Call for Submissions: Dog Doors to Outer Space

Dog Doors to Outer Space is going to be the coolest, the strangest, the most imaginative collection of writing prompts ever.

Writing prompts are short passages, usually around 1 to 3 sentences, that spark the creative process. For example:

  • You go to make yourself a sandwich and everything inside your refrigerator has become sentient. What does it look like in there? What happens next?
  • Come up with a character description for a person named “Serendipity Twatwaffler.”
  • Or this one from Madeleine Swann: “It’s your first day as a pool cleaner and your new boss leaves you to prove you can cope, but when you arrive at the pool it’s filled with tiny bodies and wreckages from the battle of Trafalgar. You don’t want to ask for help. What do you do?”*

Some writers use prompts between projects to keep the wheels turning. Some use them when they have writer’s block, to get the wheels turning again. Prompts are used as warm-ups or assignments in creative writing classes and as ice breakers in writing groups.

There are already several books and websites devoted to writing prompts, so why put together another collection? Because none of them are bizarro, and bizarro is uniquely suited to sparking creativity. No other genre pushes at the boundaries of the imagination, expands metaphors, or flips our perspective the way bizarro does. If a writer wants to break free of their ordinary mindset and see the world with fresh eyes, a collection of bizarro writing prompts is exactly what they need!

What we are asking for with this call for submissions is your best attempt to help other writers escape the everyday world and get weird. Some of the most well respected names in bizarro fiction are already confirmed contributors, including Madeleine SwannBradley Sands, Betty Rocksteady, David W. Barbee, Garrett Cook, Cody Goodfellow, and Danger Slater.

To submit, send 6 – 8 prompts and a brief bio to smackytomato (at) gmail (dot) com, subject line: Dog Doors / (name). Please keep the combined word count, including bio, under 500.

The end result will be one of those super slick zines from Filthy Loot. If your prompts are selected, compensation will be the standard Filthy Loot deal of either a $5 token payment and a copy of the zine or 5 copies of the zine. Submission window ends 10 November 2019.



A few authors have asked for clarity on what we’re looking for in a writing prompt for Dog Doors to Outer Space, so I put together the following. I hope it’s helpful.

  • The point of a writing prompt is to be immediately provocative. The best prompts evoke a scenario in the user’s mind that makes it easy, if not irresistible, to follow that idea and see where it takes them.
  • Writing prompts leave “What happens next?” to the user. As writers, it’s easy for us to go too long with a great idea, but the goal is to inspire the user to take that step instead.
  • Writing prompts are short and clear. They are usually 1 – 3 sentences and contain no extra words.
  • There are plenty of places to find example prompts online, and the WikiHow, “How to Come up with a Writing Prompt” has some worthwhile information. Of course, the trick is taking this information and using it to make prompts that embody the spirit, the je ne sais quoi and whatever the fuck of bizarro.