ALL ABOARD THE PUNK’D TRAIN!

Tick-tock… tick-tock… tick-tock…

The countdown has begun!

We have flung wide the window for submissions for the next in Cohesion Press’ SNAFU series (opened the shutters beforehand and everything!). The theme? PUNK’D. Yes, you read that right: PUNK’D. We are looking for all that in ‘PUNK’ in this next edition of the series. Give us your steampunk, your biopunk, cyberpunk, clockpunk, magicpunk, ecopunk, your retrofuturistic… you get the picture. (Or read here and here.)

As the editor-in-chief for Cohesion I tend to do when each sub window comes around, is write up a little sumpin’ sumpin’ regarding the guidelines and what I’m looking for and what I most definitely AM NOT looking for. These are vitally important when it comes to submitting stories to Cohesion.

As is my wont, I will also be filling this post with gifs because snark is built into my DNA, and gifs are the perfect medium for such.

Right! All aboard! Let’s get this baby chugging along!

From the above, you can rightly guess that we’ll be receiving quite a bit of steampunk, and while I do love me some horror-train goodness, the anthology won’t be filled with steampunk stories, so if that’s the way you want to roll, make sure you knock it out of the park – there can be only one (perhaps two).

While your imaginariums are firing on all cylinders, keep in mind that yes, PUNK is the theme but you must also give us ACTION and MONSTERS. The SNAFU series is military-based action-horror of the beasty kind. So give us your modded-creatures, your nano-creepy-crawlies, give us your nightmares… and have your factions fight those nasties!

ACTION. ACTION. ACTION. SNAFU tales are built on action, and it must be a major part of the tale you send us. Did I mention action? There should be action. Lots of it. And monsters.

Also, please keep in mind the anti-authoritarianism, anti-big corporate, pro-personal freedom that so often applies to the punk genre.

Hoo-boy, that’s a lot to take in! Much rules, many bits. But that’s the beauty of Punk that opens it up for such a wide-range of storytelling options. So go wild, my friends!

I would also like to point out that there’s also been slight changes to the guidelines, so have a good ol’ read of those. Seriously. Read them. Twice if you must. Score them into your grey matter and make sure to ADHERE to them – that’s really an important part of the process. Don’t hit the guidelines? Yep, you guessed it, it’s a rejection.

And speaking of rejections, it’s now time for the DO NOT WANT part of the submission process. Pay particular attention to this because holy shit, some fail the comprehension part of this section. DO NOT FAIL THE COMPREHENSION! BE THE COMPREHENSION!

Please get the following into your eyeballs:

  • Rape as a plot device/backstory
  • White saviour stories
  • Racism, bigotry, misogyny of any kind in the narrative voice
  • Child abuse/paedophilia (can’t believe we have to say this, but we do)
  • Rape as a plot device/backstory (yes, we have to say this twice)
  • Fanfiction or derivatives

Should any of the above appear in your tale, it will summarily rejected. No, you cannot argue the point. No, I don’t want to hear your ‘reasoning’ – it will be bullshit, and I don’t have the time nor the crayons to explain to you why this is so.

Something to keep in mind: SNAFU is predicated on action-based stories, active voice is your friend here. Sure, there’s a time and place for passive voice, but action/high tension scenes hit harder with active voice.

I work on a three-tier slush process:

  1. Slush: all stories are read and either rejected or moved to the longlist
  2. Longlist: all stories are re-read and either rejected or moved to the shortlist
  3. Shortlist: yep, re-read and either rejected or you move to ToC.

Note: No acceptances are sent out until AFTER the sub-window closes.

This may seem a laborious process, but it works for me and allows me to curate the best anthology of the stories submitted. The most difficult part is that there are times when I have to reject excellent stories because curating an anthology is also about how well the stories work together to make a kick-arse whole.

Oh, and should you make it to the ToC, your story will be edited. We will work together to make your story the best it can be. Your story may be lightly edited or heavily edited, but it will be edited. Discourse is always encouraged. Mutual respect is a given. You want to be an asshat? We will reject a story at ToC stage if any of the following occurs:

  • rude and/or derogatory comments
  • failure to implement edits and/or rewrites in a timely manner (deadlines be real)
  • requesting a male editor (true and shitty story)
  • attempting to slyly add words/phrases to your story that hit the DO NOT WANT marks listed earlier in this post (also a true and shitty story)

I think that pretty much covers everything. And if you’ve read this far, gold star to you!

Oh, and if you were unaware, all the SNAFU series is read by Tim Miller (Blur Studios), and some of our published stories have appeared in Love, Death & Robots. If this doesn’t inspire you to send us your very best, well… I got nothin’…

And one final note:

We actively encourage submissions from all cultural backgrounds, ethnicities, and identities. Storytelling is for everyone, and we are richer for it when all voices are heard.

Get writing!

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