*TEMPORARILY CLOSED TO SUBMISSIONS*
I’ve never wanted to do this, but I’m very sorry to say that NDF is a bit too backed up in the submissions department (much more so than usual), and feel I have no choice.
I read every submission NDF receives (often several times), and take each into serious consideration.
If you have something ready, and would like to receive a notice regarding when we’re open to submissions again, send an e-mail with your request to:
I will let you know the moment we are open.
Hopefully this will only take a few weeks.
Thank you, all New Dead Friends and Family.
ADDENDUM: Not to worry. All submissions I have received are still under consideration.
Again, my thanks.
*NOTICE* First and foremost: please, NO ATTACHMENTS. Please paste your submission into the body of an e-mail. My thanks.
Now . . .
New Dead Families is currently accepting submissions of imaginative work of a non-realist nature. Please read the work and the blog posted here to get a better idea of what I’m looking for.
Surrealism, irrealism, fabulism, slipstream, magic realism, new weird (or “old weird,” for that matter), “speculative fiction,” science fiction and fantasy of literary quality* will all be considered. A sense of humor doesn’t hurt either. For instance: I’m still of the opinion that the unjustly forgotten Thorne Smith and Charles G. Finney were two of our finest, and am more likely to be re-reading them in ten years than many of the more “serious” authors I’ve also appreciated and enjoyed. Remember: Beckett wrote cerebral slapstick, and Kafka considered himself a humorist. Those fellows (who are also two of my favorites) are still with us because, beyond the bleakness, they still thought this whole mess was worth a few solid yucks (ie if you can’t laugh, you shouldn’t bother breathing).
But no genre “spoofs,” please.
Also: do not be afraid of plot and/or character. I am perfectly fine with receiving work that features an actual narrative (or multiple ones, for that matter). It’s been an ongoing intellectual skirmish of sorts, but the schism between “fictions” and “stories” seems to have expanded dramatically in the last several years. Occasionally I’m concerned that some of our best and brightest new authors will focus so exclusively on exploring the pyrotechnical tricks they can perform in the former area** that the latter category will somehow begin to seem permanently fixed “below art,” and after another generation or so nobody will be developing, much less practicing, the craft of fictional storytelling at all in favor of merely attempting to outdo and out-dazzle one another in what will essentially be a brand of aesthetic sport of little or no interest to those not actively participating in the game.
In short: I appreciate, thrive on, personally produce, and will certainly publish extreme prose experiments, but there’s also no need to shy away from the story here.
What I’m most certainly NOT looking for:
1. Realism of the standard Carver/Bukowski/Cheever*** etc. variety. I have enjoyed and appreciated those authors and a great deal of that sort of writing as much as they next guy, but for NDF there must be “fantastic” elements present in the work (note: the work must also go beyond wildly imaginative, esoteric, or baroque utilization of language). There are so many fine places publishing the former sorts of work that there isn’t any point in starting another.
2. Straight hard and/or military SF (unless your idea of good military SF is Malzberg’s “Final War”).
3. Straight fantasy (of the elves/fairies/sword&sorcery/D&D/”Harry Potter” sort).
4. Straight horror (from “splatterpunk” to Troma “B-movie” type work, and any sort of teenage, Mormon vampire and/or zombie schlock is absolutely right out). If you employ grisly elements ala Brian Evenson or Cormac McCarthy, that’s fine, as long as those elements are not the primary focus of the piece (ie gratuitous).
At this point I’m considering work of 5 to 7,000 words. Very tiny prose things are still very popular to both produce and publish, and I receive more of those than anything else, so be aware that it is the most competitive format to work in. I will consider excerpts of larger works, but they really must stand on their own to the extent that you shouldn’t even need to inform me that they are excerpts of larger works. I’m not entirely opposed to the idea of serializing work, but for something to be serialized here, it’s going to have to be incredibly good, incredibly gripping, and at least 20,000 words long in its entirety.
So, send no more than 7,000 words of prose (this can be up to three pieces of flash, or prose poems, that add up to less than 7,000 words), or up to three poems****.
