Trends

It's been almost 3 weeks now.  We've received 185 stories, and responded to 107 of them (89 rejections and 18 hold requests).   And we've started to notice a few trends.

We mentioned this in our last post, but as a reminder, we're seeing a lot of reprints, while we have more room for original stories.

In terms of genre, most of the stories we're seeing are either science fiction or what we call, for lack of a better term, spiritual stories. These are stories where the sole speculative element is the manifestation of Christian cosmology: miracles, angels and demons, visions, et cetera.  On the other hand, we've seen only a few horror stories, and very few fantasy stories with magic and fantastical creatures. We really want those to be represented in the anthology, so we're hoping to see more.

We'd also like to see more stories about Christian characters whose faith affects the character or narrative arc in a significant way, especially Christian characters from Asia, Africa, and Latin America.  We've received very few submissions with characters who aren't American or British, and we'd love to be able to publish some stories from other perspectives.  We also really like well-researched historical fantasy.

There are some story concepts that we've seen more than once, and expect that we'll see even more of before the end of the submission period. These aren't necessarily bad concepts (I think we're holding one of almost all of them), but you should know that it's highly unlikely that we'll publish more than one story with the same central conceit, so if you have more than one story you're considering sending, you may want to send the one that's different from these:
  1. Gabriel annunciates to some modern woman
  2. Vampires are concerned for the state of their souls
  3. Satan gets a shot at redemption
  4. Alien converted to Christianity is better at it than the humans
  5. A bad man receives divine punishment
  6. The apocalypse has happened, and it's different than expected
  7. St. Francis tames and/or befriends a mythical creature
  8. Stories about Santa Claus--granted, we were kind of asking for this one by making Christmas our closing day
  9. A physics experiment changes the nature of God and/or ends the world
  10. A Catholic priest is sent by his superiors to disprove a miracle
  11. Allegorical retellings of Bible stories (these are a very hard sell with us)
  12. Deals with the devil
We're getting a lot of stories where angels are the only Christian element.  At least the angels we've seen so far have all been actual supernatural beings rather than dead humans sent back to Earth a la It's a Wonderful Life/Highway to Heaven.  But angels and demons are kind of the vampires and werewolves of Christian cosmology; we'd love to see some of the other concepts that don't get explored as often. Or at least some of the weirder Biblical images of angels, as opposed to the usual magical humans with big wings.

And while it's less likely to affect your chances of getting into the anthology, you may want to reconsider your title if it's any of the following:
  • Centered around a famous Biblical place name (Gethsemane, for instance)
  • "The <city name> Terror"
  • A phrase from a famous Bible verse
  • A famous hymn name
  • A single word title starting with "C"--we're not really sure where this one comes from, but we're seeing a lot of them.
None of these is necessarily a bad name for a story, but we're seeing them a lot and don't want to publish two stories with excessively similar names--though in that case, if we decide we like them both we'll probably ask one or both authors to change the title rather than reject either story outright.

Keep the stories coming!  Everything we receive before the close of the submission period will be considered just as seriously as stories sent on the first day, no matter how many stories we're already holding. We look forward to reading your work.

Comments

  1. Time for a mini panic attack over your not liking "The Terror". That describes my title perfectly, and I thought I was being original. ;)

    Keep on keeping on! I have high hopes for this anthology, regardless of the outcome. It's high time we get some decent Christian horror/sci-fi out there to make up for the 'Left Behinds' of the genre.

    ReplyDelete
  2. Don't worry. If there's an issue with the title, it's unlikely to affect our decision to hold or reject the story. We may just suggest a different title, at least if we decide we want to publish two stories where the titles are similar.

    ReplyDelete
  3. How mainstream do these Christian-themed stories have to be? If you're talking about Latin American characters, the Virgin of Guadalupe seems like fair game--but she's very much a Mexican Catholic manifestation of the Blessed Virgin. I'm not even sure what Protestants think of her.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. We're not limiting our definition of "Christian" to elements that fit neatly into the experience of evangelical Protestants, so I think that stories about the Virgin of Guadalupe (for example) would be fine. It would depend on the story, of course. We'd be less interested in a story where the Virgin of Guadalupe is "really" a re-skinned Aztec goddess that those silly Catholic priests have been conned into accepting as part of their tradition. In general, we're kind of bored of stories where the "real" power of some aspect of Christianity comes from some other religious tradition (or science!) and the gullible Christians have been conned into believing otherwise. We've received several submissions along those lines, and didn't find any of them especially compelling. If the main point of a story is "Christianity is definitely wrong", we're probably not interested. (Doubting or questioning is fine, though.)

      Delete

Post a Comment