Anthology Vol. 1


Announcing HRW’s Anthology!

We are excited to announce the submissions call for the first Hampton Roads Writers Anthology, to be published in November 2024! Our anthology will highlight HRW’s members and HRW’s 2024 conference attendees. One of the best ways to get started as a published writer is to have one’s stories and poems included in periodicals and anthologies. We are pleased to now offer this opportunity for our community!

The Theme for this Anthology is From Here to the Moon

Your writing and/or art work will represent your unique perspective, however we must be able to discern that it follows the theme in some way, such as physical, metaphorical, or otherwise.

Who Can Submit

HRW members whose paid membership is current and will be current as of November 10, 2024 and/or paid attendees of HRW’s 16th annual writers conference scheduled for November 7 – 9, 2024. If you are not a member, please visit HRW’s membership page to join. If you haven’t registered for the conference, please visit the conference registration page to register.

What We Want

  • Short Stories and Creative Nonfiction: up to 2500 words. All genres are welcome with only a few exceptions (see under, “What We DO NOT Want”). Genres we desire include fiction, realistic fiction, speculative, contemporary, historical, literary, and commercial. If your story has a strong plot, makes an emotional appeal, and sheds light on our theme, we want to read it!
  • Flash Fiction and Creative Nonfiction up to 750 words. Genre same as for short stories.
  • Poetry up to 100 lines. Genre same as for prose.
  • Black and White Artwork: Visual artists are welcome to submit black and white art that represents the theme. Please submit high resolution jpeg or png files
  • Format FOR PROSE and POETRY: Times New Roman, 12pt, double spaced, 1″ margins, black text on white background. Include a header with the title, category, and page number at the top of each pageDo not include your name or any identifying information anywhere on the manuscript or in its metadata. Submissions should include 2 files: 1) Cover page file with contact info to include title, author name, phone number, email address, category, genre, and word count; 2) The actual submission file with the title, category, and page number in the header. Do not identify the author. Name the file the same as the title of your submission.
  • Polished work: Please send only revised and polished manuscripts.
  • Submissions by online form only: send your submissions as .doc or .docx files (or high resolution .jpg or .png for black and white artwork) HERE.

Multiple Submissions: Each author may submit up to six works (one per category). Each piece must be submitted separately. If more than one of your submissions reaches the final round, it will be up to the discretion of the editors as to which ones will be included in the final anthology. Only up to three pieces will be published, even if everything you sent is magnificent.

 What We DO NOT Want

  • Children’s and Middle-Grade fiction. Fiction intended for middle grade, early readers, and younger is not a good fit for this anthology. (However, your story may have a young protagonist if your intended audience is adults or young adults.)
  • Erotica or rape scenes.
  • Excessive profanity or violence. Use the minimum amount your story requires.
  • Any overt racism, bigotry, misogyny, homophobia, etc. within the narrative voice. If absolutely necessary, your characters may be hateful; the story, however, should NOT be.
  • Overt political rhetoric or religious proselytizing.
  • Translations or fanfiction.
  • Sections of longer works (no chapters).
  • Simultaneous submissions. Please do not have your work under consideration by other agents, editors, or publishers while we are considering it.
  • Previously published work will not be accepted including anything published in any form on your personal or professional website.
  • Work that is difficult to read or comprehend because of use of an experimental voice.
  • Work filled with grammatical errors.
  • Work containing lyrics from a song you did not write. Copyright matters.
  • Rough drafts.

    Important Dates and Notices

Submission portal opens as soon as conference registration opens.
You must be a member of Hampton Roads Writers and/or a registered conference attendee to submit your work. Submission portal will close at 11:59pm on July 28, 2024.

The submission portal will close earlier if the maximum number of 100 submissions is received. No late submissions will be accepted. 

Response Date: If your work has been accepted, you will be notified no later than October 1. If you have not heard from us by that date, please do contact us. Once you have submitted your work, we recommend you relax, put it out of your mind, and write a half a dozen more stories to submit elsewhere while you wait. 

