarantee that all of our winners appear together on the sticky (while still exclusive to us) for at least a short period of time.
And that’s pretty much it! Hopefully that clears up any confusion.
And finally, despite our status as secretive birds, let me introduce you a little to the core of the team who will be judging these stories:
The Crow: First up, there’s me. I’ve been about in the writing game for a while. I’ll be the one making the final decisions, so if you decide to be mad at someone about this at any point, I’m the guy to direct it to.
My main hooks? I like efficient writing and visual storytelling. And I like being surprised. Take a risk, do something I might’ve not expected. The risk will be well worth the reward, I promise you. And what do I mean by “not expected”? Well, it could be anything. You’d be surprised how interesting reading about something as simple as finely-dicing an onion can be in the right context (and with the right handling).
And because of that, I’m open to any and all genres. Want to write about an sentient star-freighter lamenting the scrapping of its mothership? I’m in! Want to write about an ailing grandmother wondering about how she’ll make ends meet in rural Outer Mongolia while watching her Buuz? That sounds interesting! Want to write about a gruff, grizzled detective solving the mystery of how the dragon even picked up those tiny little jewels in the first place? Yep. Sounds good to me!
While I’m not overly-fond of tried-and-tested-and-beaten-to-a-pulp stories, even those can be made great through strong writing, so I’ll allow tropes as long as they’re handled well.
And for love of the Holy Typewriter: give me people, not cardboard cutouts! I used to make things out of cut-up cereal boxes back in the day. I’m long past that sort of thing.
A final word of caution: I’ve been told I’m a very harsh critic (by some), so beware!
The Azure-Winged Magpie: The Azure-Winged Magpie is an old co-worker of mine who’s been my “Number One” for some time, now (yes, we like Star Trek). She’s a little nutty, and a little obsessed with horror, but I’ll leave it up to her to describe what things are going to work for her:
What works for me is anything exciting. We’ve only got 1500 words to work with, which isn’t a lot, so I’d like every sentence to keep me wanting more. I want to be able to slip into the stories you’re building without a second thought. If I don’t… I’ll frown at your story (and that’s a promise!).
Far as genre goes: yeah, I have a liking for horror, but that doesn’t mean I’m not open to other things! For example: really smooth romances go a long way with me (so I’ll be the one taking a more critical look at those entries as opposed to Captain Spock up there). I also really like things that give me a sense of nostalgia. It doesn’t have to be something that relates to me, but I want to experience the nostalgia of others.
ONE thing I should point out (that the Crow didn’t) is: if you’re going into science fiction or fantasy, whatever portions we see of your fictional world must be believable in and as of itself and follow its own rules. And on that topic: no deus-ex machinas at all, please! THAT’s really going to grind our gears. And worse than that? “…and it was all a dream.” Dark and stormy nights are cool, though (for me, at least).
Anyway, nice to meet all of you! Now: back to the Crow! Good luck, all!
Brown-Necked Raven: The Brown-Necked Raven is my oldest friend, and the final member of our lead trio of judges. Here’s what works for him:
Hello, everyone! First and foremost: I read a lot. I have read the good, the bad, and the ugly. At some point in time, I even picked up writing myself. Because of that, I know how hard it is to translate an amazing idea into writing.
The Crow: We might also ask some of our fellow birds to take a look at the submissions which we could use an extra pair of eyes on. We’re aiming to release at least one winner by mid-late June, so we might need an assist from time-to-time.
And that about does it about the Call for Submissions! If anyone has any questions or needs any clarification on any of the points, please let us know. We’ll do our best to answer your concerns.
And like the Azure-Winged Magpie: I wish all of our entrants well!
TEAM UPDATE: THE STATE OF AFFAIRS
Of course, when this project hits full-swing, this is going to effectively paralyse the two of us as far as new posts go (especially with work and things of that sort). That said, I’ve never been one for not thinking ahead, and neither has the Azure-Winged Magpie.
While the Brown-Necked Raven is still looking at writing up his second review for us (The Thin Blue Line), I’ve got a few Itō Junji posts ready to go (one of which drained my soul, near-enough. Thanks, Azure-Winged Magpie, for setting me on this course!), and the Azure-Winged Magpie’s tackling all of this month’s new releases as spoiler-free posts — which are a lot smoother to get done when compared to our usual, (slightly) more analytical posts.
So, don’t worry. We’ve got a lot of material coming your way, it’ll just be a little sparser than before.
— Crow out.
Next up, one of the following:
Alien: Covenant (by the Azure-Winged Magpie)
Mimi no Kaidan, Ribs Woman, and The Phantom Mansion (by the Crow)