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April Fool's Anthology Rules

Updated: Dec 2, 2021

Submission Rules for Our Next Anthology! TRICKSTERS!!!

UPDATE: Only YA and clean Adult entries will be accepted. Middle Grade will either not make it in or you'll be asked to change it to YA or Adult.

Releasing: April Fool's Day

Theme: Our selfish or selfless acts affect those around us and shape who we become.

Genre: Any! Must include a trickster character as the main character.

Categories: Retellings, Humor, and Twist Endings

Payment: Accepted pieces: poems under 100 words- $5. Poems between 100 and 1k words- $12. All short stories- $20.

Length: Poetry under 1k. Short stories between 500 and 5k

Due Date: December 31st, midnight Eastern time

For more information, follow the link in my bio labeled April Fools Anthology Rules. Must read before submitting.

More info:


We are announcing the theme and categories for our next Anthology, coming out on April Fool’s Day 2022! In celebration of this incredulous holiday -- (does it even exist at all?) -- this collection of short stories and poems will be all about trickster characters!

Definition of a Trickster:

Wikipedia defines a trickster as “a character in a story who exhibits a great degree of intellect or secret knowledge and uses it to play tricks or otherwise disobey normal rules and defy conventional behavior.”

Tricksters show up a lot in contemporary stories as well as myths and legends- they are the clever, morally gray characters who don’t play by the rules. Sometimes that makes them a hero, like Robin Hood, Han Solo, or Indiana Jones. (Can you tell I’m a Harrison Ford fan?) The characters easily switch sides to villainy, though, if their tricks and deception are used for evil or selfish purposes rather than the good of others- think Gollum or the Joker. Some, like Loki or Jack Sparrow, ride the line between heroism and villainy closely without ever really falling in one category or the other.

The thing that often determines what role the character plays in their story is the motivation behind their actions- are they playing their tricks to the detriment of the other characters out of selfishness, or are they tricking people for the good of others? Or maybe they are usually a selfish character, but in this story, something changes, and they decide to make a sacrificial choice. Or, perhaps, your usually altruistic character decides they’re burned out from helping people and want to rob a bank for their own benefit for once. It can be a redemption story or a cautionary tale, or something silly—your choice. But the outcomes of the character’s actions and how their selfishness or selflessness affects others must show up in your submitted piece. Play around with different ideas and see where your story takes you. (These suggestions listed are just to get your brain thinking; they're not the only story types we are looking for!)

The Theme:

Our selfish or selfless acts affect those around us and shape who we become.

In a sense, we are all morally gray characters. We do some things right and some things very wrong. We try and fail and hopefully try again. We hurt people without meaning to and sometimes do the right thing even when it costs us something. But one of the big things that make us the hero or villain in someone’s story is whether we act out of selfishness or self-sacrifice.

In the Bible, John 15:13 says, “Greater love has no one than this, that someone lay down his life for his friends.” Ephesians 5:2 says, “And walk in love, as Christ loved us and gave himself up for us, a fragrant offering and sacrifice to God,” and James 4:6 says, “God opposes the proud but gives grace to the humble.”

Let this theme be prevalent in your story or poetry- how does selfish trickery or selfless trickery affect the story and your character?

The Requirements:

In this anthology, we are making room for this favorite character archetype to shine. Each story must have a trickster character as the main player. They can be a hero or villain or fall somewhere in between. They must use their tricks either for selfish or selfless purposes so that we can see the good or bad outcomes of those choices for themselves and/or the people around them. The submission also needs to fit into one of the three categories below to be accepted. You have a lot of room to play around here, and I hope you have some fun with it!

*Short stories: 500-5,000 words

*Short poems: under 100 words

*Average-Length Poems: 100-1,000 words

*All submissions must be clean - please refrain from sexual content, swearing, or excessively graphic violence

The Categories:

#1. Story Retellings Centering on a Trickster Character; this could be a retelling or modernization of a myth, legend, fairytale, classic story, a story from history, etc. It must center around a trickster character or have a character that you’ve rewritten to fit the trickster definition.

#2. Trickster Humor stories- must center around a trickster character, must be a comedy.

#3. Trickster Stories with Twist Endings- surprise us! A trickster must be the main character, with a twist ending.

We will be receiving poetry and short story submissions from now until December 31st at midnight, and if your work is accepted, you will be notified by the end of January 2022.

You can email them to Anne J. Hill at:

Accepted authors will be paid $20 per short story, $12 per poem over 100 words, and $5 for poems under 100 words.

Understand that we receive many excellent submissions which do not make it into the book, so if your work is rejected, it doesn’t mean your story or poem isn’t good. That being said, don’t shy away from sending us your work if you’ve never been published before- we had several first-time authors in What Darkness Fears who we were very excited to work with. We will only be accepting stories that don’t require large amounts of developmental editing, so please send in polished work and be willing to accept critiques and required changes! All authors who end up in the book will keep full rights to their work, so feel free to submit stories that have already been published elsewhere or which you would like to republish in the future.

We are looking forward to reading your work!

Best of luck- let the games begin 😉

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