Submissions Open: Chiaroscuro

This Anthology is currently on HOLD. We hope to reopen submissions for a revised version early 2016.

First Drafts Required by July 1st, 2015

Chiaroscuro (English pronunciation: /kiˌɑːrəˈskjʊəroʊ/; Italian: [kjarosˈkuːro]; Italian for light-dark) in art is the use of strong contrasts between light and dark, usually bold contrasts affecting a whole composition.

Our next shared anthology is to be a collection of contemporary fantasy/speculative fiction.

That is to say, set in our world – or a world much like ours – but with fantastical elements. This can include, but is not limited to: supernatural (ghosts, werewolves, vampires), a hidden world of magic (ie:a Harry Potter), a not-so-hidden world of magic, alternative tech (ie: steampunk), animals that can talk and so forth – your imagination is the limit.

Contributions will be divided into one of three categories:

Light: Even within the gritty, urban streets, beauty can be found. A daisy, poking its head from a crack in the concrete, a bird, nesting in the eaves of a business’s balcony. Children, playing games of make-believe in the gardens or along the river, tales that sometimes come true. The fairies at the bottom of the garden. There is magic to be found everywhere, in the everyday, and it is too often forgotten in the grim and grit of modern life. Tales for this section should be of a light-hearted, gentler nature. This does not mean that they cannot have elements of darkness, merely that the overall feeling should be one of hope. Bittersweet is also encouraged. Should have a happy ending, or if not entirely happy, at least the sort of ending that leaves the reader feel satisfied and fulfilled. Inspirations: Diana Wynne Jones, Cornelia Funke, Kate DiCamillo, Cecilia Ahern, Joanne Harris. Possible theme ideas: finding romance in an unlikely source; discovering something new and exciting; modern-day fairy-tale retellings with an upbeat twist; the underdog rising to power/success/triumph …

Dark: Dark and gritty, where monsters lurk in the shadows, oppression and rebellion. Where friendships are fragile and challenges feel insurmountable. Tales for this section should be heavy, gritty, lure the reader in, keep them glued to the page. They can still be funny, possibly even the sort of funny that leaves the reader feeling faintly uncomfortable with themselves for finding it amusing. Can be disconcerting, uncomfortable. Should also contain some elements of light and hope. Can have either a moderately happy ending, a tragic ending or anywhere in between. Should not be too dark and twisted, please keep it to a level that you would be comfortable for your (real or hypothetical) teenage children to read. Inspirations: Suzanne Collins, Neil Gaiman, China Mieville, Chris Wooding… Possible theme ideas: modern-day retold Grimm fairy tales; ghosts/vampires/demons and other creatures of the night; rebellion against an oppressor …

Chiaroscuro: With shades of light and dark. If you are not sure which category your concept fits into, aim for this one.

Setting: A city or other urban environment in Earth, or another world, modern day + or – 200 years (so from 1815-2215). Can be alternate-reality (ie: steampunk, Germany won the war etc); hidden world (there are vampires and demons amongst us); discovery (there is more to this world than what we believe); utopia; dystopia… if you are unsure, feel free to ask. We are pretty open to suggestions or broader interpretations.

Word Count: up to 7,000 words


* use UK English spelling.

* must be proof-read and grammar checked.

* single spacing after full stops (periods).

* double quotes around speech (the ones that curl inwards, towards the speech please) .

* save as a .doc file.

* please no excessive violence, overly-descriptive sex scenes or ridiculous amounts of swearing (the latter should be used to enhance/show the character’s levels of tension, not act as a form of punctuation).

Story should stand alone and contain all the relevant story-telling attributes: conflict, rising action, climax, falling action. Remember those oft-repeated cliches: “Arrive late, leave early” and “show, not tell“. If you need advice, or struggle with these, come to the facebook page and ask for assistance. Even the lighter stories must have some sort of conflict/problem for the character/s to deal with.

Here’s a link I just found that may be useful:

Ideally I would like first (polished) drafts by the 1st September. It will then be read through by our editing committee. Not all stories will necessarily be accepted. We reserve the right to reject your story or request an edit. To this end, we will offer a short critique for every submission if requested. We cannot pay you. Proceeds from this anthology will go to help support the Christchurch Writers’ Guild and help us to plan some events that you are welcome to participate in (should you happen to live in New Zealand). We can, and will, give you a free copy of the ebook and offer you reduced rates for printed copies, should you wish to purchase any for friends or family. You will also be given a full page biography, including a chance to link your website or promote your other titles, within the book. The book will be independently printed via Amazon’s CreateSpace program and through Kindle Direct Publishing. Illustrators are also welcome to contribute.

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