Stories must be set in an actual historic culture--i.e., a specific time and place in history--and the plot and characters should be firmly rooted in that time and place. (No time-travel or past memories, please.) NEW THIS YEAR: Stories may include fantastic elements that are appropriate to the historic setting. For example, they can include fantastic or supernatural events or beings that people of that era considered to be real. Or stories may be modeled on the fantastic literature of a specific historic era and culture. The limits to this will necessarily be subjective. Stories must be set before 1900. We’d love to see stories that reach beyond the popular settings of 19th century America and England unless you do something new and interesting in them. [Also: see sensitivity note below.] Romance is optional, and romance stories should have some other significant plot element in addition to the romance. We are not looking for erotica. Sex may be implied but not described. (It’s difficult to include both erotic content and a substantial non-romantic plot in short fiction. I’d rather that stories focus on the plot and characters.) Stories should feature lesbian-relevant themes. What do I mean by that, especially given the emphasis the LHMP puts on how people in history understood sexuality differently than we do? This is where we get into “I know it when I see it” territory. The story should feature female protagonist(s) whose primary emotional orientation within the scope of the story is toward other women. This is not meant to exclude characters who might identify today as bisexual or who have had relationships with men outside the scope of the story. But the story should focus on same-sex relations. Stories that involve cross-gender motifs (e.g., "passing women," "female husbands") should respect trans possibilities [see sensitivity note below].
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