Lights Out, Please Call For Submissions

Lights Out, Please is a collection of short, fictional games that are meant to do two things: 1) play off a traditional urban legend or ghost story, and 2) reflect how the fear in these stories isn’t extraordinary, but quite commonto a lot of people.

I originally started Lights Out, Please as a way to talk about experiences I was having a difficult time confronting myself. I fictionalized them to allow for greater control and distance, but I think the way violence against women is endemic is an important issue. And for me, the parallel between ghost stories and abuse and assault and violence against women was the best way for me to make this analogy.

But as it is, I don’t think Lights Out, Please is the best it can be, and that’s because it’s a reflection of just my voice and my unique experience. And that doesn’t tell the whole story. Lots of people experience this same fear in many different ways. Lots of people experience this fear more acutely and way more intensely than I do. Lights Out, Please fails because it is just one person’s story, when the idea behind Lights Out, Please is to show that the fear in these ghost stories isn’t an individual thing: it is systemic, and it affects way more people way more intensely than just one white woman.

So, I don’t think Lights Out Please should just be my game anymore. I want it to be our game, a game of shared voices communicating about the important differences in a somewhat similar experience. When it comes to fear and how fear can affect our daily lives, my voice isn’t as important as so many others.

Your voices matter more.

So, howabout this? Help me make Lights Out, Please, into the diverse collection it needs to be.  But I don’t want this to be a “you write for me and I run the show” kinda thing, because that’s shitty and not fair. It’ll be a group effort — a collaboration, like You Were Made For Loneliness or Soha Kareem’s upcoming Twinethology.

Anything that is submitted for Lights Out, Please, will be only released if approved by you, the author — and it will be entirely attributed to the author, either through your real name or a pseudonym if you wish. It’ll be a collaborative process between us, so you can have complete control over how your story is told and presented. No decision will be made without your final approval on your story. I will only put everything together, but everyone’s stories will be attributed to them (either real name or a pseudonym). If you would like to code your own story, you can. If you would rather I code it, then I will run every single minute decision by you, so the story is exactly how you want it presented. If you want someone else to do it, that is also totally cool. No matter who does the coding, you have the control. It’s your story, told how you want it to be. I’m just gonna stitch them all together 🙂

For reference, you can check out my current work-in-progress of Lights Out, Please (the CSS is still shaky and needs to be tweaked in places, and the Red Ribbon story isn’t finished).

Here’s the breakdown:
1) No experience writing creatively or with Twine necessary.
2) Can be any genre you want (poem, short story, etc), as long as it follows a popular ghost story or urban legend (can be repetitions of the same ones I’ve or others have written about for Lights Out, Please). It doesn’t have to be negative, either. I’m a cynic so my stories tend to border on the cynical side, but as long as it follows this structure, your story can be a positive reflection of something that was scary, but ended up being a good thing. I’m not going to say a story isn’t “scary” enough. It’s your story, how you want it told.
3) For the sake of diversity and the intersectionalist point of Lights Out, Please, only submit if you are NOT a cis het able-bodied white dude, please. I’m not gonna ask anyone to “prove” their identity, obviously. But respect the aim behind this project, please.
4) I think publishing by early October 2014 is a cool idea, so have anything in to me by September 1, 2014.

5) I’m open to anything (suggestions, ideas, criticisms, concerns), so please do not hesitate to contact me. If I’ve said something offensive or overstepped a boundary anywhere, I will immediately do what I can to fix it.

6) Payment: since YWMFL was really well-conceived and fair to its writers, I’m going to follow that method. I’ll set up a Donate button, and any proceeds we make will be split evenly between us. If there is an issue with this method, though, let me know. I am happy to revise this if it doesn’t work for the majority of people.

Please spread the word and contact me with anything!



4 thoughts on “Lights Out, Please Call For Submissions

  1. you say ” as long as it follows a popular ghost story or urban legend” – what about a personal ghost experience, or should it follow a more recognizable story/urban legend trope? I would love to contribute to this, so I’ve been thinking a lot about it this morning 🙂

    1. Yay!! I’d love to feature your writing!

      Actually, whatever works for you, if you’d rather write about a personal ghost experience, that’s totally cool, too. And that way, by being in the collection, it’ll take on the weight of a traditional ghost story/urban legend 🙂

  2. Things that have come up on discussions with people wanting to submit:

    1) If you would like editorial feedback on a submission, please let me know and we can chat about it 🙂 If not, that’s also totally, 100% cool. Your call.

    2) Please swear all you would like! No restrictions on language. It’s your story, tell it exactly how you want to! (I say “fuck” at least once every other breath). But please refrain from using slurs or harmful language maliciously (in context, I understand these can be used as a powerful tool to illustrate the kind of fear and violence people experience, of course, though, and I don’t think I’d say that’s malicious). If anything makes you uncomfortable, though, let’s please chat about it. I want people to feel safe here first and foremost.

    3) If you submit it, it’s in! This isn’t a contest, it’s just a shared platform to tell our stories 🙂


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