Paste your work in the body of an e-mail with a brief bio (100 words, or less), and send it to:
Your subject line should read:
Send links to artwork, video, or audio. No attachments, please.
Although in many ways I’d enjoy nothing more, there’s simply no possibility of my responding with a full, or even partial, critique of your work. There are not enough hours in the day, and it would likely take me the bulk of the existing 24. So, I have to implement the universally despised, necessary evil known as the form e-mail (which most often will be a rejection). If you’ve been at this for any length of time, you’ve undoubtedly received something like this before:
Thank you for giving us the opportunity to consider your work. Unfortunately it is not appropriate for us at this time, but we wish you the best of luck in placing it elsewhere.
Perhaps they also say they look forward to considering (and probably rejecting) more of your work in the future. Perhaps they say, in some fashion or another, close, but no cigar. What you can probably count on, in either case, is becoming a part of their mailing list, and having the wound they’ve inflicted on your writerly ego salted every few weeks or so with updates regarding how fine their publication seems to be doing without your contribution.
I won’t do that. What I’m going to do might be a bit worse, actually, but it will at least be a bit different. I will send you the general temperature of your piece in regards to its appropriateness for my personally curated blogazine here, and they will work like this:
And if you refer back to this spot (the loathsome little e-note shall remind you to do so), you will find that this means either you are so wide of the mark that you can’t possibly have read much of anything here (which probably makes me wonder why you’d care to have your stuff appear on my site at all, but hell, writers are occasionally strange, desperate, hasty beings), or your piece really needs a great deal more work.
You’ve got the idea, or at least some of it, and perhaps talent to boot. But maybe this isn’t your strongest piece, which you are perhaps saving for “somebody big” (my friend, why bother?), or this one simply still needs more work.
Cripes, you almost made it. We could probably spend considerable time (if I had any to spare) shooting the idiomatic breeze over a brew about more than a few things, but this one, alas, still needs some tinkering. This might be the worst, most frustrating reading to get, I know. However, in the instance of receiving a “HOT” note, you probably will get a few words from me regarding what did and didn’t work with your piece (although this is no guarantee of a future beer-and-babble), which might be of use to you.
If your work is accepted, I will request an attachment of the piece as a Word doc., or whatever other format is required, and we’ll begin the back and forth of the magical editing process together.
I will respond as quickly as possible, but bear in mind that I am also dedicated to multiple jobs, multiple artistic endeavors, cooking, eating, sleeping, and the lovely Miss Dabber, so please don’t just sling stuff my way for the heck of it unless you really dig what I’m saying and what I’m publishing, and truly feel your work belongs.
Last and least (from my perspective), this is not a paying market. I actually lose a bit of money doing it (you might have noticed that nobody pays to get in here), but if that changes the creators who have their work placed in New Dead Families will be the first to benefit financially from this miraculous reversal of fortune.
It’s hard. I know.
Thank you, friends.
*I’m aware of how problematic this term is. See the “Introducing” section of the first issue, or first blog entry.
**Consider it this way: how long do you suppose you could you listen to what seems to be a very accomplished guitar solo if you yourself do not play the guitar?
*** Yes, all of these authors produced SF in one form or another at some point, but those pieces aren’t the works they are primarily known/notorious for (ie the sorts of stories featuring the characteristics that entirely too many people have already “borrowed” from them ad nauseam).
**** A note concerning poetry: I am a tremendous fan of poetry, and have always preferred prose informed by it, but am still somewhat hesitant about completely opening the floodgates here, as it is fairly easy to qualify the bulk of poetry as “non-realist,” in some way or another. So what I’m suggesting is this: before you send any poems my way, see how it works if you format your stanzas into paragraphs, “prosifying” the piece. Does it have any sort of narrative quality, however abstract? If so, good, as that’s a bit more in line with what I’m seeking to publish here. Now, go ahead and break it up the way you had it before, unless, of course, you actually like the way it reads better now. Thank you.