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Taking Submissions: Upside Down: Inverted Tropes in Storytelling

December 31, 2015


Deadline: December 31, 2015
Payment: 0.06 per word, to be paid out of the Kickstarter. As creators ourselves, we are planning on introducing stretch goals to further raise the word rate.

Attention writers!

Announcing the open call for submissions for the upcoming Upside Down: Inverted Tropes in Storytellinganthology. This collection is edited by Monica Valentinelli and Jaym Gates, and will be coming in 2016 from Apex Publications.

There have been quite a few discussions in science fiction and fantasy addressing the idea of tropes and cliches, from whether they’re good or bad to how they change over time. Upside Down: Inverted Tropes in Storytelling is a collection of stories that aims to subvert many of the popular tropes and cliches to show them in a new light. Each story in our collection will be an author’s creative examination of a specific trope that is prevalent in science fiction, horror, and fantasy. Examples of tropes include some well-defined character tropes, but also storytelling tropes that lazily incorporate race, gender, religion, etc.

Writers who have already been accepted to the anthology include Alyssa Wong, Nisi Shawl, Sara M. Harvey, Maurice Broaddus, Kat Richardson, Nisi Shawl, Michael Underwood, and many more wonderful authors. Hugo, Chesley, and World Fantasy Award-nominated artist Galen Dara will be providing the art for our cover.

Tropes examined thus far include:

  • Chainmaille Bikini
  • The Magical Negro
  • The Super Soldier
  • Chosen One
  • Guys Smash, Girls Shoot
  • Love at First Sight
  • Damsels in Distress
  • Heroine Loves a Bad Man
  • Yellow Peril
  • The Black Man Dies First
  • The Villain Had a Crappy Childhood
  • The City Planet
  • Prostitute with a Heart of Gold
  • The Singularity will Cause the Apocalypse

To be considered for Upside Down: Inverted Tropes in Storytelling we ask that authors

  1. a) identify the trope and b) break, bend, twist, smash it in some creative, literary fashion.

Trope examinations may range from: poetry, short stories (up to 5000 words), flash fiction, interstitial fiction (e.g. fake interviews with public domain characters), song lyrics, and other written forms. Examples of additional tropes may be found in sites like http://tvtropes.org. Depending upon how you choose to address these tropes, we may decide to publish multiple stories based on the same trope, too.


What Monica is looking for: “I enjoy tight, lean, fearless stories from honest writers. If you’ve thought: “Maybe I shouldn’t write that…” I would probably love it. I also read a lot of diverse authors and works with an emphasis on deep characterization, cultural authenticity, dark fantasy, obscure folk tale re-tellings, and alternate history/futurism. I’m hoping to feature more voices and tropes, including envelope-pushing sex-and-gender based cliches, to give readers a collection with stories they might not have considered before. For example, maybe an exorcism that’s normally performed by a Catholic priest might incorporate voudon, Hinduism, Judaism, Buddhism, Mormonism, or Asatru beliefs. Or, alternatively, the fantasy trope related to virgin purity could be addressed through the eyes of a member of the Metis tribe or a povo de santo from Brazil. Should your story include details relating to characters like these, but fall flat on authenticity, then I’ll probably give it a pass.”

What Jaym is looking for: “Solid research, strong voice, and a clear understanding of your plot and setting. Think outside the box. Don’t worry about being the best out there, that’s what editors are for, just write the best you have in you. You’ll get extra points from me if your stories are relevant to current events.”


We plan to fund the cost of the stories, as well as cover art, layout, and production, via an Apex Publications Kickstarter campaign that we will launch early 2016. Our track record with Kickstarter, thus far, has been very successful and includes anthologies such as War Stories and Genius Loci.


Writers will receive $0.06 per word, to be paid out of the Kickstarter. As creators ourselves, we are planning on introducing stretch goals to further raise the word rate.


The submissions period opens now. It will close on December 31, 2015.


Please send all submissions as an attachment to [email protected] with a cover letter that clearly identifies the title of your story, its word count, your name and contact information, and the trope you are examining. Your manuscript should be formatting using the standard manuscript guidelines as a *.doc or *.docx file. Please note that we will only accept unpublished works for consideration. Submissions that do not meet these requirements will be deleted unread.


Monica Valentinelli

Monica Valentinelli is a full-time writer, developer, and editor of stories, games, essays, and comics for both her original properties and media/tie-in settings such as Firefly and Vampire: the Masquerade. For more about Monica, visit www.mlvwrites.com.

Jaym Gates

Jaym Gates is an editor, author, and communications manager. She’s the editor of the Rigor Amortis, War Stories, Exalted, and Genius Loci anthologies, as well as a published author in fiction, academic nonfiction, and RPGs.


You can get in touch with us at [email protected] regarding submissions, or[email protected] if you have any questions about the anthology. You can also find us on Twitter at @JaymGates and @mlvwrites.

Via: Apex Magazine.


December 31, 2015