Ends on

We invite writers to submit to the Uncharted Magazine Sci-Fi & Fantasy 1st Chapter Prize from January 1 to February 28, 2022. We're looking for dynamic and thrilling First Chapters! Can you write a first chapter that captivates your audience enough to make them want to keep reading? If the answer is yes, then we want to read your first chapter. 

Guest judge Literary Agent CeCe Lyra will choose three winning stories from a shortlist.

Uncharted Magazine publishes Fantasy Short Stories from fiction writers of any background or experience.  We want stories of fantasy that make us hunger for new worlds, new biomes, new places we can explore through thrilling sensual details and human empathy. We want stories that thrill us, that make us feel alive, that awaken our desires to explore and go on adventures.

We're excited to offer the winner of this prize $3000 and publication, while the 2nd and 3rd place winners will receive publication and $300 and $200, respectively along with publication.

Cecilia (CeCe) Lyra is an associate agent at PSLA representing adult fiction and non-fiction. She believes that stories are empathy-generating machines capable of offering connection through escapism. CeCe is particularly drawn to books centered around dysfunctional families, ethical or moral dilemmas, and power struggles. Stories that subtly weave in speculative and/or fantastical elements tied to our world’s social issues have a special place in her heart. As a mixed-race Latinx immigrant, CeCe is passionate about representing under or misrepresented voices and stories that contribute to a larger cultural conversation. CeCe will not read any stories where animals get hurt—she can’t handle it. CeCe is also a co-host of the podcast The Sh*t No One Tells You About Writing.

GUIDELINES

  • The deadline for entry is February 28 2022. We will announce the winner and finalists within 8-10 weeks of the contest's close. All writers will be notified when results are in.
  • writers may submit 1 First Chapter of 1,001-5,000 words per entry. The first chapter and the novel must be unpublished. (full novel does not need to be completed)
  • First Chapter (fiction) only—5,000 word count maximum.
  • We only consider unpublished work for contests—we do not review reprints, including self-published work.
  • Simultaneous submissions are okay—please notify us and withdraw your entry if you find another home for your writing.
  • All entries will also be considered for publication in Uncharted Magazine.
  • Double-space your submission and use Times New Roman 12 pt font.
  • Please include a brief cover letter with your publication history (if applicable). Please mention any content warnings as necessary to protect our readers!
  • We only read work in English.
  • We do not read blind. The judge will read anonymously from the shortlist.
  • Note: To ensure the protection of our volunteer readers, and to keep Uncharted a safe space, please let us know in your cover letter if your work can be triggering in any way. This will have no bearing on your submission or a decision—we just want to ensure the best possible environment for our readers. Thank you for your understanding.

FAQ

  • Q: What am I supposed to write in my cover letter?

A: Think of your cover letter as a brief author bio and what you would like posted on our site should your piece be selected for publication. Don’t overthink it, we just want to know a little about you! Most writers choose to include publication history or a little about the story that is being submitted. Note that you can include personal or identifying information in your cover letter.

  • Q: When can I expect to hear back about my story?

Regardless of acceptance or decline, you will hear back from us, we promise. You can expect to hear back within 8-12 weeks from the day you submit for this award.

Q: When will I hear back about my submission/the results of the contest?

A: Every submitter is notified of a decision, and we send out responses once a submission doesn't advance to the next round. We'd also encourage you to follow us on social media, as we publicly announce winners and contest opportunities there.

Q: Are prologues acceptable?

A: You can absolutely submit a prologue along with the chapter, as long as the submission is under 5,000 words.

Q: What do you mean by "standalone"?

A: Standalone just means that it doesn't have to be from a standalone novel since some are writing series.

Q: Do you accept submissions from writing teams?

A: Yes! However, you would need to designate one person as the submitter—or maybe create a joint Submittable account. As long as you both understand that you'd be splitting the prize if the submission was selected as one of the winners.

Q: Who retains the rights to my work, and will I be able to query my novel later?

A: We're not able to speak for every publisher, but since we're not publishing your work in its entirety, it should not be a problem going forward. Rights also revert back to the author after 90 days. If an opportunity came up for you to publish your work before the 90 days, we are happy to revert rights back to you sooner.

OPTIONAL FEEDBACK ON YOUR WRITING

You may choose to receive editorial feedback on your piece. We will provide a global letter discussing the strengths of the writing and the recommended focus for revision. Our aim is to make our comments actionable and encouraging. These letters are written by editors and staff readers of Uncharted Magazine. A significant portion of the editorial letter fees go to our feedback editor, according to the rates established by the EFA. Should your story win, no feedback will be offered and your fee will be refunded.


We use Submittable to accept and review our submissions.