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Tim Lieder

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Call for Submissions - She Nailed the Stake Through his Head - Tales of Biblical Terror [Oct. 16th, 2008|04:11 pm]
Tim Lieder
Call for Submissions

Seeking short stories for the Dybbuk Press anthology She Nailed the Stake Through His Head: Tales of Biblical Terror (working title).

What I'm looking for: Short stories primarily, ideally between 1000 - 12000 words. All stories must be based in some way on Biblical stories. Actually have a familiarity with the Bible. I may consider poems if they are particularly good but I hate 99% of all poems I read. This is primarily a horror anthology so the creepier the better. In many of these stories, you really don't have to work too hard to make them horrific.

Shouldn't be said, but please don't send me stories that are so ungrammatical and clumsy in their execution that they hurt to read. Style counts. Style counts a lot. I am a great fan of authors with great style. I'll read Tanith Lee's 5th grade essay on why she wants a pony before I even think of picking up another Dan Brown book for any other purpose beyond hurling it at the wall.

Retellings of Biblical Stories from the perspective of another character.
Kiastic Storytelling
Deconstructionist Commentary akin to Rashi
Biblical stories retold in different literary styles (high adventure, Victorian, Romance, Mystery, etc.)
Modern stories told in the Biblical style (Best use Robert Alter's Art of Biblical Poetry and Art of Biblical Narrative if you want a crash course)
Parodies of Prophets
"Queen Esther vs. The Brain Eating Penis Monster from Outer Space" (note that just sticking this title on a lame story is not going to endear you to me. Write a story that would justify this kind of title and I'm interested)
Biblical Movie Parodies (kind of a tough one considering that this genre gave us Lot freeing the slaves of Sodom, Edward G. Robinson playing Aaron in full gangster mode, splatterpunk Jesus and Richard Gere disco dancing in a diaper)

Basically if you're sticking with Biblical tales in Biblical times you have about 1500 years to work with. Empires rose and fell in this time.

Lists of Some books that may Help:
Torah Study 101
Ibn Ezra
25 Jewish Books
Bible Study Sampler
Outrageous Tales from the Old Testament

What I'm NOT looking for:

Normally this is the place where I say that I don't want any vampires, werewolves or ghosts but if you can stick a vampire into a King David story or put zombies in Ancient Assyria then I actually want to see it.

One Caveat to the last note: I read The Last Days of Jesus the Vampire. I thought it was a very clever idea that was poorly executed. Regardless, I'm not going to be terribly enthused with "Jesus was a vampire" stories.

Primarily, no preachiness. If your story is nothing more than an excuse to get on a pulpit, I'm not interested. That cuts all ways. The Left Behind series would have been fun in a goofy crazy way if it didn't keep stopping to tell the reader that JESUS IS LORD (then again, it's audience wouldn't have made it a bestseller.) But that also goes for atheist stories.

And please, no stories about how all the goddess worshippers were beautiful earth mothers until the mean old monotheists came along and killed everyone. I read enough of that Starhawk crap during my collegiate hippie phase.

I should also note that I've been publishing a lot of books geared toward adolescent males recently - splatterpunk, tough guy fiction, etc. - and I'm getting a little sick of the lack of decent female characters. So stories with strong women characters (there are plenty in the Bible - Sarah, Jezebel, Yael, Devorah, Rivkah, Esther, etc.) will make me happy.

I'm also 99% certain that I won't like your Adam & Eve story. Don't know if anyone writes these things anymore. I suspect that they've been ridiculed into the historical dust bin, but just in case, please don't send yours my way.

Addendum to the Do Not Want file: Some have chosen to ignore the "do not submit before December 1" part and they are getting snotty rejection letters back. However, I have looked at their stories for my own sardonic amusement and I now have a new list of what I don't want:
  • Do not set a Sodom & Gomorrah story in San Francisco
  • Do not send me a "poem" which is a paragraph of babble.
  • Do not retell a Bible story where the only difference is the way you Hebracized the names and having one of characters tell it (Example: Yosef was going to have a baby and...everything else is the slaughter of the innocents story told word for word from the Bible)
  • No seriously. Bland retellings of Bible stories. If you set it on a spaceship and give me the exact story word for word, it's not original. It's boring.
  • Poetry. Seriously. Unless you are Allen Ginsberg or Catherynne Valente, I don't want to read your poem.

