She found the old armchair on the pavement, a beat-up dark leather job. A classic freecycle.
From her student days into womanhood, it accumulated stories: her one-time bisexual romp, her mother’s last meal, her son’s playchair, her husband’s evening cigar: practising smoke-rings when he thought no one was watching.
The impression of derrières became ever deepened. The horse hair falling out of the caved seat was not a surprise, but the miniature femur which followed was. Later, she was shown five tiny skeletons, some wisps of human hair and the tapestry of slaughter soaked into the underside of the leather.
Above is the 100-word story “Freecycle” that I’ve just submitted for the Jeffrey Archer Short Story Challenge (NB I’ve checked the rules, and it’s fine for me to publish it here). Many thanks to the guys at WLWG for their feedback yestereve. As always, their input was invaluable. Fingers crossed. I will only hear if I’m one of the 20 shortlisted. But in any case, shortlisted or not, it was a good exercise to do it and I thoroughly enjoyed writing this piece.
Read more from Sophus about the Jeffrey Archer Short Story Challenge:
Tor UK is the Pan Macmillan imprint specialising in science fiction, fantasy and horror. Until now, Tor (as with many other mainstream publishers) did not accept direct submissions. In a recent blogpost announcement, Tor Books has now opened its doors to the floodgates.
Tor’s authors include Douglas Adams, James Herbert, Robert Jordan and Amanda Hocking. I wonder if it was the acquisition of the self-published success story Amanda Hocking that inspired the move. The refusal to accept direct submissions has made most publishers more and more insular over the years. Brick and mortar publishers come to become over-dependent on their already established authors, as well as on literary agents to be their filtration system for submissions. This wider casting of the net seems to be part of the general trend of the larger publishers, who have begun to realise that the self-published market is becoming a real competitive threat. Especially in the SFF genre.
It does mean that Tor will be inundated, I wonder how will they sift the chaff? I know from my experience of working at a publisher who did accept direct submissions, anyone from the postroom staff to HR who volunteered to read through the slush pile can be a filter for submissions. The likelihood that it will get to the eyes of the editor is unlikely, as sadly, the majority of submissions are, for want of a better term, slush. Tor’s filtration system for submissions will be the true test of whether their bold move into the brave new world of publishing will work.
Tor will accept English language full length novel (95,000 – 150,000 word) submissions in the genres of science fiction, horror and fantasy only. Submissions need to be via email: TorUKSubmissions@macmillan.com. Have a look on the Tor Blogpost for details of how to submit your work.
Posted in Books, Fairy Tales, Publishing, Submissions, Writing
Tagged Amanda Hocking, Direct Submisisons, Douglas Adams, Fantasy, Horror, James Herbert, literary agents, Macmillan Publishers, Publishing, Science Fiction, SFF, Slush Pile, Submissions, Tor, Tor Books
The advent of ebooks has breathed new life into the short story, but a new competition by Curtis Brown and Kobo has given it a new twist. The Jeffrey Archer Short Story Challenge, judged by Jeffrey Archer is for writers in the UK, US and Canada in any genre, submissions: 100-word max.
Rather short, n’est-ce pas?
The prize is a rather yawning free enrolment in a Curtis Brown online novel-writing course, but the proposition is intriguing. Having recently pondered the art of sentence-making (NB the shortest horror story Knock), I’m inspired to enter. For the second time today, challenge accepted!
(FYI, by way of example, the article above is 100-words).