Epics have lost their charm. It takes ten or twenty years for a writer to
finish a series, writing the same book over and over again, piling up the
foreshadowing, wearing out characters’ boots to no good purpose. By the time you’re
done—whether you’re the reader or the writer—you can’t remember why you
That’s where Twenty Epics comes in. Like the neurological anomaly that sparks
déjà vu, like the false memories implanted in Blade Runner’s replicants,
Twenty Epics shortcuts the repetition and the tedium of reality and goes straight
to what we really care about: the subjective emotional and aesthetic
There was a time when you finished an epic. When finishing an epic left you
feeling not discontent and exhausted but joyous, melancholy, rejuvenated,
satisfied—left you feeling, even (at least for a little while), that you were a
better and wiser person for the experience.
If we do our jobs right, each of the pieces in Twenty Epics will bring back
In ten thousand words or less.
WHAT WE’RE LOOKING FOR
We're looking for pieces that can satisfy our adult impatience with cliche,
with repetition, with caricature, with easy moral absolutes, with uninspiring
language (and with ten-volume series that take twenty years to finish)—and
still reach that place in our hearts that once was stirred by tales of heroism and
discovery, creation and destruction, sin and redemption and catastrophe, love
and high adventure.
What we’re not looking for:
A synopsis of the brick-thick fantasy novel1 you failed to sell to Tor.
A synopsis of the brick-thick fantasy novel2 that’s been sitting for six
months, in manuscript form, on a desk at Tor.
A synopsis of the brick-thick fantasy novel3 you haven’t written yet, that
you hope to sell to Tor once you do.
Excerpts from any of the above.
Screenplays for any of the above.
Treatments of screenplays for any of the above.
Thinly-disguised role-playing scenarios.
Cleverly-disguised role-playing scenarios.
Parody, satire, or pastiche.4
Other stuff we wouldn’t like. (This list is not meant to be exhaustive.)
We’re looking for immersive worldbuilding and larger-than-life themes. We’re
looking for invention, experimentation, imagination, erudition, entertainment
value, and world-class writing.
And we’re looking for epic. It’s got to be epic.
No, we’re not sure what that word means, either.
Redefine it for us.
Carole McDonnell <>< <>< <><
"A Man of Sorrows, Acquainted with Grief." Isaiah 53, The Bible.
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