The following market report on the anthology, Legends of the Monster Hunter II, as well as the follow-up interview are courtesy of Market Scoops by D.L. Snell.
Anthology: The Trigger Reflex – Legends of the Monster Hunter II
Editor: Miles Boothe
Pay Rate: ¼ cent per word
Response Time: Under 1 month
Reading Period: Open Until Filled
Description (from the editor): More hair-raising, Hell-bent stories about the people that take the monsters down.
Complete Guidelines: Writer’s Guidelines
Note: Horror author D.L. Snell conducted the following interview to give writers a better idea of what the editors of this specific market are seeking; however, most editors are open to ideas outside of the preferences discussed here, as long as they fit the basic submission guidelines.
1. What authors do you enjoy, and why does their writing captivate you?
For this antho, I had three books in mind to re-read before I released the call for subs.
The first was Jaws by Peter Benchley. I’ll admit that the movie affected me more deeply than the book, but there are added dimensions and flavors that you can never get in just two hours of film, and I was particularly interested in the character of Quint. I made a few notes about the drive behind this character (who I’ve always thought of as a great monster hunter), and that set the tone for what I needed to ask for.
The next book was The Man-Eaters of Tsavo by Peter H. Capstick. I mentioned Capstick as an inspiration for Leather, Denim & Silver, and had to re-visit the true story of two African lions that killed over 100 railroad workers in 1898 (there was a movie made about this as well, titled The Ghost and The Darkness). This story has been stuck in my head since I first read it as a teen, and for me it has always been there to prove that real monsters can exist.
The third book was The Terror by Dan Simmons. I’m pretty sure that most people agree that Simmons is one of the great writers out there today, and this book is one of my favorites by him. The beast he uses, and the trap that he sets for his characters to be picked off one by one is expertly handled.
And those were what I needed – Benchley’s hunter, Capstick’s all to true account of carnage, and Simmon’s ability to coax terror out the pages.
This is what I wanted to try and conjure up as a recipe for subs!
2. What are your favorite genres? Which genres would you like to see incorporated into submissions to this market?
Dark Fantasy and Horror are again at the top of my list, and are a natural fit for this antho. Action-adventure and mystery are also a good fit. I should throw in Westerns as well, and a bit of Sci-fi.
3. What settings most intrigue you? Ordinary or exotic locales? Real or fantasy? Past, present, or future?
I’m a sucker for a “hidden” setting, something unusual, something that you didn’t necessarily know was there. If it catches my attention and draws me in without beating me purple, I’m there. I do prefer real settings over fantasy, and am interested in past or present day stories more than future, although I am warming to the idea of sci-fi.
4. Explain the type of pacing you enjoy, e.g. slow building to fast, fast throughout, etc.
For me, this depends on the story and the writing. As long as I’m drawn in, I’m up for whatever ride the writer wants to take me on.
Again, for this antho, action will be a central part of any story, so I expect to see a lot of fast pacing, but hopefully mixed with some slow, atmospheric stuff.
5. What types of characters appeal to you the most? Any examples?
Characters who experience life in unusual ways grab me every time. Someone who is motivated by deep loyalty, courage, terror, or anguish is always worth reading about.
I mentioned Quint from Jaws earlier – what makes a guy like that burn to sail after a giant shark? Or Captain Ahab? Where does Tangina Barrows from Poltergeist draw strength from?
These are qualities that readers are drawn to and want to know more about.
6. Is there a specific tone you’d like to set in your publication? What kind of voices grab you and keep you enthralled? Any examples?
I’m really hoping for all different kinds of tones. This is one area that I am wide open in, and stories built on grim determination or revenge are welcome, but I’m hoping for a wider range to balance those out. Just make it powerful.
I would still love to see at least one piece built on somber tones that would end in complete anguish.
I’m open to voice as well. Whatever moves you will probably move your readers. A lot of folks shy away from first person, but if you can pull it off, I’ll be happy to read it (there’s a trick to it, and if you have to ask, then it’s off to the research stacks with you!)
7. What is your policy for vulgarity, violence, and sexual content? Any taboos?
Violence is almost required in monster hunting, and a well-placed curse is only natural, but a poorly placed curse can be damaging, and sometimes unrecoverable. I’m not a big fan of racial slurs because 999 times out of 1000, they are gratuitous and just yank the reader right out of the story.
The same goes for sex and gore. Basically, anything that pulls the reader out of the story is undesirable. Anything that you can include that drives and enhances the story is welcome.
8. What kind of themes are you seeking most in submissions to this market? In general, what themes interest you?
I always love sideways views of society that highlight the kind of stuff you just glance past day to day. I feel like a lot of monsters can hide there as well.
I would also like to see inner strength dealt with a little more than the last time, and maybe not win.
Doubt, second-guessing, and anything else that might give the monsters an edge is always welcome as it ratchets up the terror.
9. Overall, do you prefer downbeat or upbeat endings?
I very much enjoy both. I love a triumphant hero, but I equally love a decimated squadron leaving behind only a crackling radio.
Anything goes, and I’m happy as long as I read that last sentence and wish there was more!
10. Any last advice for submitters to this market? Any critical do’s or do not’s?
Keep the hunters human, and the monsters non-human (at least until the end – a turned hunter is great)!
A lot of writers go to great lengths to avoid clichés, but in this genre, those stories are sometimes the best! Don’t limit yourself!
Mary Sues are boring. Exciting and emotionally wrought deaths are great. Give us something we haven’t seen before.
And, please remember to include your name, email address and a word-count on the first page of the story!