Does a train whistle in the distance make you excited, wistful, or afraid? Trains have fired the imaginations of many people, especially writers. Anna Karenina, Night on the Galactic Railroad, The Signal Man, Strangers on a Train, The Lady Vanishes, Murder on the Orient Express all use trains as their main setting, not to mention the trains in children’s books—like Thomas the Tank Engine, The Little Engine that Could, and The Polar Express.
As travelers, we’ve been spurred to go farther because of trains, see new things, take chances. Trains have also, sometimes, pushed us too far, sliced the wilderness, inserted us into places to draw out resources, assisted in invasion. Trains, in a sense, even created Time as we know it. Trains altered our perceptions of identity, place, even of destiny. Suddenly, people could travel far away quickly, leave their families and homes for a better life, or opportunity—or people could escape the destiny of location. Step on a train, and you never know what you might find, or with whom you might cross paths. In essence, trains are Change.
We’re looking for your stories of trains—fantasy, steampunk, science fiction, horror, slipstream, urban fantasy, apocalyptic, set in any time, any place,—we’ll buy a ticket on all of them. We’d like to see what you can do with a train. A good part of your story should take place on a train—or most, if you can do it. We don’t care what era, what planet, or how the train might look differently there (it might even be alive!) or even if the train is moving. We just want that train—what you do with it is your magic.
This book will be both for lovers of the fantastic, and train aficionados. Think about how trains change the lives of people who travel on them, or how trains are used. Think about those people who love them, and know so much about trains, and why as children we were amazed. We want good character stories. We also want to see that you’ve thought about how your train runs. Make us feel like we’re on it. Make it fantastic!
THE TWIST: The Locomotifs
We’re looking for an author to choose one or more archetypal minor characters from the following list and interpret them through the lens of their story (their time, place, genre, etc.) as purely background characters, or, if you want, a main or POV character.
They can be combined too into a composite type character. An author would not HAVE to choose more than one, but one of these must pass through your story. (You will need to mention who you’ve chosen on your submission, under your contact information, using the letter(s) appropriate.) These characters are not named, nor is there any requirement for nationality, gender, race, ability/disability, gender expression, etc. You are free to interpret.
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numbers will be so please be sure to log all of your submissions here and not just your rejections or acceptances.
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21 pending responses (167 min | 188 mean avg | 177 median | 232 max days waiting) Note: pending statistics may skew high if some users neglect their data. We recommend querying after the time the market suggests to query.