Guidelines for Spellbound & Spindles

The guidelines below are for a special issue of Spellbound—a children’s fantasy e-zine for 8-12 year olds—and Spindles—a companion adult anthology.

Both anthologies will feature fairy tales retold to feature POC, LGBT and disabled characters, as well as non-Western European and non-North American settings.  We are looking for poetry and fiction, as well as artwork for both books.  Detailed guidelines are below, please read through them before submitting.  It is worth it to read through the comments below also, especially if you have a question because it might have already been answered there.

Please note: Spindles is NOT an erotica anthology.  Also, the emphasis on diversity and fairy tale retellings outlined in the paragraph above applies to all the content we’ll be publishing: fiction, poetry and artwork.

What do we mean by fairy tale?

ETA 4/13/2014: There’s been valid criticism of our criteria on what constitutes fairy tales. What’s been posted to the guidelines so far (the link to the Aarne-Thompson classification system below) has its limits–and is very Euro-centric. Because we want this project to be as inclusive and diverse as possible, I’m searching out other examples and lists I can point to and reference when looking at if what is and isn’t a fairy tale. My search isn’t turning up any master list but there is this: List of Fairy Tales. I’ll keep looking over the next couple of weeks and post when and if I find better references.

A general definition of the term “fairy tale” is hard to come by, and often one has to fall back on the old, “You know it when you see it.”  However, we’re relying on the Aarne-Thompson classification list for the bulk of our source material.  This is not a definitive list, and there may be fairy tales that aren’t there.  However, it is a good starting point.  When in doubt, feel free to ask.  Note, however, fairy tales for the purpose of these anthologies does not include: mythology, fables, riddles or nursery rhymes.

We are now open to submissions.  The reading period runs from October 1, 2013 to April 30, 2014.

All submissions sent during the reading period will get a response.

Fiction

Fiction Editor: Raechel Henderson

Spellbound word limit = 2,500
Spindles word limit = 5,000
Payment = 5 cents per word; 2.5 cents per word for reprints
Rights bought: First World English-language Rights
Multiple submissions welcome, but please send one story per e-mail
No simultaneous submissions

Stories should follow the standard fairy tale structure or match the structure of the fairy tale they are retelling, but can be placed in any time period. We’ll only be publishing one version of each story (so one Cinderella, on Snow White, etc.) so authors are encouraged to submit as many different stories as they want. We are looking for fairy tales from all over the world; not just Grimm and Anderson.

Please send fiction submissions to submissions@eggplantproductions.comSend submissions in the body of the e-mail. No attachments!

Poetry

Poetry Editor: Marcie Tentchoff

Payment = $1 per line to a maximum of $40 / $20 minimum; $20 for reprints
Rights bought: First World English-language Rights
Multiple submissions okay
No simultaneous submissions

We are looking for short poems. Poem can exceed 40 lines, but will be paid at the maximum amount. Please keep in mind that longer poems are a hard sell.

We will gladly read either free verse or traditionally rhyming poetry, but we are not interested in poems which toss masses of meaningless and conflicting imagery at the reader, in the hope that he or she will be able to make some sense out of the muddled result. We expect rhymes and meter in traditional poetry to be neither forced nor strained. Likewise, all poetry, even free verse, should flow well and have a musical quality.

From Marcie: “One thing I want for Spindles (and any fairytale based issue of Spellbound) is for the poets/authors to let us know, perhaps at the end, what story they are working with. I’ve read a lot of fairytales, but I can’t promise to know them all, and I’d like to be able to read up on any they use that I might not be familiar with.

“Other than that, I’d love to see some versions of non-Grimm works… things from around the world.”

We’ll look at up to five (5) poems at one time from poets.

Send poetry submissions to poembound@eggplantproductions.com

Art

Art Director: Samantha Press

1. ALL forms of art welcome – painting, digital art, photography, papercraft, felted dioramas, anything.

1.1. With regards to Spellbound, remember, this is for a children’s e-zine: we are looking for fun, visually-arresting images without explicit violence, gore, or adult-themed nudity.
1.2. We are accepting submissions for spot illustrations (color or b&w).
1.3. If you are mailing in your application, please do not include originals – all physical applications will be kept on file.
1.4. Please, do not attach really high-resolution files to your email or submit images with watermarks that obscure the fine detail of your work. Any art you send us will not be used by the company without your express permission to do so.
1.5. We are especially interested in spotlighting both diverse works and voices.
1.6. We absolutely encourage those without publication credits to submit their portfolios/work for consideration. Skill is the primary factor in evaluation, not experience.
1.7. Fanart in portfolios is not a limitation; an artist’s “inventiveness” in transforming pre-existing stories is a positive sign, given this project’s goals.

