Contamination-Apparition Lit: Give Me Your Words

Since accepting the role as guest editor for Apparition Lit’s Contamination Issue, I’ve been thinking a lot about what contamination means. Not just that, but how it can show up in stories and poems. Apart of my role as editor, I believe, is to help give you an idea of how best to navigate getting your story chosen. So, I thought I would share some resources and a want list of things I’d love come through.

First things first, if you’re wondering how to write a piece that gets some attention, I’ve written a little about it over on Cat Rambo’s blog. Little pointers to help sharpen up your story. This lecture on writing short stories by Mary Robinette Kowal is also extremely useful.

If you haven’t read the magazine, give it a read and familiarize yourself with the readers bent—I’m not the only one who’ll come across your story. There’s also a valuable write up over at Apparition about what we are looking for.

What I’d Love to See You Submit

  • Show me how contamination effects more than just people.
    • Think:
      • Infrastructures
      • Group dynamics
      • Town/city design
      • Nature
      • Communication/language
  • Show me stellar world building without sacrificing story or character. Use the unfolding of narrative progression and character interaction and dialogue to show me the world. MAKE YOUR SENTENCES DO MORE.
  • Let me know from the first line that you know your story and have authorial control. Show me that you know what you’re saying and how you want to say it.
  • Queer stories always
  • BIPOC stories always
  • Give me characters with disabilities
  • Tell me stories featuring ace/aro representation
  • Make it scary, emotional, and thoughtful
  • Give me friendships that make me cry
  • I love a good horror story.
  • Poetry doesn’t have to rhyme, but I’d like it to resonate.
  • Give me poems with deliberate line breaks that confront and surprise me.
  • Horror poems
  • Stories about or featuring food and dishes in an important way.
  • I love setting as character or a setting that’s treated like a character.
  • If you’re going to write a Covid story, do so in a way that realizes that this is a current and very real pandemic that people are dying from and experiencing trauma that will last into the future.
  • Show me hope. Show me dark hope.
  • Show me your world and life through the speculative lens.
  • Show the aftermath of contamination, the work it takes to rebuild.