- Antho: Wizards of Mass Destruction
- Editor(s): Thom Brannan, Rob Pegler
- Pay Rate: $25 per story
- Reading Period: September 15, 2015 – March 15, 2016
- Guidelines: http://darktomorrow.net/?page_id=742
Author D.L. Snell conducted the following interview to give writers a better idea of what the editors of this specific market are seeking. Snell does not edit these answers in any way, so that writers can get a feel for the editors in charge.
1) Tell us a little about yourself and your career as an editor. Do you write as well?
Rob Pegler: This is my first time editing for an anthology, so I guess my career as an editor is a tale yet to be written. Fortunately, Thom’s here to hold my hand.
Thom Brannan: I have co-edited three anthologies to date, the first two volumes of Permuted's Cthulhu Unbound, and Superhero Monster Hunter: The Good Fight for Emby Press, as well as several novels.
RP: As for writing, I have one werewolf novel (Coppertown Red) on the market, a follow-up (The Species Problem) in the last stages of editing, and some short stories available in Emby Press’ Legends of the Monster Hunters series.
TB: I write, as well. Three collaborative efforts and three other novels.
2) What authors do you enjoy? What about their work captivates you?
RP: Gaiman, for the versatility of his work and the way he can take something completely ordinary and mundane (a lamp post, a housecat, a cup of coffee) and wring all the beauty and ugliness in the world out of it. He also has this uncanny way of making everything he writes sound almost like a true story, or a tall tale you heard down at the local. I haven’t read nearly as much Stephen King as I should have, but I like the straightforward way he goes about creating an image in your mind (especially a horrible one). And, like Gaiman, he makes it all feel real. I like Edward Rutherfurd for the sheer audacious scope of his books; one day I want to write a big fat history-spanning novel like London or Sarum, although mine would probably have vampires and dryads and things in it. Pratchett’s an old favourite too. And if comic authors count, John Wagner and Alan Moore.
TB: Some authors in my Top Ten novel list are John Steakley, Michael Marshall Smith, William Browning Spencer, Brian P. Easton, Jason S. Hornsby. They all do different things with their words, but it boils down to the ability to tell a story what hits you when and where you least expect it. When I set about to steal from the best, these are the gentlemen from whom I purloin.
3) Describe the ideal stories for this market.
RP: I think the only essential ingredients are a) a wizard or magical practicioner of some kind, probably with some unique specialty, and working within the nebulous ranks of the Century; and b) some real-life historical event or disaster in which this wizard played a role in the execution of his or her work, deliberately or otherwise. Thom gave the Doctor Who episode "The Fires of Pompeii" as a good example of what we’re looking for; I’m more of a “classic Who” man myself, so I’d aso cite the Fifth Doctor serial "The Visitation" (in which an exploding alien weapon accidentally starts the Great Fire of London).
TB: Definitely. There is history as is taught in books and written about by worldly scholars, and then there is History, which is mostly ranted about by people standing on boxes and wearing tin foil hats. It's the latter we're excited to read about.
RP: Within those parameters, we’re hoping for a wide spectrum of stories. All of history is yours to play with, and a range of styles and genres is welcome. (You can check the updates on the Dark Tomorrow site to see which historical events have already been claimed by another author.)
4) What types of characters appeal to you the most? Any examples?
RP: There are various types that appeal to me. Villains and anti-heroes especially, as long as they’re believable. What I find really interesting is the interactions between different types of characters, especially if they’re morally or ideologically opposed but working on the same side. If you’ve ever watched the first two seasons of Blake’s 7, you’ll know what I mean.
TB: The sidekicks and students are important. Everyone knows Batman's story, but how many of the casual fans are familiar with the tragedy of Tim Drake, the second Robin? Why is Tonto so beholden to the Lone Ranger? These people are amazing, and could handily be the main attraction in their own show, but you see them next to someone else.
5) Describe a few stories you’ve published previously and what made them stand out to you.
RP: Again, this is my first time working as an editor, but what always makes a story stand out for me is a strong opening that sets up the world and lets me know exactly what I’m in for.
TB: Good follow-through is also key. Don't give me a kick-ass opening and then fall apart. Recently, a story made it into the superhero monster hunter book, and it hit all the high notes. "Cat Got Your Tongue?" gave you the set-up and kept on burning at both ends until the story was told. Short fiction has to carry itself as it's the only time in the world you'll get to hear this story. In novels you have time to flesh things out, to give your characters room to stretch and grow. If you can accomplish the same in eight thousand words or less, I'm keen to have you on board.
6) Any last advice for submitters? Any critical dos and don’ts?
RP: The best advice is to read couple of Thom’s stories to get a feel for the sandbox you’ll be playing in. And then stake out your own corner of the sandbox, and bring your own toys.
TB: Be unafraid to alter the fabric of the world as you know it. That's what this anthology is all about, right? Change every damn thing for those with eyes to see. But, to borrow from the guidelines of another shared-world sandbox, don't destroy Chicago. Someone else is going to need it... unless you're doing it with the Great Fire, then by all means. Because that actually happened. HISTORY. Hah.
D.L. SNELL is an acclaimed novelist from the Pacific Northwest. His bestselling Pavlov’s Dogs series, co-authored with Thom Brannan, is available through Permuted Press. Snell also has had great success writing under the pen name David Jacob Knight.
To reprint this article, please contact D.L. Snell.