2. Please include your resume &/or pricing guide / standard rates, if you have either.

3. Please be patient. You will receive a response within 2-4 weeks after we receive your submission.

We look forward to seeing your work!

Email us at artdirector@eggplantproductions.com or send physical applications to: Eggplant Literary Productions c/o Sam Haney Press, 5333 Century Ave. #6, Middleton, WI 53562.

All contributors will receive a hardcover and ePub copy of the anthology they are published in.

You can read a sample copy of the contract here.

Current TOC

Spellbound

Poetry

Fiction

    • Jacinta and the Cornstalk by Kari Castor

Spindles

Poetry

Fiction

Updates

There’s a blog post about fiction submissions received and responded to here.

Join the conversation! 114 Comments

  1. Are you mostly looking for retellings of familiar traditional Western fairy tales (Cinderella, et al), or are you also looking for retellings of non-Western fairy tales?

    Reply
  2. Will folktales do, or should they be established fairy tales?

    Reply
  3. Do Aesop’s count?
    I think they’re technically fables but some of them are well known and they have good morals (even if they’re told in messed up ways)

    Reply
    • Raechel Henderson

      Aesops are fables rather than fairy tales and so not what we’re looking for with this project. Also, I want to emphasize that while Spellbound is a children’s magazine I am not looking for stories with a moral.

      Reply
  4. What about reprints? And if so, any particular restrictions?

    Reply
    • Raechel Henderson

      That’s a really good question. I’d be open to fiction reprints, although at a lower pay rate. I can’t speak for the poetry, but I’ll ask Marcie her thoughts and update the guidelines accordingly.

      Reply
  5. What about Greek mythology, etc? Does that count?

    Reply
  6. I know you requested stories that aren’t set in North America or Western Europe, but would a fairy tale retelling set in the Arctic, with Inuit or Sami characters (that is, indigenous persons of color from northern North America or Europe) be acceptable?

    Reply
    • Raechel Henderson

      Absolutely! The non-NA reference is meant to help keep the stories from being too US or Canadian centric. We’re looking for diversity here and so, for example, Cinderella set in an all white prep school in Maine might be a good story it wouldn’t quite fit what we are going for with this project.

      Reply
  7. Are collabs allowed? I have an artist friend who is very much interested in this project, and we would love to be able to work together!

    Reply
    • Raechel Henderson

      Hi there! Artwork and fiction are both handled separately. You’re more than welcome to submit both to the appropriate submissions addresses with a note that they’re part of a collaboration, but there’s no guarantee that both will be accepted.

      Reply
  8. Raechel,

    Would a retelling of The Three Billy Goats Gruff qualify for Spindles? It’s horror, with some graphic violence and profanity. Comes in at about 4300 words.
    Thanks for your time.

    Ken MacGregor

    Reply
    • Raechel Henderson

      Hi Ken: That story, as presented, probably wouldn’t make it into the anthology. I know a lot of fairy tales involve animal instead of human protagonists, but I’m not really interested in those. The main thrust of these anthologies are fairy tales retold to include diversity, not just retold tales.

      Reply
      • To clarify, the retold story features human brothers instead of goats and a sociopath instead of a troll. The basic thrust of the plot remains true to the original tale, but it’s a pretty strong departure otherwise. But, if you still doubt it’s a good fit, I’ll shop it elsewhere. Again, thank you for your time.
        Ken

        Reply
  9. Hi. I was just wondering if these stories have to be modern day, or if we’re free to place them in any time period we would like.

    Thanks,

    Reply
    • Raechel Henderson

      We encourage the stories and poems to be set in whatever time period best suits the piece. Present day, prehistorical and all eras in between should be considered fair game.

      Reply
  10. Question: Are we allowed to combine two fairytales into one and even add a bit into it? I got some ideas forming for a combination of Little Red Ridinghood and The Three Pigs where the Wolf is a pedophile and Little Red Ridinghood is a young boy. I don’t think I’d have the boy get raped by the wolf or anything like that, but I would have the line “Little Boy~. Little Boy~. Let me in~.” appear in it. Could I get away with it?

    Reply
    • Raechel Henderson

      I want to keep fairy tales separate for this issue. Also, while there is plenty of implied and outright horror, rape, mutilation, etc. in the source material, that’s not the focus with these two anthologies. We are focusing on bringing diversity to fairy tales. Your story, as presented, wouldn’t be a good fit for us.