Piece of advice: Do not ask for advice on your writing. I'm trying to buy stories, not run a Creative Writing Class.

Do not give me a list of your writing credits if your publication history consists of Lulu or Authorsden publications. I'm also not impressed by Nick Pacione edited anthology credits, but I can assume that you were young and stupid when you submitted to one.

A Personal Biographical Note: I was raised Lutheran. I converted to Judaism. Orthodox Judaism. That really shouldn't matter except I do kind of agree with Nietzche that slapping the "New Testament, a species of rococo taste in every respect, on to the Old Testament to form a single book, as bible, as book of books; that is perhaps the greatest piece of temerity and 'sin against the spirit' that literary Europe has on its conscience." That's not to say that I don't want Christian stories but most seem overdone.

Furthermore, I have read about 3 stories where the narrative relies heavily on that "Jewish scripture is for Meanies! Jesus is LOVE!" conceit. As soon as I read that, I roll my eyes. I could get into the fact that Jesus is Love until you disagree with him and then he's fucking David Koresh, but that's not really the point of saying this. Once you establish an atmosphere, suddenly hitting the reader with a Jesus is Love (example: "He was going to kill the sinners and then he thought about Jesus. He felt bad. He got over it.") paragraph you are going to have to work very hard to get back on track. So piece of advice: if you got a good thing going, don't fuck it up with a "what about loving Jesus" paragraph. You might as well shit on a wedding cake.

Format: Attach as either a .doc or an .rtf. DO NOT send .docx attachments. All .docx attachments will be deleted unread.

Pay: $50 advance against equal share of royalties to be paid out no later than publicatoin.

Reading Period: December 1 - December 31, 2008. All stories submitted before December 1 will be deleted unread! And yes, I do mean BEFORE December 1. I might extend the deadline for after December 31 if I don't find enough stories to fill an anthology (I'm shooting for between 8 and 12. I can go as low as 7.) I'm putting out the call for stories now because I want interested parties to write their stories and revise them before submitting them. I don't want trunk stories with cover letters trying to explain why your vampire is a Christ figure.

Reprints: Yes, I will take reprints, but let me know if it's a reprint or not when you submit.

Send to: tim_lieder (AT) yahoo - .rtf or .doc format only. If you want to put it in the body of the text, well go ahead.

These Guidelines could change with any questions. I will ask Ralan to link to this entry at the end of October.

[User Picture]From: dhole
2008-10-16 09:16 pm (UTC)
I've basically given up on writing short fiction, so this isn't for me. But you might want to clarify what you mean by the bible -- Is Pseudopigrapha in or out? Wacky Dead Sea cult stuff?
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[User Picture]From: marlowe1
2008-10-16 09:20 pm (UTC)
If it works, it works. Hell, the Book of Judith is one of the most enduring works of fiction out there and it can't even get the timeline right (it has Nebuchadezzer as the king of the Assyrians).

Personally, I'm mostly interested in the Jewish Canon but if people want to play in the Xian sand box and give me good stuff, then I'm not going to be picky.
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[User Picture]From: avantpop
2008-10-16 09:52 pm (UTC)
Jesus as vampire has been done a few times, notably the underground classic The Last Great Days of Jesus the Vampire...Lazarus as Zombie, hmm, explored in The Last Temptation of Yeshua. I like the retlling from others' POV., maybe John the Baptost from the POV of his beheader, "I didn't want to do it, but it was his head or mine, my Mistress said.,"
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[User Picture]From: marlowe1
2008-10-17 12:50 am (UTC)
Hell, Dracula himself is a Christ figure.

