Our mission at Black Girls Create has always been highlighting Black female creators and being a place for discussions of critical fandom, and one way we’ve decided to converge the two themes is with the Critical Companion series.
Inspired by Doctor Who’s plucky sidekicks (most notably, season 10’s Bill Potts), formal literary Critical Companions discussing an author’s breadth of work, as well as our mission to provide a platform for marginalized creators, the Critical Companion series will feature blog posts written by Black writers. We hope those writers are some of you!
In 2018 we had a monthly topic where we accepted two pitches (paid) that represent two aspects of the idea. Now, we are opening up submissions to be a bit less restrictive, but we are still largely looking for pieces that delve into the idea of critical fandom — how do we as fans analyze our favorite things with care and consider the wider world that the fandom either represents or ignores? We always love personal essays about growing up nerdy, early fandom experiences, and pivotal moments in your own nerdy lives.
Pitches are taken on a rolling basis. Posting will typically occur on the 2nd and 4th Thursdays of the month.
Word Count: approx. 700 words
Price: $50 per post
This February brings back Black Wizard History Month! For this month, we’d like to publish essays about your favorite Black characters in magical fiction, how you think representation of Black magical people can be improved upon, or about your favorite magical Black worlds and stories!
As usual, we can accept two paid Critical Companion pieces, and would love them to be centered on magic, written by Black writers of any gender.
Due Date: January 31
For ideas of themes we find interesting and the kinds of posts we look for, take a look at these previous writing prompts and Critical Companion pieces:
Essays about growing up nerdy, your experiences in fandom, your first fandom memory, first convention experience, first time meeting other nerds in real life, etc. Especially those coming from a Black/PoC perspective.
Three Fears I About Public Spaces I Had As a Black Nerd by Renée Jacobs
Finding Inclusion in the Digital Age by Kira Sparkles
Essays ranging from why you like time travel despite being Black/PoC and geeking out on the rules of time travel to comparing shows with different uses of time travel (e.g. Timeless vs Doctor Who) or rankings of shows with the best time travel. Let the infinite possibility of time travel inspire you to pitch us something unique.
Bonus: Reclaiming Our Black Time Travelers by Constance Gibbs
Magical Schools (HP and beyond):
We’re big fans of Harry Potter at BGC (obviously), so we do a lot of thinking about Magical Schools. What are some thoughts you’ve had about magical schooling either in the HP world or other fandoms/literature? What is usually ignored or not considered at magical schools in fiction? What are some real-world policies magical schools in fiction should adopt? What are some real-world concerns that might be mirrored in particular magical education communities (i.e. Betsy DeVos acting as a Dolores Umbridge, but more unique)?
Were you prevented from reading, watching, or engaging in something nerdy when you were younger? Because of religion or parents who just didn’t get it? Beyond “Harry Potter is the devil,” what were your experiences sneaking in this thing or coming to it later in life? Did you join in because it was rebellious or because you found the medium between why it was banned and why banning it makes no sense (i.e. Christian kids coming to Harry Potter and realizing it, in fact, has positive religious themes)?
The Struggle of Being an Ethiopian Preacher’s Kid by Mahlet Sebhat
Politics in Speculative Fiction:
How are political systems reflected in SFF? How are political rebellion and resistance portrayed through characters of color? How do spec fic politics reflect the real world? How do you navigate the political landscape in things like Harry Potter, which imply post-racial societies, but are clearly not? Go deep!
The Family That Nerds Together:
We’ve talked being differently nerdy than your family, now let’s talk about how you nerd out together. Give us essays on your first experiences with LOTR or Star Trek because of your mom or dad. Family trips you’ve taken steeped in nerdy stops. How some SFF property brought your family together. Are your family lines deeply fractured in a Trek vs Wars familial war? Give us your heartwarming, your funny, your interesting tales of family nerdery.
Beyond the Kokiri Forest: A Father and Daughter’s Zelda Adventure by Delia Gallegos
My Granny and Her Love of Comics by Bilal Shelby
The Decline of Heroes:
Who are some of your faves who you would like to just sit down and let you love them? Who have you completely thrown in the garbage? Do you believe in separating art from the artist, or are you someone who sees how their problems find their way into their art? Give us your thoughts!
Representation in Harry Potter:
How did you come to Harry Potter? Who were the characters you were most connected to? What parts of the fandom did you feel included or excluded from?
Finally Finding a Place in Fandom by Stacie C
Romance in Epics:
What are your favorite Black or POC love plots in Sci-Fi/Fantasy? Who are the best Black couples in speculative fiction (movies, TV, books all included)? What is missing from the romance landscape when it comes to Black love in space or magical worlds and how can we add (or who is adding) to the dearth of Black Love in these spaces?
Religion in Sci-fi/fantasy:
How does sci-fi/fantasy deal with religion? Thinking beyond white (passing, if not Earth) characters, how does religion in sci-fi affect characters of color? What are some examples of religion being used in speculative fiction worlds in new ways? What were some poor uses? Are there fictional religions that have centered people of color and added depth to new worlds?
**If you would like to submit pitches outside of these particular parameters, please feel free to do so. However, please be advised that we are unable to pay for posts outside of the Critical Companion at this time. We encourage pitching to other paid outlets and reaching out to us to cross-post once accepted.