      Reply
      • Okay. Just thought I’d ask… Though I think I’ll still write that story for fun when I get the time to.
        Anyway, thanks for answering my question. :3

        Reply
  11. Hi Raechel,

    I know the guidelines say artists should expect a response within 2-4 weeks, but I wanted to check whether it was the same for writers. Because you’re only publishing one version of each tale, does this mean you won’t be sending out acceptances or rejections until the end of the reading period?

    Thanks for this wonderful anthology.

    Reply
    • Raechel Henderson

      Hi there:

      The first of responses should be going out next week. I won’t be holding on to stories until the end of the reading period, but responses will probably come in spurts over the next few months.

      Thanks

      Reply
  12. Hi. In regards to you sending out the first round of responses next week, does that mean we have a better chance of getting a popular fairy tales accepted if we send them in early? And if you accept stories now, will you list which fairy tales you’ve already accepted?

    Sorry if I’m a bother, and thank you

    Reply
    • Raechel Henderson

      You aren’t being a bother. Yes I will be posting a list of stories as I accept them. The same will go for the poetry. I can’t say just yet how quickly the anthology will fill up. I’ll have a better idea and answer after this weekend when I’ve had a chance to dive into the submissions.

      Reply
  13. Hey, Raechel. This is perhaps a foolish question, so I apologize in advance. I know you specified that you are looking for tales that are retold to include diversity and/or are non US/Western Europe-centric. Are you open also to pretty straightforward retellings of fairy tales that were never US/European in origin to begin with? For example, a Japanese fairy tale retold in a new voice (but not necessarily including dramatic new twists)? Thanks! :)

    Laurel

    Reply
  14. Hello! I have a couple of questions for the spindles stories i hope it’s not to much trouble for you. Can the story take place in a Northern European country with POC, LGBT and disabled characters, or is it mandatory to be a non-Western place? Also if we choose the retelling of a specific fairy tale, we must follow the exact structure of this fairy tale and/or classic fairy tale structure, or can the plot be a little different or in a different order, in case we use another character than the protagonist?
    Thank you very much!

    Reply
    • Raechel Henderson

      Hello! The only thing that is mandatory is that it is a retelling of a fairy tale to make it more diverse and inclusive in some way. European settings wit POC, LGBT and disabled characters would fit the bill in this case.

      The stories should adhere to the classic fairy tale structure. I’ve been reading a lot of stories that are fairy tales that are less retellings than updatings. Think: Little Red Riding Hood but told from the wolf’s POV. That’s not really what we’re trying to do with these anthologies.

      Instead, imagine a collection of Grimm’s tales if the Grimm brothers had collected them from a world where POC, LGBT, and disabled peoples had equal representation in media and culture as white cis heterosexual males. What would these fairy tales look like in that light?

      In a sense, what we’re trying to do is create a fairy tale anthology for the kind of world we’d like to live in. Use that as your guide and then send it in.

      Reply
  15. Hi! Just wondering if there ever was a list made up of the fairy tales which had already been accepted, and where I might find it. If such a list hasn’t yet been made, does that mean more well-known stories (Cinderella, Beauty and the Beast, etc.) are still fair game, or would they be a waste of your time at this point in the submission process?

    Reply
    • Raechel Henderson

      Hello! If you look at the bottom of this page there is a heading of “Current TOC”. That is where I am listing fiction as I accept it. So far I’ve accepted one story (a version of Jack and the Beanstalk). I have read through all the fiction submitted in October. I’ll keep posting fiction as I accept it here. For the curious this has been the fairy tale break down for fiction from October:

      7 Ravens = 1
      Sleeping Beauty = 1
      Beauty and the Beast = 1
      Little Red Riding Hood = 5
      Cinderella = 2
      Three Billy Goats Gruff = 1
      The Nightingale = 1
      The Pied-Piper of Hamlin = 1
      The Turnip = 1
      Goldie Locks & the 3 Bears = 1
      Snow White = 1
      Hansel and Gretel = 3
      Jack and the Beanstalk = 1
      The Boy Who Drew Cats = 1
      Twelve Dancing Princesses = 1

      Also, there’s been a high number of stories that aren’t fairy tales (myths, legends, etc.) or don’t include any kind of diversity at all.

      Thanks!

      Reply
  16. Hello

    Do you mind expanding a little bit on your submission guidelines? I’d like to know what sort of personal information I should include in my submission, as well as what I should specify in the subject header.

    Reply
    • Raechel Henderson

      Hello! Submissions should include: Name, pen name (if applicable), address and e-mail address. The subject line should be along the lines of “Spellbound & Spindles Submission”.

      Reply
  17. Thanks again!

    Reply
  18. Hi,

    I’m seeing some issues with the idea of a “standard fairy tale” formatting, given that different cultures tell their fairy tales in different ways. How might that be handled?

