Wednesday, October 17, 2012

Monstrous: Let's Talk About Body Parts - Project Details

MONSTROUS: Let's Talk About Body Parts
Brain Goblins and "ED" = eating disorder, art exercise

This weekend I posted a sort of vague tweet about wanting to do a collection for girls and women that explores our experiences with body image. It's a very personal subject to me, a lifelong struggle, and an issue I see effecting all the women I know to one degree or other. I've wanted to do something about it, something creative and productive, something honest and meaningful, for a long time. I just wasn't sure if it was something anyone else would want to contribute to, read, or otherwise be interested in. Well, I'm sure now. I've received quite a bit of interest in just the initial concept and received some utterly heartbreaking emails that make it that much more apparent that it's a necessary endeavor.

Which brings me to the project: MONSTROUS. 

The title is significant on a few levels and I picked it because it encapsulates, I think, the complicated and often destructive relationship women have with their bodies and the concept of "beauty"vs. worth in our culture. This is due to a lot of things, such as the fact that our bodies are treated as public property to be judged, critiqued, and regulated. It can be as "harmless" as Photoshopping, as serious as basic body autonomy. It's a difficult maze to navigate and we all need an outlet for those thoughts and feelings. Because I'm a writer and artist I work my own issues out through storytelling quite a bit. I supsect that there are lot of others who have something to say about this topic as well, and even more who could benefit from reading about the struggles of others and discovering they aren't alone. 

Okay! On to the project details: 


Project type: collection/anthology

Theme: The relationship between girls/women and their bodies through the lens of storytelling in different mediums and genres.

Looking for: Prose/comics/poems/art

Genre:  fiction (horror, sci-fi, fantasy, etc), auto-bio, non -fiction

For: Girls/Women

Open to: contributors of any age and gender, on the general theme of “body image & girls/women”. This includes trans/genderqueer contributors, POC contributors and related stories and experiences.

Purpose: Let girls/women know they are not alone when they struggle with their body and our narrowly defined, “beauty” obsessed culture. Positive overall message, but, the stories themselves can be in any genre and be difficult/upsetting. Focus is on being meaningful explorations of theme.

Stories can be about: Any body image related topics, from eating disorders to self-harm to sexual identity. Not limited to these topics, so stories will be evaluated individually.

What elements to avoid/won’t be accepted: Size or weight numbers, instructions on how to restrict/binge/self-harm. Obviously nothing that promotes sexism, homophobia, racism, fatphobia, or transphobia (stories may address said issues, however). Will also not accept stories that demonize ANY body type. No “real women have..” malarkey. This project will inevitably have triggering elements, but we can avoid giving people a destructive how-to guide.

Important note: The book audience will likely skew “older” because I think in order for this to be a truly meaningful conversation about the theme, it will need to be open to addressing difficult subject matter via possibly graphic language and visuals.  Therefore stories do not need to be for “all ages”.  Story content will be considered on an individual basis.

The things I don't yet know: Funding. I want to pay contributors AND get this printed, so funding will be incredibly important. Obviously there are crowd-funded sources like Kickstarter and Indiegogo to consider, not to mention hopefully finding a willing publisher for the final piece. If I go the Kickstarter route I'll need some sample work to show, a video, and help with spreading the word. Before I can do that, though, I will need to figure out a timeline for publication that makes sense and a whole mess of other things. Suggestions in this regard would be very welcome.

I would also like to find a way to make this project available to organizations like the National Eating Disorder Association, and have a digital version. I'd like to keep the cost of the actual book down so it can be read as many people as possible. So I'm definitely looking for help on the backend.

How to Pitch to MONSTROUS

Submit to: Use MONSTROUS Submission and YOUR NAME in the subject.

Submission will be open until Dec 1st, 2012.

Submissions: 1 paragraph story “pitch”.  Include number of pages, genre, format, issue addressing, and brief bio. Must include full name and email. Sample of script writing/prose/art preferred (though not more than a page for writing, and a link to an online portfolio/example is fine for art).

Being previously published is not required, but pitches will be vetted for quality and thematic relevance.

DO NOT send final pieces. Pitches that have been accepted will be contacted for final work.

Story/piece requirements:
Poem – one page
Prose- 2, 4, or 6 pages (even number only)
Comics- 2, 6, or 8 pages (even numbered only)
Art pieces- color and b/w (one piece per artist unless otherwise decided)


  1. This sounds like a very worthwhile project, and I would love to be involved. I just wanted to post (in case you didn't already know about it) that publishes calls for work. This might be perfect for it and perfect for reaching a writing audience. Best of luck with everything! :)

    1. Thank you! That's incredibly helpful. :]

  2. Is this open to everyone? This Australian would love to contribute, but I understand there might be restrictions on these things.

    1. Yep! Doesn't matter where you're from. :}

  3. Are you looking for comics with the artwork or would you accept unillustrated comic scripts?

    1. I would definitely accept unillustrated pitches and then, if accepted, work towards pairing it with an artist.

  4. Really wish I knew about this earlier. I have been struggling with my E.D. since I was 10, I am now 18. I have been through two rehabilitation centers, yet am still working on recovery. I actually found this page while drawing a piece inspired by my E.D. This is a truly amazing idea, I wish i could have participated.

    1. Hey! If you still want to, I can let the deadline slide a little. :}