We are soliciting short stories by new and established authors in the military-fiction genre, between 3,500 and 7,000 words in length. At least ten entries will be selected for publication* in a short-story anthology, to be funded with a Kickstarter project. At least three entries will be selected from among those received before the Kickstarter goes live.
Payment to the selected authors will depend on the success of the Kickstarter. If it funds, authors will receive a minimum of $100 each (max $1,000). If it fails, authors will receive $25 each, paid out of my pocket. (Sign up here if you want to know when the Kickstarter goes live.)
How to submit: Email your manuscript (acceptable document formats: Word, PDF, Pages, TXT, RTF) to the following address: milfic at orenlitwin dot com. Begin the subject line with “[Submission]”, and make sure to list contact information in the email itself.
Submission deadline: April 1, 2017.
Genre: Military fiction, broadly defined. So resistance fighters against Nazis in Warsaw or a tyrannical government in Ohio would qualify, as would English longbowmen or samurai. “Near-future” speculative fiction is acceptable if set within the next decade. Supernatural or fantasy elements do not qualify for this anthology—if you are interested in those or other genres, please suggest them for our next project!
Prompt: “The odds are against us.”
(In particular, Mary-Sue or Rambo type characters who crush the opposition without effort are strongly discouraged. The protagonist(s) must face the likelihood of failure.)
Note: actual combat is not necessary. Day-in-the-life stories, or the travails of the humble logistics officer, or other stories not involving violence, are perfectly acceptable as long as they make good reading.
Entries must be your own work, must be previously unpublished, and may not be plagiarized. You must own all copyright to work submitted. No exceptions!
Works must show adequate command of the English language, grammar, and punctuation. Rule-breaking for effect, as with stream-of-consciousness writing or the use of a Flowers-for-Algernon type of narrator, will have to show particular merit. Otherwise, do your editing in advance!
Works with strong thematic elements are encouraged. The martial virtues—honor, courage, sacrifice, as well as less traditional ones like cunning and deception—are encouraged. Nihilism can be part of the setup, but should not be the conclusion—the characters should push through nihilism to the other side, whatever that is.
Religious themes are acceptable, but should be broadly drawn: using a character’s religious beliefs to illustrate the virtue of faith, or commitment, and so on—or conversely, using a character’s religious beliefs to illustrate the dangers of unthinking obedience, or us-versus-them attitudes, or whatever—rather than the specific endorsement or criticism of a particular religion or sect. (There is a difference between opposing barbarity that is motivated by a religion, and opposing a religion in toto.) Works that are overtly proselytizing, or overtly bigoted against a particular religion or against religion in general (or anything else, really), will be rejected out of hand.
Story length between 3,500 and 7,000 words.
PG-13. Swearing should be mild, sex of the fade-to-black variety; gore can be present if justified by the plot and theme, but should not be luridly emphasized.
* Selected authors agree to grant exclusive publication rights to their story in all media to Oren Litwin and/or his agents for a period of 12 months from publication date, or 24 months from the contest ending, whichever comes first. The authors agree to grant an irrevocable nonexclusive license to Oren Litwin and/or his agents to publish their story as part of this specific anthology, and no other, which will persist after publishing rights revert.
By submitting your work to this contest, you assert that you hold copyright to all elements of the work in question, and that your work does not infringe on someone else’s copyright. By submitting your work to this anthology, you grant an irrevocable nonexclusive license to the organizers of this contest to use any plot elements or character elements from your work, and agree not to sue the organizers for plagiarism regarding the use of particular plot or character elements. (Not that I intend to use anything, but I’d rather not be sued for something I write that has a character that is vaguely similar to one in a story submission I received years ago, thank you very much!)