    Reply
    • Raechel Henderson

      Hi Gus:

      This project isn’t meant to be a multi-cultural fairy tale anthology, but fairy tales that are retold. That’s the reason for sticking to the standard fairy tale format.

      Thanks!

      ETA: Submissions should follow the structure of the fairy tales they are retelling. They should not be short stories just using fairy tales as a jumping off point or for source material.

      Reply
      • Are you implying that fairy tales native to non-Western regions would be unwelcome? Because your response that Spellbound and Spindles isn’t meant to be a multicultural fairy tale anthology appears to say so, although your guidelines indicate the opposite (wanting stories with non-European and non-North-American settings).

        If this is in fact the case, I’m extremely disappointed, both as a WoC and a backer of the project. Such an answer shuts out and hurts PoC, one of the groups these anthologies are supposed to reach. I had high hopes when I donated last summer, but now I feel let down.

        Reply
        • Raechel Henderson

          Hi Jess:

          I think I wasn’t clear in the response you are referring to, and I apologize for that. What I’m trying to make clear is that this is an anthology for fairy tales, and what I’m getting are a lot of questions about, and submissions of, aren’t fairy tales. A lot of writers have been asking about, and submitting: legends, myths, limericks (yes, really) and even stories that don’t in any way fit the criteria of fairy tales.

          On the flip side I am seeing a lot of submissions that are fairy tales but that don’t fit the retold criteria. They take the characters and settings and write a different story. These are more along the lines of the sort of stories you find, say, Windling and Datlow’s fairy tale anthologies. These stories often don’t include any kind of diversity.

          And finally, I’ve had some submissions which haven’t been any of the above but just presentations of fairy tales from non-Western cultures. The diversity is there because they do come from non-Western cultures, but they aren’t retold so much as … passed along. Which really doesn’t fit with what these two anthologies are supposed to be. Those kind of stories would be better suited for a collection of fairy tales from around the world (along the lines of Angela Carter’s Strange Things Sometimes Still Happen).

          It’s that last category of stories that promoted the “not a multi-cultural fairy tale anthology” which was a thoughtless reply on my part, and again I apologize. The emphasis on “traditional fairy tale structure” is a shorthand to emphasize that we aren’t looking for stories with just some fairy tale elements. The point being that if a writer is submitting an Indonesian fairy tale that has been retold, it will still bear the structure of the original fairy tale. The wording may be imperfect and if it is causing more confusion then it will have to go.

          We–Sam, Marcie and I–are absolutely dedicated to the theme of fairy tales retold to be more diverse and inclusive. This is a project we feel really strongly about. It is clear that it is a more ambitious project that I have undertaken before. And I’m trying to keep it as open as possible without the main theme getting diluted or lost.

          I do appreciate all the comments that people have posted here. I’m trying to incorporate as many clarifications as I can in the guidelines above, but also pointing people to read the comments so they can get a better understanding of what these two anthologies are going to be.

          If anything else is unclear, if anyone has any questions, please keep commenting here or you can e-mail me: eggplant@eggplantproductions.com. I will try to answer ASAP.

          Thanks!

          Reply
          • I think I understand the distinction between ‘passed on’ and ‘retold,’ although to others it may be unclear. And while I respect that, I’d also like to note that fairy tales native to non-Western cultures are rarely found in the mainstream, and therefore the response of ‘we are not a multicultural anthology’ was one I found rejecting and hurtful.

            Furthermore, while I sympathize with the need to draw a line between fairy tales and legends/myths, how do you intend to make this distinction with cultures outside of Western Europe? Right now it looks very much like you’re relying on the Aarne-Thompson index (Grimm/Andersen/Perrault et. al) for your definition of fairy tales, and doing so is likely to exclude fairy tales from other parts of the world, considering that in my culture alone what we consider fairy tales may very well be considered legends or folk tales by your guidelines.

            I’m seeing a lot of unexamined white privilege here, and it worries me.

          • Raechel Henderson

            Hi Jess:

            “I’m seeing a lot of unexamined white privilege here, and it worries me.”

            You could be right. I try to be aware of my privilege. It’s something I’ve worked on and blogged about. I know that I slip up and I know that for every time I’ve caught myself slipping up there is another time I haven’t.

            I apologize again for my comment. I really am mortified by my response. It was wrong, and I’m trying to work to make sure that I write what I mean rather than responding to questions and meaning that I am reading into comments.

