Seldom Asked Questions

Below are some SAQ’s…

What is your editorial process?

Mythaxis Magazine uses a “second opinion” slush reading system. All submissions are first evaluated by the editor, who assembles a shortlist of pieces for further consideration. These are anonymised before being shared with our second reader team, who boast varied tastes and interests and have no fear of telling the editor when they think he’s in danger of making a grave mistake. Nevertheless, the editor alone is responsible for the final selections.

If we like a piece but feel it needs more work before it is ready to publish, we will inquire if the author is interested in receiving notes ahead of submitting a rewrite. This should not be taken as indicative of a guaranteed second draft acceptance, but we will only approach if our interest is significant. To date, all instances of this have resulted in a subsequent acceptance.

After accepting a piece, we will deliver an edited draft of the story for the author’s approval, which may result in a two-way revision process over multiple rounds. When the final draft is agreed, we supply a contract for the author’s signature, with payment made immediately on return of a signed copy.

What characteristics do you appreciate in a submission?

Some magazines will tell you read what we’ve published to learn what we’re looking for. Mythaxis takes the opposite perspective: go digging through our issues and you’ll find what we’ve published before – the best way to join us is to show us something new.

We expect submissions to demonstrate basic professionalism but recognise that to err is human, so occasional spelling mistakes, grammatical errors, punctuation slips and the like are not going to result in summary rejection. More important are things like tight plotting, engaging characters, quality of prose, believable dialogue. If you can show us these, we’re going to show interest in return.

Ultimately, the editor is a lover of good storytelling, with the emphasis on story. Whether you subscribe to “Hollywood” structuring, the beginning-middle-end philosophy, or some other narrative trend, all are welcome. By contrast, the less identifiable as “a story” your story is, the harder it will be to find a home here. That said, we’re all in favour of skilful experimentation – if you can surprise us, however you do it, that’s going to go a long way!

Special mention: The editor is enamoured of utopian fiction in the critical mode, as well as depictions of humanity’s future that champion progressive attitudes to overcoming social or environmental challenges. Sadly, he receives too little of such things, so why not help change that?

What characteristics do you dislike in a submission?

There are few subjects which we absolutely will reject out of hand, but there are some which authors may wish to consider looking elsewhere to place:

  • Gratuitous sex and violence – we are not a market for explicit sexual content, while graphic depictions of violence without extremely strong justification for inclusion are likely to be rejected.
  • Suicide – this is a difficult subject to handle well, and generally not one the editor seeks to represent. Not prohibited, but definitely a hard sell.
  • Abuse of minors – very occasionally we have included stories in which the death of a child occurs or is referred to. However, while peril has its dramatic value, we do not find entertainment in the hypothetical torment of children.
  • Reworkings of Greek mythology – we have published a number of these, but in general this is not a theme which engages the editor’s interest. He has a particular dislike of Hades and Persephone stories, examples of which are almost certain to be rejected.
  • Wryness – any story in which is found the phrase “wry grin” (or any of its close relatives) will earn contempt and vilification. Miraculous acceptances containing such aberrations will not by the time they are published.
  • AI-generated material – as stated in the submissions guidelines, we do not accept content produced using “artificial intelligence” tools, including but not limited to LLMs (large language models) such as ChatGPT. Worth saying twice: don’t send us anything written by these things, what they make is not good fiction. It stands out for what it is, and we’ll stop considering your submissions in future because you’re wasting our time.
What advice can you give regarding document formatting?

Professional-looking documents make editors well-disposed towards a submission before they even start reading, while human nature (editors are humans too, incredibly) means any kind of inconvenience may damage a story’s prospects irrepairably. We recommend following these guidelines with regard to how your submission document is presented.

Manuscript formatting: We recommend using Shunn’s excellent Modern Manuscript formatting guide, but in particular consider the following:

  • Please use an easy-reading font (Times New Roman 12pt is preferred).
  • Use automatic paragraph formatting to set indents or paragraph breaks. Do not manually insert lines between paragraphs. Do not use tabs or hit the space bar some number of times for first-line indents.
  • Use a single centred # to represent essential section breaks.
  • Use italics for italics, don’t underline. Smart (“curly”) punctuation is preferred, but consistency is preferred more.
  • If your manuscript includes any unusual formatting, please alert the editors when submitting and have a really good, story-related reason.

Attachment filenames: Please consider using the format < title >< authorname >.doc for your attachment filename. This aids greatly in alphabetical document management. Examples of good filenames are:

  • The Very Hungry Caterpillar - Eric Carle
  • TheVeryHungryCaterpillar_Carle
  • the-very-hungry-caterpillar (including the author in the filename is entirely optional)
  • VeryHungryCaterpillar (omitting “the” is not a disaster, but for the sake of three letters why not keep it?)

Filenames that lead with the author’s name, use an abbreviated title or other weird variations make them harder to find. This risks annoying the editor moments before he reads your story. Examples of bad filenames are:

  • Carle - The Very Hungry Caterpillar (you know who you are)
  • Mythaxis - The Very Hungry Caterpillar (we know who we are)
  • Caterpillar / Hungry_draft3 / submission_copy caterpillar / april2023-caterpillar / etc
  • Before the Butter Flies (use the same title as in your email, damnit)

The editor knows he is wasting his time suggesting this, but is allowed to dream of a better world.