Here at the Spillman Fiction Review, we publish work by established and emerging writers, although if you are emerging from a hallucinatory drug-induced state, we ask that you defer submitting until you are three months clean or six months lightly soiled, whichever comes first.
Before submitting a piece, please read the following guidelines:
- All work must be double-spaced and set in a size 12 Times font. Please include your name on each page in the header and your email address in the footer. Also, label each one “header” and “footer” respectively. Some of our readers read upside down, so it can get a bit confusing for them. (We’re funded partially through an inversion table testing program.)
- Please do not submit any stories about volleyball. We’d tell you why, but that would involve telling a story about volleyball, and what do you think we are? A bunch of hypocrites?
- Stories about badminton on the other hand are not only permitted; they’re encouraged. After what happened with volleyball—the miss-timed slam, the mangled palm, the screams, the lawsuit, the gym membership revoked—we thought we might never trust nets again, but badminton changed all that.
- If you absolutely need to write a story involving volleyball, make sure it’s only implied volleyball. For a great example of this, check out the story from Issue 14, “With Their Feet In The Sand” by Header Thomas Melvins.
- For reasons stipulated in an agreement that we didn’t read very carefully, all characters must be named either Todd or Shirley depending on their gender. This is a hard and fast rule, even in stories with multiple characters of the same gender.
- Make sure to distinguish among your Todds and Shirleys by using strong details. For example, if you’re writing about an altercation between two Todds, don’t just make it that one of them has a hat on and the other doesn’t, because then, at the end of the scene, when you say, “Todd stormed out of the room wearing the hat,” there’s no way of knowing if that’s the original hatted Todd or if the Todd is a really skilled hat thief. Instead, make it something more permanent, like maybe one of the Todds has a weird scar, or one of your Shirleys has a wooden leg.
- Here at the Spillman Fiction Review, we abide by the rule of “show, don’t tell.” This goes especially for the details you use to separate your Todds and Shirleys from each other. For example, don’t write, “Shirley with a wooden leg played badminton against Shirley whose leg was normal.” Instead, write, “As she walked to pick up the birdy, Shirley’s leg made a sound like trees falling—which made sense, given her leg and trees were made of the same material—while the other Shirley’s legs sounded like legs.” (This example comes from the marvelous story, “Shirleys’ Game” by Header Theresa Naylor, which you can find in Issue #18.)
- Finally, be aware of the Spillman Fiction Review’s stringent length requirements. We accept submissions up to 665 words (some of our readers are a little paranoid about submissions that are exactly 666 words), then submissions between 667 and 998 words. (There’s some overlap between our paranoid readers and upside-down readers.)
Again, thank you for your interest in the Spillman Fiction Review. We look forward to reading your work. And always remember our mantra: “Writing should always be significantly more similar to badminton than it is to volleyball. But they all require a hard surface.”
(The Spillman Fiction Review is made possible by the generosity of Upsy-Daisy Inversion Tables Inc. and the Todd & Shirley Fenton Universal Literary Nomenclature Trust.)
Sean Adams has published humor with sites such as McSweeney’s and The Toast. He lives in Iowa.