            “Furthermore, while I sympathize with the need to draw a line between fairy tales and legends/myths, how do you intend to make this distinction with cultures outside of Western Europe? Right now it looks very much like you’re relying on the Aarne-Thompson index (Grimm/Andersen/Perrault et. al) for your definition of fairy tales, and doing so is likely to exclude fairy tales from other parts of the world, considering that in my culture alone what we consider fairy tales may very well be considered legends or folk tales by your guidelines.”

            It’s hard to comment on this without going into detail with regards to submissions I’ve already seen and rejected for this project, but I’m going to see if I can do it. Last year, when I first made an explicit call for non-Western settings and characters for Spellbound, I received several submissions that took place in African countries and cultures. The only fantasy element of these stories were the appearance of ancestor spirits. Turning a culture’s belief system into a fantasy element bothered me. (I wrote about it here.) Now with S&S I have gotten submissions of rewritten Hindu myths, which again doesn’t sit well with me.

            That’s where I am coming from when I exclude myths and legends from these anthologies. I don’t want to appropriate someone’s beliefs or religion. Now, if my making that distinction is excluding things it shouldn’t then I need to rethink it and address it. I am open to any suggestions of how to improve the guidelines so that they don’t keep out stories that don’t fall into the Aarne-Thompson list. I did point out above that I don’t consider the Aarne-Thompson index definitive. I included it in the guidelines as a reference point, mostly because it was an easy list to link to. That’s also why I invited people to ask if they were unsure. If there are other resources I should be adding, I’d love to know and I’ll add them as well.

            Thank you for coming back and continuing the conversation. These two projects mean very much to me, and I want to do them right. If I am failing at my communication then I need to be better about it.

  19. I have a question about prose in particular. Do stories have to maintain the more traditional prose stylings of fairy tales, or is it acceptable to break from that?

    Reply
  20. Does the story of Zumurrud count as a fairy tale? It isn’t animals, and not mythology, but it also lacks any supernatural element. I always think this was a great story, and just has the attitude of equality more than most stories I heard as a kid.

    Reply
  21. Regarding the Spellbound ones, can you estimate what age/reading level you are looking for? Should these be written in very simple language for the smallest children, or is more complex language for older children also accepted? Thanks!

    Reply
    • Raechel Henderson

      Hi Megan:

      Spellbound is a middle grade publication (ages 8-12). My preference is for stories that fall into the middle of that range. If you look at any of the issues of Spellbound we’ve published so far you should get a good idea of what I’m looking for writing-wise.

      Reply
  22. Question, when you say First World English-language Rights, do you mean First Publication rights?
    Or do you mean that if I submit to you, I loose all rights to ever use these works again in a later anthology of my own stories?
    I just want to be sure of what I’m signing up for before I submit.

    I myself have a bunch of Japanese and Chinese fairy tales that have Disabled/Mental Health issues worked in (I did a few years ago to deal with my own issues for myself mostly) that I would re-work and clean up for publishing.

    Reply
    • Raechel Henderson

      Hi Dawn:

      First World English-language Rights refer to first publication rights world wide (as opposed to North American) in the English language. The rights we acquire are exclusive only until 6 months after publication. After which we keep non-exclusive rights (as the e-books will be sold on Amazon, B&N, etc.) None of which would keep you from publishing your stories in publications elsewhere later on.

      Thanks!

      ETA: I’ve also posted a sample of the contract on this page and in the general guidelines page.

      Reply
  23. For the above requirements must all be included in the story? And would the setting have to be explicitly stated? Thank you for your time.

    Reply
    • Raechel Henderson

      Hi there!

      No, all of the above does not have to be in the submissions. The two absolutes are: fairy tale and retold to be more diverse and inclusive. The guidelines focus on characters because that’s one of the easiest ways to explain what we’re trying to do with this project, but setting and plot can also be used.

      The setting doesn’t have to be explicitly stated, it should be apparent from the writing.

      Thanks!

      Reply
  24. Would a mix of two fairy tales with the same character be acceptable? The Brazilian have many different versions of “Iara”, some telling her origin, other her life and some even her redemption. (Most of her tales fall under Supernatural Opponents and Supernatural Relatives – Wife).

    Reply
  25. If we send in a submission, will we get some sort of automated email reply confirming your receipt of the submission or will we not receive any communication until you’ve made a decision on the story?

    Thanks!

    Reply
    • Raechel Henderson

      We don’t have an automatic reply system in place so there is no response confirming receipt. I am going through the fiction very slowly and am only through the October submissions. For those stories I am holding onto for further consideration I am sending a note to the authors. If you want to check on the receipt of a story you can query me at eggplant@eggplantproductions.com.

      Thanks!

