22 April 2011

Romance Stories Accepted: Mixer Publishing

Post date: 22 April 2011
Mixer is a new online magazine that will launch in June and will publish literary genre (http://mixerpublishing.com/). We will publish at least one anthology per year, with a focus in a specific genre, or related genres (e.g. Realism and Romance; Horror, Noir, and Sci-Fi; Poetry and Graphic Art).

Since it's important to know what we mean by literary genre, please see our submission guidelines below before submitting. Submission is free.

Payment is $25-$100 per piece online, $25-$100 per piece print, and $500 for annual focus story .

In general, what makes a Mixer story? What is literary genre?

The most traditional starting place for the division between literature and genre is at the level of language. Genre typically features clear language that uses clichés so that plot/story can be emphasized. In genre, writers don’t want to burden the reader with deciphering symbols and subtext, so ambiguity or subtlety are not valued. We can also extend this clichéd/clear use of language to other elements of genre fiction: character, plot, point-of-view, etc. Therefore, a genre piece that excels or experiments with these elements—language, subtext, symbol, plot, point-of-view—is a possible Mixer story.

Mixing Formula or Genre: Since genre fiction is defined by a strict adherence to formula, any mixing of traditional formula can be considered a possible Mixer story.

However, although some stories may mix genre or formula, unless it’s well done or, at the very least, pretty interesting, we’re not going to publish it. We want successful experiments. However, some interesting failures may still be worth publishing. In addition, can a story deviate so much from a formula that it’s unpublishable? Maybe. Mixer is open to a wide range of possibilities: slight deviations or major. For example, a story may parody the conventions of Noir—mainly be a satire—but we’d still publish it in the Noir section because it’s playing in the milieu and is a part of our ongoing literary conversation.

Realism (pdf, doc, docx, rtf)

As a genre, realist stories tend to overvalue the epiphany--ah, our Joycean legacy, and curse!--character arcs almost always follow the trajectory of problems and yearnings that end in realization, understanding—the bright light of Truth that changes everything, forever, usually for the betterment of the protagonist (really?). Mixer Realism is more interested in the Chekovean arc; plots that challenge the notion that people are able to change in fundamental and long-lasting ways; or that question the assumption that all change is good or that insight and understanding are possible at all (or for all). Mixer Realism seeks stories that explore the ways and whys of stasis—the reasons why people (and cultures) don’t change; or how change can occur so rapidly and repeatedly that the notion of a stable identity is challenged. Charles Baxter's essay "Against Epiphanies" and David Jauss' "Returning Characters to Life: Chekhov’s Subversive Endings" are fundamental reading for Mixer realists.

Naïve realism also too often accepts social constructions as “natural”; Mixer Realism is more interested in stories that interrogate the naturalness of what is socially and historically constructed (not necessary or universal Truth, but contingent and relative truth).

Mixer also likes realist stories that mix in elements from other styles or genres: comedy, black comedy, satire, parody, surrealism, horror, noir, etc. The artful deployment of comedy or surrealism in a realist piece can go a long way in defamiliarizing typical realist motifs and assumptions about human nature.

Like most genre fiction, “literary” realism tends to value clear language, free of a heavy use of overt metaphor or simile. Heavily influenced by Hemingway and minimalism, most realists think simple language can convey the “truth” of the “real world.” But if the real world is always a social construction, the only value of simple language is to mask the constructed—by language—“nature” of the world. So Mixer likes maximalist, as well as minimalist language—the most important factor being that the language in someway defamiliarizes the reader.

Romance (pdf, doc, docx, rtf)

Mixer Romance should avoid the clichés and patriarchal ideology of the popular romance novels, like Harlequin romances. So men—especially archetypes of idealized masculinity—should not be saving women from lives of unfulfilling independence. Authors can avoid cliché by painting a more complex and less fantastic portrait of romantic love.

Many stories that are typically considered realist or simply "literature" can be seen more specifically as a species of romance—that is, literary romance—e.g., The Sun Also Rises, A Farewell to Arms, The Great Gatsby, The Remains of the Day, Brokeback Mountain, Jane Austen. Some of these are tragic romances, or even negative, ironic, comic romances. Mixer Romance appreciates diverse approaches such as these, but we're also interested in anything that defamilarizes traditional assumptions about romance and love--the quirky, the surreal, and dark humor are welcome here!

Parody and satire of romantic conventions are some of the primary qualities that Mixer Romance is looking for—beyond our general aesthetic of mixing genres together (e.g., romance and horror)—stories that intentionally parody or satirize the typical conventions and motifs of romance (Fay Weldon's The Life and Loves of a She Devil is an excellent example). Men do not save women from themselves or make them “real” women. Women are not Sleeping Beauties that need to be woken up to their burgeoning sexuality, or Eves that need to be tamed--unless, perhaps, these Eves are men. Gender deconstruction is always welcome at Mixer!