But I think Jesus the Vampire has to be one of the most disappointing books I've ever read. Maybe I was just reading too much Robert Anton Wilson at the time, but anything short of The Illuminatus Trilogy was not going to work for me.
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[User Picture]From: elbom
2008-10-17 01:40 am (UTC)
One of my favorite biblical short stories is Judges 19, a prime example of horror fiction at its best.
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[User Picture]From: marlowe1
2008-10-17 01:48 am (UTC)
If you can find a copy of Outrageous Tales from the Old Testament there's a great adaptation of that story. I think it's online somewhere. Neil Gaiman wrote it.
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[User Picture]From: fantomefrieze
2008-10-31 12:38 am (UTC)

Biblical Horror

What about a creepy moody piece with dark introspection about a figure from the Biblical Mythos. Had an idea I wanted to run with for a Garden of Eden story with almost nothing to do with Adam or Eve.
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[User Picture]From: marlowe1
2008-11-02 06:56 am (UTC)

Re: Biblical Horror

It might work. Might as well try it out. Although Milton rocked the whole Lucifer in the Garden motif way too hard for anyone else to not look like an imitator.
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[User Picture]From: marlowe1
2008-11-11 06:17 am (UTC)
Thanks. It's not really mine but the last two attempts crashed and burned, including the one that was going to publish my Elijah story "The Fire" (basically the end of Kings 1 during the three year drought that ends with ELijah coming back and slaughtering pagan priests.)
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[User Picture]From: jedimindtrick79
2008-11-14 04:57 pm (UTC)
I cannot tell you how excited I am about this one. Can't wait ti get going on it.
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[User Picture]From: marlowe1
2008-11-16 02:48 am (UTC)
You mean like Judith? Sure.

I find Judith most fascinating just because it was popular as a revenge fantasy throughout the middle ages when a lot of the communities were afraid of roving bands pillaging and raping. Judith is a reverse rape story where she upholds the integrity of the tribe. Granted, Yael and Sisera tells the same story but in the case of Yael and Sisera its subtext (unless you read the Midrash)
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[User Picture]From: _twilight_
2008-11-18 10:10 am (UTC)

In case it might be in that 1%

How about an Adam & Eve story that darkly satirizes how, as a cultural thing, violence and gore is considered more "innocent" than sexuality?
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[User Picture]From: marlowe1
2008-11-19 08:42 pm (UTC)

Re: In case it might be in that 1%

I have to be honest and state that both aspects of that story sound tedious but that's an initial impression and great writing can usually rescue a bad story (just as bad writing will kill a good story) so feel free to send it on December 1.
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From: duriechstsogutz
2008-11-22 01:31 pm (UTC)

Couple of quick questions

Any rules or restrictions regarding language? I'm working on a story with a modern setting and there's natural profanity - nothing gratuitous, and it's important for characterisation, but I wanted to check.

Also, this story has a sense of humour. Is relief from creepiness acceptable?

Matthew Fryer
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[User Picture]From: marlowe1
2008-11-23 08:30 pm (UTC)

Re: Couple of quick questions

Either is fine.
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From: avikatz
2008-12-04 08:01 am (UTC)

Actually Edward G. Robinson....

...played Dathan (aka Dotan, Abiram's buddy who joined the Korah mutiny) in The Ten Commandments movie. Aaron was John Carradine, father of David & Keith. Just for record.
If you need illustrations for your project, Marlowe...check out http://www.avikatz.net
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From: avikatz
2008-12-04 08:04 am (UTC)

in particular,

have a look at my "Alien Corn" series
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From: play_a_record
2008-12-09 03:16 am (UTC)
I was wondering if multiple submissions are ok? I've got a couple of ideas and I don't know whether to choose between them or just write both, but obviously if we are only allowed one submission I will throw one out right now.
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[User Picture]From: marlowe1
2008-12-11 06:56 pm (UTC)
Better just work on the best one. It will drive you crazy if you are trying to do two at once. If I like the story and put it in the maybe folder, feel free to send a second one.
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[User Picture]From: valarltd
2009-01-04 04:13 am (UTC)
Darn. I just found out about this...

I'll save the one about the Benjamanite's concubine (we're never told she is dead before he cuts her up!) for another time.
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[User Picture]From: fragilefolly
2009-03-04 02:36 pm (UTC)

Are you still taking submissions?

I know the deadline says Dec 08 or until filled, and this anthology is still listed in Duotrope. Are you still taking submissions?

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