      Reply
  26. Hello! I’m wondering, how closely to the fairytale are we supposed to stay in these retellings? For example, if I chose to retell “Cinderella”, would it still have to be about a girl who becomes goes to a ball with the help of her fairygodmother etc. or could it be based around that theme with the same basic plot structure (for example, something like a girl is a slave but escapes to a better place with the help of somebody)?

    Reply
    • Raechel Henderson

      The stories should be recognizable as being the fairy tale the are retelling and should include the elements from the fairy tales used.

      Reply
  27. Are these retellings supposed to be as simplistically told as the originals or are we to give them a little more character and emotional depth?

    Reply
    • Raechel Henderson

      I’d argue about whether or not fairy tales are simplistic and lacking in depth. But, stories submitted to the anthologies can include more depth as long as they fit the two requirements.

      Reply
      • That’s true, I should have been more specific; I guess I was wondering if they could be given more depth in areas like showing deeper thought process (in the fairytales, at least a lot of Grimm ones, the characters often do things without a lot of description in the text saying their emotional reactions or inner conflicts about it). At least, sounding more like a modern text. Sorry for all the questions, just want to be sure!

        Reply
        • Raechel Henderson

          No need to apologize for the questions. That’s why the comments are open on this post. :D

          I was wondering if they could be given more depth in areas like showing deeper thought process (in the fairytales, at least a lot of Grimm ones, the characters often do things without a lot of description in the text saying their emotional reactions or inner conflicts about it). At least, sounding more like a modern text.

          Yes, that’s fine.

          Reply
  28. hello!! i was wondering, what do you mean by sending in a portfolio? do i have to?
    i thought this would just be me drawing something rad for the project, sending it in, and waiting for a response. do i have to apply with a portfolio before i draw anything for the project or something? im sorry if the question is stupid, i’m just a little confused.

    Reply
    • Sam Press

      Amelie – no worries, it’s a fair question. You are totally welcome to submit individual (tailor-made) pieces if you prefer. Many artists don’t, for various reasons, but we welcome premade work, as well.

      Reply
  29. Hi, I have a question that I suppose could be file under writing style. I know that you’d like submissions to stick to traditional formats but in terms of the actual prose, would slightly more modern language (particularly in terms of direct speech) be acceptable? I know I’m not explaining this very well, but the best example I can think of to clarify would be a princess using more casual modern speech as opposed to the traditional upper class prim and proper sort of language.

    Reply
  30. Forgive me if this is inappropriate but I’d like to offer something that may be helpful when it comes to guidelines. I’m not in charge of anything so take it or leave it. But what has helped me is fixing in my mind some clear differences about fairy tales, legends and myths.

    Generally speaking a myth deals with God/Goddesses and explains why things are the way that they are in the world. If I picked up an anthology of fairy tales and read a retelling of a myth about any of the Orisha (West African ancestral spirits/dieties) I’d be offended in the same way that I imagine some Christian folk may be offended at finding a retelling of a Bible story in a fairy tale anthology. So that’s how I understand not retelling a myth.

    Legends generally are considered exaggerated stories about folks that were real at one time. They are exaggerated and kinda magical sometimes but usually not that magical or as magical as a fairy tale.

    The fairy tale is a type of folktale actually, but it’s heavy on the magic- and when the magic happens the people in the story accept it like it’s normal. I’d call a fairy tale a folk tale that has magic happening all over the place.

    Another type of folktale is the animal tale/ fable, but in those stories the only magic that’s happening usually is the animals are talking, and that isn’t even magical because the animals are really just the personification of people, So again no magic, not a fairy tale.

    For me, these distinctions have helped when looking at stories across the globe and considering ones to write for retellings. I totally get feeling disappointed and left out and really hoping this anthology is going to be what it says it’s trying to be, I’m a Black lady whose been reading fairy tales forever and never seeing myself in them until I could seek out the non-western ones. In examining stories from Africa and the diaspora I’ve found the distinctions I’ve listed helpful in deciding if something “fits” the fairy tale category, whether it “fits” the Aarne- Thompson categories or not. (though I have found that many of them do find a place in there).

    Again I apologize if I’ve stepped on anyone’s toes, I’m honestly just hoping to be helpful. I think this is a great project.

    Shanel

    Reply
    • Raechel Henderson

      Hi Shanel:

      You aren’t stepping on anyone’s toes. I love all the the interest and passion that people have shown for this project. And I appreciate that people are questioning and sharing their own feelings about it.

      Thanks!

      Reply
  31. Me again. I have a doubt on how I should format the e-mail. What exactly should I do?

    Reply
    • Raechel Henderson

      Hi there!

      Submissions should be in the body of the e-mail: single spaced, with a blank line in between paragraphs if it is a fiction submission. Please include your name, pen name (if applicable), mailing and e-mail addresses at the top of the submission.