Notice 1: The editors will NOT be especially pleased if many of the submissions come in on July 26, 27, or 28. 

Notice 2: If we do not receive enough publishable material, HRW may decide not to pursue publication of the anthology. Should this be the case, anyone submitting work will be notified once the decision is made.

Notice 3: As fellow writers, we anthology editors appreciate your writing achievements and willingness to submit your work for our consideration. We salute you and your commitment to the writing process. You’re amazing! We hope that your experience of writing to a theme, polishing your work, and submitting with guidelines has helped you grow in your writing journey. We regret, however, that we do not have the resources to offer critique on any submitted work. 

Notice 4: We consider it an honor to be able to publish Conference attendees’ and HRW Members’ work in the anthology. Expect that if accepted, your work may be subject to editing. The edits, covering language mechanics, story elements, structure, sensitivity issues, and more, is non-negotiable; if you don’t agree to edits of your work, please don’t submit anything. We intend to publish only polished, professional work. We will endeavor to be kind and respectful as we refine and polish your writing in preparation for its inclusion in the anthology. 

Payment & Rights

Payment: Contributors will NOT receive an initial payment nor future royalty payments. Each author and artist published in the anthology will receive one free copy of the anthology. The anthology is a fundraiser for HRW's scholarship fund.

Rights: HRW asks for First Worldwide English Language Anthology Rights on the accepted submissions for six months from the publication date. Six months after publication, all rights will revert to the author, meaning you’ll be free to reprint your story as you see fit.


Since this anthology is intended to be a fundraiser for HRW’s scholarship fund and will be published and promoted on a shoestring budget, HRW asks and encourages each accepted author to participate in the promotion of this book. This includes, but is not limited to, promotion on various social media outlets, author pages (Good Reads, Amazon, etc.), websites, and newsletters. Authors are encouraged to look for ways to work both separately and together on marketing efforts. 

A Final Note from Our Editors

As you contemplate taking time to write and submit, you may ask how you can give your work its best chance of being accepted. How can you write what our editors want? 

Foremost, we desire to create a high-quality anthology that invites readers to experience the theme through a variety of perspectives, forms, and genres, all arranged in such a way as to take readers on a journey of emotion and discovery. Although we do want to include work within a full range of feelings, we intend the overall mix of accepted submissions to skew toward optimism. We hope to see a wide variety of genres in our submission pile—fantasy, science fiction, mystery, thriller, horror, romance, magical realism, adventure, slice-of-life stories, and more. 

The anthology is not a contest. We do not aim only to choose the best stories, but rather, the best selection of excellent stories to create a compelling book for a general adult audience. 

We are looking for stories and poems that demonstrate writing competence, are focused, and embrace the theme. We define writing competence for prose and poetry as the ability to write with clear, complete, and ordered thoughts. There are many resources available for learning about story structure, pacing, grammar, vocabulary, character development, and the like. We encourage you to avail yourself of these materials and learning opportunities. 

Acquiring Prose Editors will score each story following a rubric comprised of ten elements, each valued from 1 to 10 points. Stories and CNF pieces must score above a certain minimum to be considered for publication. The scoring elements include:

  1. Originality
  2. Lack of Predictability
  3. Characterization (Full character Arc)
  4. Engagement
  5. Conflict and Plot (Full narrative arc) 
  6. Appropriate Pacing (with a minimum of overwriting)
  7. Emotional/intellectual payoff
  8. Readability
  9. Showing and Telling Balance
  10. Entertainment value

Acquiring Poetry Editors will score each poem following a rubric comprised of ten elements, each valued from 1 to 10 points. Poems must score above a certain minimum to be considered for publication. The scoring elements include:

