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The Inside Scoop: What we’re looking for this season

Every season is designed to invite stories that explore a different theme that readers enjoy. Havok is designed as an ongoing contest in which a winner is picked for each genre day of the week (mystery, science fiction, humor, thriller, and fantasy) and each monthly theme. Those top thirty will eventually be collected into an anthology designed to give readers a unique experience, both cohesive and chock-full of variety.

For a better chance to nail this season’s theme and get noticed by our editors–and have a better shot at inclusion in the anthology–here’s the inside scoop about our current season and what we’re looking for.


Season Seven: Animal Kingdom

Do you remember when you were a child and every new animal you learned about was an amazing discovery? The sheer size of elephants and whales boggled your mind. The stunning beauty when a peacock spread his tail feathers was a delightful surprise. As you got older, the joy of scientific discovery may have waned… but for some of us it compounded as we realized the universe holds many ongoing secrets and we’re still finding new curiosities among its creatures. That sense of wonder is what we seek to capture in the stories of Animal Kingdom.

Don’t just add a companion animal to your story–make that creature an integral and important part.

Don’t just make a predator the antagonist–dig into the fascinating elements of its existence. How it looks, how it moves, the terror of wondering when it will pounce, the shiver that runs up your spine when you hear its howl, especially when you’re far from shelter at night in the wilds. How often does it eat? How does it find a mate and raise its young? Does the predator itself have natural enemies?

Do research your story and find interesting details to include. Imagine if readers learned something new about the world around them through your story!

How to integrate animals into Havok’s genres

Mystery Monday

  • Someone could be investigating an unknown creature
  • A mysterious attack occurs
  • Someone finds puzzling evidence of animal encroachment (“who is stealing lettuce from the garden?”)
  • Feature a scientist trying to figure out how a creature reproduces or where they hide their nests
  • Write a whodunit where the perpetrator used an animal accomplice
  • A friend hunts for clues about what stuffed animal to choose for a child’s birthday gift
  • A warrior must choose which long-term mount is the best animal to bond with

Techno Tuesday

  • Pattern an alien creature after something on earth, or create your own; feature this creature in the story
  • Feature a genetically modified hybrid in a near-future story; what happens when science tries to improve what nature has made?
  • Feature a cyborg creature
  • Spotlight innovative roles for animals in the future

Wacky Wednesday

  • A mischievous creature could cause havoc in someone’s life (a pet? a pest?)
  • Someone tries to train an animal with hilarious results
  • An animal mistakes the main character for a potential mate, or follows them around for some other reason and won’t leave them alone
  • A robotic animal companion with faulty (or poorly written) programming creates awkward situations for its owner
  • A tale of absurdity at an animal show
  • Look up real life humorous animal stories and use them as inspiration for a fictional tale

Thriller Thursday

  • Someone’s life is at stake (could be the animal’s life, too)… how do they survive (or do they)?
  • Feature a critical countdown that drives the action (must deliver the egg before it hatches; must find food before the baby animal dies; find the rare animal before the poachers do)
  • Survival of the fittest
  • Spotlight heroic animals in warfare, rescue, and law enforcement (note: animal survival preferred)
  • Put your character on a journey through (or gathering supplies in) an area inhabited by deadly predators or unpredictable and powerful herbivores

Fantasy Friday

  • Pattern a fantasy creature after something on earth, or create your own; feature this creature in the story
  • Explore common animal legends or obscure cultural myths
  • Spotlight innovative roles for animals in a fantasy world/economy

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The best way to stay in the loop about what we’re looking for and get story prompts and news about special author opportunities is to join our free author newsletter. Use the button below and click the checkbox for Writers on the signup page.

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