      Thanks!

      Reply
  32. Hey there, I had a question regarding the project. As for diversity in retelling, would adding feminist themes and women’s empowerment be enough to classify, or would I specifically need PoC or LGBT themes? I have several ideas for my story, and clarifying that would help me narrow it down.

    Reply
    • Raechel Henderson

      Hello!

      Feminist retellings are welcome as long as they also include PoC, LGBT or disabled characters, or non-Western settings, cultures, etc.

      Thanks!

      Reply
  33. Hello, just want to make sure I’m in the ballpark with what you’re looking for in an art submission. Would Aida or Mufaro’s Beautiful Daughter s count as fairytales?

    Reply
    • Raechel Henderson

      Hello!

      Aida, as I am familiar with it is an opera and doesn’t fall into the category of fairy tale. The only reference I can find to Mufaro’s Beautiful Daughters is the book by John Steptoe (and granted this is on a very quick Google search). If that books is based on another fairy tale, then it might be fair game. But if it isn’t, then that runs afoul of copyright concerns so I’d say no.

      Reply
  34. Hello, I just want to make sure I’m in the ballpark with what you might be looking for in an art submission. Would Aida or Mufaro’s Beautiful Daughters count as fairy tales?

    Reply
  35. In the story I’m writing (retelling), I’ve changed the antagonist to the protagonist, but I’m still following the general plot of the story, only changing setting and some of the meaning for diversity. I’m doing “The Goose Girl”. I was wondering if that still falls under your criteria, or if I need to instead alter the original protagonist’s character in order to maintain her, as opposed to making her (in a way) the antagonist. Also, thank you for responding to my previous comment!

    Reply
    • Raechel Henderson

      Hello!

      The stories I am looking for should follow the source material. Your story, as described, reads more like a re-imagining rather than a retelling as we are looking for.

      Thanks!

      Reply
  36. So sorry if this has already been answered, but I just got wondering…. do we need to stick within the parameters of the original’s story ending? Aka sad endings must remain sad, happy endings must remain happy? Or are we allowed to put our own spin on the ending?

    Sorry again if this has been asked.

    Thanks,

    Reply
  37. hi, you keep specifying to stick to the source material, but I’m not sure how we’re supposed to do that in terms of making the characters, for example, disabled or lgbt*. Would we not be allowed to change the protagonist’s gender for example, in order to make them a woman who marries the princess, instead of a man? Sorry if the answer to this is obvious and I’ve just missed something, thanks for your time

    Reply
    • Raechel Henderson

      Hi!

      Yeah, it’s a tricky thing. What I don’t want are, say, stories of Little Red Riding Hood told from the point of the big bad wolf. It’s one of those matters of changes in degrees. The problem that comes with asking about specific stories in comments is that it’s hard to judge from the one or two sentences that people provide here whether or not the change is too great.

      I think the best guideline I can give is: are changes to the story coming about because an element was changed to add diversity? Or are changes being made to the story apart from the diversity aspect? That’s a very general guideline and I could probably expand on it more. But right now I’m heading to a convention and won’t be able to wrangle with that until Monday.

      Thanks.

      Reply
      • I have an LGBT reinterpretation of Catskin/Donkeyskin with queer and genderqueer/trans characters, but the ending is ambiguous compared to the original (ie no happy wedding) because of this – would this be acceptable to submit?

        Reply
        • Raechel Henderson

          Hello!

          What you have written sounds like it would fit in with what we’re looking for. There are lots of fairy tales that don’t have happy endings.

          Thanks!

          Reply
  38. Hi Raechel, I was just wondering If you have to be a certain age to submit anything. This is of great interest to me but I fear I may be too young to take part.

    Thanks

    Reply
    • Raechel Henderson

      Hello! We welcome contributors of all ages. If a contributor is under 18 years of age, we’ll need a parent or guardian to cosign the contract.

      Reply
  39. Hi, so I’m reading the comments here and I am a bit confused about whether you accept retellings of AT international tale types, or just want Western (‘recognizable’) tale types retold with non-Western and/or queer protagonists? E.g. if I am working on the retelling of the Russian Vasilissa the Extremely Wise, which is a fairytale of the AT 402 type, will that be acceptable or not? Thanks.

    Reply
    • Raechel Henderson

      Hello!

      We’re looking for both. A lot of the examples in the discussion in the comments and guidelines are leaning heavily towards the Grimm/Anderson “recognizable” fairy tales because they are more recognizable and were the original jumping off point when coming up with the projects. And that, in turn, is shining a light on the fact that there is a whole world of fairy tales that aren’t getting the representation and exposure they should.