  1. Originality. On a scale of 1 to 10, how fresh is this poem? A 1 means the poem is cliched, while a 10 means the poem makes you look at something in a new way. ______
  2. Layered meaning. On a scale of 1 to 10, how well does this poem use the idea of compression? A 1 would mean that the poem has one obvious meaning whereas a 10 would mean that the poem creates subtle layering and intensification of meanings and associations in the poem. ______
  3. Imagery. On a scale of 1 to 10, are the moments, people, ideas, emotions, and any other themes of the poem evoked by clear and vivid imagery? A 1 would mean that depictions are flat and superficial, whereas a 10 would mean that the poem notices appropriate and compelling details. _____
  4. Lyricism. On a scale of 1 to 10, how beautiful and/or interesting is the use of language in this poem? A 1 means the language is awkward, stiff, and ordinary or florid and overwrought, whereas a 10 means the language is some combination of flowing, evocative, unusual, and apt with attention to stretching language out of ordinary usage. ______
  5. Figurative language. On a scale of 1 to 10, how well does the poem incorporate figures of speech, including metaphor, simile, hyperbole, circumlocution, paradox, and so on? A 1 would mean that the poem uses figurative language crudely or not at all, whereas a 10 would mean that such figurative language is used with subtlety and nuance.
  6. Sound sensitivity, including various forms of rhyme and repetition. On a scale of 1 to 10, how well does this poem use sounds and sound patterns in this poem, as if it were being read aloud? A 1 would mean that there’s little or no connection between the content of the poem and the sounds of words chosen, or that sound patterns are used simplistically (as in a limerick), whereas a 10 would mean that the meaning of the poem is reflected in sounds and that sound patterns guide our reading. _____
  7. Presence on the page (including formal structures such as sonnet, ghazal, haiku, etc.). On a scale of 1 to 10, is the poem appropriately pleasing or challenging to the eye as it is laid out on the page? A poem can be short or long, can have even-length lines or lines that move all over the page, can utilize couplets or other kinds of stanza breaks, can make traditional or unusual choices about line breaks. A 1 would mean that the poem’s physical structure does not add to the experience of the poem, whereas a 10 would mean that every line length, line break, stanza break, and the overall appearance of the poem contributes to the meaning. ______
  8. Emotional/intellectual payoff. On a scale of 1 to 10, how well did this poem arouse powerful emotions or inspire intellectual curiosity, and does it do so honestly, without bathos and manipulation? A 1 would mean that the poem, in addition to being cliched, simply doesn’t interest you in the subject matter, whereas a 10 would mean that you experience an emotional reaction and/or curiosity. ______
  9. Coherence. On a scale of 1 to 10, does this poem make sense? This can be hard to gauge because poems may be surreal or otherwise not make the “usual” kind of sense, but the poem should have an internal coherence that can be grasped. You may not be able to say, “First A happened, and then B happened,” but you should be able to have a sense of what the poet is grappling with. A 1 would mean that the poem seems like it might have meaning only or mainly to the author, whereas a 10 would mean, not that the poem is necessarily straightforward, but that it allows you toeholds and insights and leads you through. ______
  10. Entertainment value. On a scale of 1 to 10, how much did you enjoy reading this poem with a 1 being given to a poem you did not enjoy at all and a 10 being given to a poem that you would say is one of the best you’ve read?

Once you have created a coherent draft of your story, essay, or poem ask another person to read it and comment on those parts that lack causality, clarity, or continuity. Ask if your work is in line with the theme. Ask if it is too wordy in places. Ask if your dialogue sounds natural. Ask whether your protagonist’s story problem is revealed on the first page and resolved by the end. Ask if your story makes them feel something. Ask how engaged they are with the protagonist—do they care about him or her?

Think about their comments before jumping in to rewrite your work. Once your work is polished, we invite you to send it in accordance with our submission guidelines. 

We take every submission seriously. As fellow writers, we’re all in this writing adventure together. As readers and editors, we love great stories and poems! We look forward to reading yours.

Good Luck!