SUBMISSIONS: OPEN UNTIL AUGUST 27, 2022
What We Are Looking For
Old Moon publishes character-focused, weird sword-and-sorcery: stories of a dark and transgressive nature, set in a secondary or historical-paranormal (“our” reality, but with a twist, if you will) world, with a focus on rounded characters undergoing some sort of conflict, resolved (though not always successfully!) by the might of their main or mind.
We love stories that combine that sense of action and adventure with well-rounded characters who make us question our own realities and perceptions. We love to see the gothic, the baroque, the eldritch, and we love to see it hit with an axe.
Weird fiction and sword-and-sorcery can both be slippery terms. That is part of the fun! But, for our purposes we know it may help prospective writers if we list a series of authors and their stories we feel encompass (at least in part) what we love about the borderland of sword/sorcery and weird fiction:
Laird Barron ("Oblivion Mode," "Ode to Jode the Toad")
E.R. Eddison (The Worm Ouroboros)
John R. Fultz ("Chivaine")
Robert E. Howard ("The Shadow Kingdom," "Worms of the Earth")
Caitlin R. Kiernan ("The Sea Troll's Daughter")
John Langan ("The Savage Angela in: The Beast in the Tunnels")
Tanith Lee (Birthgrave, "Southern Lights")
C.L. Moore ("The Black God's Kiss")
Silvia Moreno-Garcia (The Return of the Sorcereress)
Michael Shea (Nifft the Lean)
Clark Ashton Smith ("The Charnel God," "Necromancy in Naat")
E. Catherine Tobler ("The Living, Vengeant Stars, "And After the Fire, A Still Small Voice")
Gene Wolfe ("Bloodsport")
The list could go on and on, of course, but we feel those provide a representative sample of the work we enjoy. We do not ask for pastiches of their work, but simply as examples of the diverse tones and forms weird fiction and sword/sorcery may take when at their best.
Characters: We want defined, rounded characters who encounter and interact with conflict of some kind (preferably weird!) over the course of your story.
Narrative style: We’ve a broad taste in styles, from the poetic to the plain. Our preferred prose is vibrant yet readable. Particularly poetic prose can win us over, but it must always support the story itself.
Point-of-View: We prefer limited POVs: first-person and third-person limited, for example, but will accept any if done well.
Grammar: We tend to prefer works that stick to established rules of written English, though we understand the need to deviate for artistic purposes.
Originality: We want original works that speak with your authorial voice and flair. Though we love Lovecraftian works, for example, we are not necessarily all that enthused by straight pastiche.
Setting: We prefer medieval and antique-adjacent settings, though we're not strict on that point. But in general, we prefer something either pre-gunpowder or early-gunpowder. It can either be a version of our own real world, or a constructed secondary world (or a combination thereof).
Extreme Content: We do not mind violence or sexual content, but we prefer it not be the sole or defining feature of a work. Gore for gore’s sake, extended torture scenes, depictions of extreme violence/conduct done to children, drawn-out erotic scenes and so forth are not right for our venue.
Length: 1000-4000 words. This is a hard limit, unfortunately.
Simultaneous Submissions: We do not accept them.
Multiple Submissions: We do not accept them. Send only one story at a time, please.
Rights: We purchase first world electronic rights (i.e. we will be the first place to publish this story electronically.) NOTA BENE: You cannot publish a story we buy as a first-run or “new” story anywhere else in the world; this means it can only be published elsewhere as a reprint, typically at a much lower rate. Since we can not yet offer a pro-rate for our writers (i.e. 8c a word, as defined by SFWA), you must decide for yourself whether this is the appropriate venue for your work as opposed to a higher- (or lower-) paying venue.
Payment: We pay 5c (0.05 USD) per word per short story. Payment occurs within 30 days of online publication, via PayPal.
Please send submissions as a .doc or .docx file to Old Moon's email: title your email "Submission: [title]."
Provide a short, 1-2 line cover letter with the story's name and word count. Please do not provide an intro or synopsis of the story (we like to be surprised).
We'd appreciate if your manuscript was in something approaching "Standard Manuscript Format," as well.