      The story you are working on, as it is presented, sounds like it would fall into what we’re looking for.

      Thanks!

      Reply
  40. Hi, just curious: would an adapted fairy tale with a future/space setting qualify?

    Reply
    • Raechel Henderson

      Hello! We’re sticking to the fantasy genre with these anthologies, so future/off world settings would be considered science fiction and not what we’re looking for.

      Reply
  41. I have two questions: for the Spindles anthology series, you said that it can not be erotic. Does that mean the fan fiction can not mention lust or sex? Also, do the fan fictions have to include some type of magic or can it just be all human and still to the original fairy tale’s basic plot?

    Reply
    • Raechel Henderson

      Hello! We specified “no erotica” to let writers know that while Spindles is for adults, that means adults as in not kids lit, not adults as in erotica. Magic is part of the fairy tale tradition–although I’m sure there’s probably examples of non-magical fairy tales out there. If the original tale includes magic, the retelling should include it as well.

      Reply
  42. Hello,

    Is it too late to submit a story to this anthology? If not, could you provide an updated list of stories that have been taken? I’ve been toying with ideas for a few fairy tales to re-tell, but I’d prefer to know what’s still fair game before I go ahead with it. Also, if you feel you have enough material, then let me know too. Thanks!

    Reply
    • Raechel Henderson

      Hello! The reading period runs until April 30, 2014. So far I have not accepted any other stories, so the list is up-to-date.

      Reply
  43. Hello! You’ve said you don’t want to see things like Little Red Riding Hood told through the Wolf’s POV, but what if it was a switch more like a princess slaying the dragon to save a knight, or a knight being stuck in a tower and rescued by a prince? Is that deviating too much from the source material? Thank you for your time!

    Reply
    • Raechel Henderson

      We’re absolutely open to gender-swapped roles (so the princess being a prince being rescued by a prince or princess sort of thing) but what you’ve described sounds like it falls just outside of what we’re doing with these two projects.

      Reply
  44. What kind of tone are you wanting for Spindles? I understand that you wat to keep the form and plot of the fairytales, but as this is pitched at adults do you want the stories to be developed and characterised in a more realistic fashion than for spellbound? Any guidance you can give would be greatly appreciated. Thank you in advance.

    Reply
    • Raechel Henderson

      Stories for either Spindles or Spellbound (including regular Spellbound issues) should be well-written with great character development. These are fairy tales, though, and so there usually isn’t a big call for realism in the stories.

      Reply
      • Thanks for the reply Raechel.

        I think what I was meaning with my previous question was that fairytales as told to children are usually narrated by an omniscient narrator from a distance rather than a narrower over-the-shoulder POV, and tend to be plot driven rather than character driven. Are you looing for this part of the form of the fairytale to be replicated, or is there leeway to tie the narration closer to the experience of the protagonist? Also, where do you stand on the story being told through a collection of discrete scenes dotted along the course of the plot rather than a single sustained narrative thread that recounts the whole story at a fairly equal depth?

        Reply
        • Raechel Henderson

          Aha. I see what you mean now. I’m asking that fiction submissions stick to the style and form of the fairy tales they’re based off of. I’m a big proponent of a story being written in whatever way works best for it, but for Spellbound & Spindles, I’m being more rigid conservative* in what I want to see.

          *I think this word better represents what I’m trying to convey.

          Reply
          • Thanks again for the reply. I understand your conservatism (and it works well for me, since that is the narrative voice in which I wrote my first draft of my prospective submission!) I just wanted to double check what your vision with regard to that literary element was. I’ll get on with polishing my story.

            Thanks

  45. I am excited to submit. I do have a question for you:
    Are you only looking for visible disabilities (physical types, visual/hearing impaired, etc) or are other less known disabilities acceptable, such as chronic diseases?

    Thanks!

    Reply
  46. Hi! I submitted my story on the 28th January and I’ve heard nothing – did you receive it? It was called ‘Muti’ and was based on Hansel and Gretel. Should I resubmit? It sounds like you’ve already responded to earlier submissions.

    Thanks!
    Eileen

    Reply
    • Raechel Henderson

      Hi Eileen:

      I do have your submission in my queue. I am only up to December 11 in reading and responses.

      Thanks!

      Reply
  47. Hi Raechel,

    Did you receive my January 8th submission, “Flower of Flowers, Bird of Birds”? Thank you for the convenient query!

    Best,
    Alicia

    Reply
    • Raechel Henderson

      Dear Alicia:

      I do have your submission in my inbox. I have read and responded to submissions up to December 10, 2013.

      Thanks

      Reply

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