We do not accept stories on an open submission basis. If you'd like to be published in deathlings.com, then submit to our contests.
Submit by sending a cover letter via e-mail to firstname.lastname@example.org with your submission attached in rich text format [only].
Stories must be typed in standard manuscript format: double-spaced with one inch margins. The first page of your story should include: name, address, phone number, e-mail address (please note: if you submitted to us and never heard back, it's probably because you did not also put your information on the first page of your story) and word count--not to exceed 4,000 words. Entries outside the word limits will be rejected.
PLEASE NOTE: Just because 4,000 words is acceptable doesn't mean your writing should be padded with lots of adjectives, adverbs, digressions and anything else superfluous. Keep your writing lean and mean. (Also, note in the archives that the majority of the stories we've published have been in the 2,000 - 3,000 word range.)
Snail mail (please, only if your computer's brokenůmaybe this will motivate you to email your submissions: we've only accepted two snail mail submissions in over five years!) Staple your stories together and send to: deathlings.com, c/o 130 E. Willamette Ave., Colorado Springs, CO 80903-1112. Even if you don't want your manuscript returned, you will still need to enclose a stamped, standard letter-size envelope to aid us in corresponding with you. If you want your manuscript returned, please enclose a mailing envelope with adequate postage.
Payment for the First Worldwide Electronic Rights will be the professional rate of 3 cents per word with a 90 day exclusivity after publication. Payment will be made upon publication. deathlings.com reserves the right to archive the story for an indefinite period, or until the author asks that it be removed from the archive. All rights transfer back to the author 90 days after publication. All other rights remain with the author.
What do we want?
deathlings.com wants dark fiction that does not rely on excessive gore (grossing us out instead of scaring us, or making us think,) gratuitous sex (note the word "gratuitous"--sexual scenes that are integral to the characters and/or plot are fine.) So what do we want exactly? Stories drenched in atmosphere where the setting plays an integral role. Stories that are character, not plot-driven. Any descriptions of the characters should be so vivid that we could pick one of your characters up at the airport if we had to. Don't fall into list writing: this happened, and then this, and then this--get into your characters' minds, flesh out their motivations--why do they do what they do? Please avoid stream-of-consciousness, all the action takes place in the narrator's head-type stories. Eyeball your paragraphs--if you have whole pages without dialogue, your story is not for us. No present tense.
Surprise us--we don't want to be able to guess what's going to happen after the first few pages.
And finally... deathlings.com (despite the foreboding name) is not strictly a horror venue. Dark fiction, to us, encompasses everything from scare-the-hell-out-of-you stories to stories that are "dark" meaning simply that they would never be published in one of the women's magazines. And please, (personal prejudice alert) no fantasy stories--if Cynnric the High Templar encounters the horrifying Galaryn on the once-edenic ShiningIsle we don't want to read about it.