Fat Writer in a Strange Land
Don’t get me wrong.
It is entirely brilliant when some kind soul pulls together a big list of writing competition deadlines and upcoming publication opportunities.
The trouble is that magazines, anthologies and competitions are increasingly imposing themes. I scan down the columns of ever-narrowing criteria and my muse feels like it’s being caged like a battery hen instead of freeranging to peck where the fancy takes it.
And so today I turned my attention to an anthology called Fat Girl in a Strange Land that’s due to come out in February.
The people behind this anthology, Crossed Genres Publications, are to be congratulated on the Ronseal-like clarity of the title they have chosen.
“We’re seeking science fiction and fantasy short stories with positive fat female protagonists going places they’ve never been before.”
The gauntlet has been thrown down and I’m picking it up.
I will write a story with a fat heroine going somewhere new.
Now your first reaction might be: “Have her go to the gym, or the salad bar. She hasn’t been there before.” But I suspect that is not what the good folks at Crossed Genres have in mind.
Fat Girl could be a superhero, her superpower being, er, fat. No that’s not going to fly either (and neither is she).
I could I suppose just take a story I have already written and crowbar in a fat female character.
But the crafty anthologists are onto that.
“Fat can’t just be a passing detail of the main character’s physical description. It should have an impact on the plot and character development.”
OK, so lets call her Caroline. When things go bad at work Caroline overeats. Happy now?
“Fat shouldn’t be the only thing the main character has going on. She has a life, responsibilities, and plans.”
All right, lets see, she’s a struggling writer, trying to pay the rent, and hoping to be a big success one day.
“There should be risk involved. The stakes should be high for her.”
Jeopardy? That’s meat and drink to me my friend. If she can’t sell a story she won’t be able to pay the rent.
Nailbiting stuff eh?
Anthology editors and competition setters, I have an idea for your next theme. Make it: “The best stories and poems people have sent us this last wee while.”
I think it’s a winner. My fat heroine Caroline does too. She’s writing a story right now, to get into a publication she has never been in before.
You go girl!
PS. This blog post goes into more detail as to why CGP decided to publish Fat Girl in a Strange Land.