Last year, when we first launched Windmill, we came to a full stop when it came to the October online issue. When we first came up with the idea for October to have a ghost stories theme (a fitting tribute to my second favorite holiday, Halloween), we expected a stack of submissions that would send shivers up our spines and make us reach for our security blankets.
What we ended up getting instead were a genre mix of short stories and essays; some were classic ghost stories, such as Hunter Liguore’s “The Headstone of Hezikiah Bronson” while others capitalized on ghosts of the past translated into haunting essays, like Melanie Conroe-Goldman’s essay “Caldera.”
During our first meeting of October, our editors discussed what this meant for the issue. Did we have to try and contact specific genre writers to get the submissions we thought we wanted? Could we go on publishing stories that didn’t necessarily fit the theme? Should we scrap the October issue all together and focus on the Holiday issue?
That’s when our publisher, Melissa Connolly, and editor-in-chief, Kelly McMasters, reached a verdict. Instead of simply opening submissions as a call for “ghost stories,” we shifted focus from that of tales of horror and superstition that those of memories long-gone and ghosts of our pasts. We asked our submitters, “What haunts you? What ghosts of the past, present, and future leave you terrified?”
To quote Kelly’s editor’s note from last year “A good ghost story is one that you can tell around a campfire, but a really great ghost story haunts the reader beyond the page.” That is what we are asking from our submitters this year.
For the October issue, now rebranded as “The Haunting of Writers’ Past” (thank you, Shirley Jackson!), we want stories that cut deep into your emotions and salvage up thoughts and feelings that may have been buried and untouched for years. For an idea of what we generally accept for this issue, be sure to check out last year’s issue.
We are particularly interested in fiction and nonfiction pieces that explore and redefine the art of good storytelling and narration while illuminating ideas with breadth, depth, and the human condition.
Pieces should be between 1,500 to 2,500 words in length, double-spaced, and in a readable 12pt font. You may submit multiple pieces at once, but be aware that only one may be selected. If you submit to multiple places at once, it is your responsibility to contact us is your piece is accepted by another publisher. Pieces should be previously unpublished. Feel free to add a cover letter.
Looking forward to reading your submissions!