The theme for Contest Eight: “Bridges” has been announced! Entries will be accepted from December 15, 2014 to January 4, 2015. Winners will be announced February 6, 2015. We’ve kept the Artwork category for a second contest since you told us you liked it. See the full contest listing for details.
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Spark will be closed to new submissions from December 1, 2014 to January 31, 2015. We will reopen on February 1, 2015.
Announcement: Spark Takes a Winter Hiatus
Ember: A Journal of Luminous Things
Spark is a quarterly anthology accepting Poetry, Flash Fiction, Short Stories, and Creative Non-Fiction. All great writing will be considered, but we actively encourage submission from CSSSA alumni and faculty. Learn more.
Submissions are managed through our Submission Manager, powered by Submittable . If you submit by e-mail, we will direct you to use our Submission Manager instead. A link-button to submit your work can be found at the bottom of this page, after you have read through the submission guidelines.
We encourage all submitters to view our statistics and track their submissions on Duotrope.
What We Are Looking For ~ Styles
Short Stories up to 12,000 words will be considered. However, “twelve thousand” is not a goal or a challenge, it’s an upper limit. More important than word count is the quality of your work: we are looking for excellent, polished writing that pulls us into an engaging story.
Most forms are considered, both metered and unmetered, traditional and experimental. Poems from 3 to 100 lines have the best chance of acceptance. You may submit up to three poems at a time, but a separate submission form must be completed for each poem.
The ideal length for Flash Fiction submissions is about 500 to 750 words, but pieces up to 1500 words may be submitted in this category. Remember that Flash Fiction is not the same as Vignette; your short piece should still present an interesting and compelling story.
Creative Non-Fiction is the beautiful union of exposition and literature. Tell us a true story, and tell it well. Word count limits are the same as for Short Stories.
What We Are Looking For ~ Genres
Spark is not a genre-specific anthology; we are looking for great stories without boundaries. Therefore, most genres are considered, including Speculative Fiction, Western, Young Adult, Fantasy, Sci-Fi, Mystery/Crime, everything in-between, and impossible-to-classify works that blend elements from multiple categories. However, due to current market saturation, the specific sub-genre “Young Adult Paranormal Romance” has very little chance of acceptance unless it’s truly amazing.
What We Are Looking For ~ Content
The following explanation of what Spark: A Creative Anthology is looking for is excerpted from an interview with blogger Tina Pollick on December 7, 2012. (Read the full interview.)
Tina Pollick: What do you look for in a story—or a poem? Why?
Brian Lewis: It’s interesting that you say “story” and not just “submission”—and that’s actually important, because what we’re looking for is a story. Spark is looking for great writing that tells a compelling story, regardless of length. Even very short pieces, like flash fiction, should tell a story, though there will certainly be fewer dramatic elements developed than we’d see in a longer piece or novel. The presence of “story” is what distinguishes flash fiction from “vignette.”
The flash fiction piece “Five Hundred,” by D. Laserbeam, is a good example of a very short story—just over 900 words—that has an arc of interest, tension and resolution, while leaving many questions unaddressed and dramatic elements undeveloped. The engagement it immediately creates makes it much more than a vignette, and that’s why we accepted it for Volume I.
For poetry, I also look for a story, but the story may be implied. Of course, there is a lot more flexibility for poetry, and some styles tend to emphasize descriptive language over storytelling. I’ve also seen some poetry submissions which go too far, focusing so much on story that they are little more than prose stories with poem-style line breaks. So, for poetry, I tend to use the very subjective measure of accepting poems which make me say, “Wow!”
Two poems which tell a great “implied story,” both of which will appear in Volume I, are Image of a Treasure, as a Negative by Valentina Cano, and a modern tanka by Darrell Lindsey.
What We Are Not Accepting
Above all else, we appreciate great stories and great writing, and we try to be open about the content we select. However, to give yourself the highest chance of acceptance, here are a few things to consider.
See our full submission schedule for details.
Rights & Rates
Details on rights and rates can be found on the Rights & Rates page. Please visit this page before submitting.
We do not accept printed submissions. Paper manuscripts will be discarded unread.
We happily accept simultaneous submissions, so long as you show us the courtesy of letting us know that it has been submitted elsewhere, and withdrawing your submission promptly if your work is accepted by another publication.
For questions or clarification on any topic, please contact us at firstname.lastname@example.org.
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