Horror (pdf, doc, docx, rtf)

Mixer Horror likes stories that play with the typical conventions and motifs of horror, while still using the power of the genre to scare the reader in ways that interrogate our knowledge of ourselves and the social constructions that supposedly keep us safe.

Mixer Horror, in general, is not big on supernatural horror--please don't send us stories of ghosts and ghoulies unless satire or parody are involved (for example, satires of organized religion). Mixer tends to like environments of realistic horror--urban, suburban, or rural settings--psychological and ontological horror. Think David Lynch or David Cronenberg, Edgar Allan Poe, Brian Evenson, J. G. Ballard, Paul Bowles. Mixer Horror is more about the subjective--especially solipsistic--experience of the world, not traditional horror's ideological (and intellectual) prostration to Good and Evil. Mixer Horror is more interested in the various modes of sociopathology, not spiritual or metaphysical explanations of evil.

Mixer also likes horror stories that mix in elements from other styles or genres: comedy, black comedy, satire, parody, farce, surrealism, noir, sc-fi, etc.

Noir (pdf, doc, docx, rtf)

Noir, which Mixer employs as a general term for detective stories, hardboiled crime fiction, and roman noir, should explore the dark yearnings and instincts that drive human choice. We are especially interested in the ethical ambiguities, cultural deviations, and psychological motivations--especially epistemological gaps--behind crime. We like labyrinthine detective stories such as those by Borges and Evenson; or chilling portraits of the criminal mind like Thompson's The Killer Inside Me. Dislocation, confusion, and mystery (especially the unsolvable kind) are essential elements to Mixer Noir.

***Please note: While Mixer appreciates classic Noir, we're looking more for stories that mix in elements from other styles or genres: comedy, black comedy, satire, parody, farce, surrealism, noir, sc-fi, etc. We typically do not want straight/traditional approaches to Noir. Postmodern Noir would probably be a fair, if somewhat general, term. However, something along the lines of Winter's Bone would be more than acceptable: a young female protagonist seeks to investigate the disappearance of her father, and descends into a world of darkness aligned against her (including the law). A mix of Southern Gothic, detective noir, and coming of age story, Winter's Bone tweaks the traditional formula just enough to make great literature. Non-traditional protagonists/anti-heroes are welcome at Mixer!

Science Fiction (pdf, doc, docx, rtf)

Mixer Sci-Fi should question the idea of progress, the old Enlightenment notion that technology and knowledge will always lead to human betterment or a Utopian civilization. Mixer Sci-Fi should question assumptions about what it is to be “human,” speculate about the future of what “humanity” is or could turn into. Is human empathy absolute, do we control our destiny, or could we evolve into a race of sociopaths whose only desires are consumption and profit?

Mixer Sci-Fi should avoid an overly scientific or techno-babble tone of voice, unless the intention is parody or satire. To this end, Mixer likes stories that mix in diverse elements: comedy, black comedy, satire, parody, farce, surrealism, noir, sc-fi, etc.

Sci-fi sub-genres/related genres: Dystopias are a favorite of Mixer, and related genres, such as post-apocalyptic/apocalyptic fiction, alternative histories, cyberpunk. Mixer stories should have the questioning attitude of the best speculative fiction (e.g., Borges, Ballard).

Poetry (pdf, doc, docx, rtf)

Mixer Poetry mixes different forms or meters to great effect. Think: the offspring of a villanelle and sonnet. Free verse freed of sloppy rhymes and filled with iambs, trochees, or dactyls that create interesting effects. Poetry that is not just prose with line breaks! And yes, line breaks should be broken for a reason greater than poetical whimsy. Prose poetry that employs odd forms (a newspaper ad; an obituary) to great effect is also very welcome. Do I really need to mention no cliches or sentimentality?

We like realist poems that break away from the cliches of insight and offer instead anti-epiphanies, anti-climaxes, puzzlement, or shifts in point-of-view. Endings that eschew understanding, that question epistemology, our ability to know the world.

We like poems that mix in tropes, images, styles, or themes from some genres not typically used in traditional poetry--e.g., noir, horror, sci-fi (dystopia!), black comedy, farce, surrealism. The trick here is that the style or genre is used, obviously, in an interesting way--not gratuitous or goofy. More like a new context or occasion for a poem.

Iconoclasm/parody/satire. Mixer loves poems that attack or play with the traditional tropes of "Poetry." Which means we want poems that make fun of convention--perhaps even while employing it--poems that interrogate the pastoral, the Platonic, the beauty of "Truth." Language experiments that call attention to the constructed nature of the world are also fine, but they must seek ambiguity, not opacity. Mixer digs the necropastoral!

Contact Information:

For submissions: click here

Website: http://mixerpublishing.com/
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