Edited by Simon Kurt Unsworth
For publication early-2022

Submissions close: 30th June 2021

Clichés! We all know them, we’ve probably all been guilty of using them and we usually dismiss them but what if there’s something to them? After all, they’ve not been forgotten. They hold a strange place in the story world because while they’ve become…well…clichés now, there must have been a point when the cliché was fresh, when it caught people by surprise. Well, we believe in second chances and think that it’s time that the cliché needs to be refreshed and reborn, should be able to rise again, phoenix-like, from the ashes!

We’re inviting submissions that use clichés to do something interesting, that invert or recreate the cliché or catch us by surprise. Please use the list below for guidance, but if there’s a cliché missing please query and we’ll add it if it fits. Submissions MUST use the central idea of the cliché as a central theme, but we encourage you think creatively about the best way to do that. We’re happy to look at stories or poems of any length up to 7500 (query for over) and encourage submissions from people of all cultures and backgrounds.

Submissions should be double spaced and in 12pt standard font, with author name and title and cliché being used on front page but only title and cliché (in the header) and page number on each page – submissions will be printed and read blind to try to ensure unbiased decision-making. No simultaneous submissions. Unpublished pieces are preferred, but reprints may be considered. Please specify if a submission is a reprint, along with details of where it first saw publication. If your piece is selected, you will receive a contributor copy and a percentage of net royalties.

As an added temptation, Black Shuck Books is also going to produce a short seasonal teaser anthology, “It’s a Christmas Miracle!” to be released for Christmas 2021 – specific Christmas clichés are also set out below.


  • It was just a dream…
  • The narrator has been dead all along…
  • I’m really in Hell already!
  • The restaurant eats the guests.
  • Child’s imaginary friend turns out to be real after all adults dismiss it…
  • Loner geek turns out to have terrible powers…
  • Magic typewriter – whatever someone types turns real.
  • Vampire forgets the time and gets killed by daylight.
  • Getting what we wish for turns out badly.
  • Retribution is served by a victim from beyond the grave.
  • A prophecy comes true, but ironically.
  • A pact with the Devil can’t be avoided, no matter what.
  • City types arrive in a lonely village just in time to be part of some terrible rite.
  • A sexy hook-up turns out to be a monster or otherwise evil.
  • Evil children attack the adults.
  • The last line is a bad pun (“Cat got your tongue?”).
  • People in the costume (Halloween etc) turn out to be monsters.
  • “It was one hundred years ago on this very night…”
  • “It was built on an ancient burial ground…”
  • “The walls recorded the emotion…”
  • The psychic split – the good guy is actually the bad guy!
  • Demon/ghost hair is alive (Japan).
  • Staying in the house after all hell breaks loose.
  • “It was a dark and stormy night…”
  • “We dug it up! Now put it back!”
  • The ghosts want rid of the humans…
  • “The calls are coming from inside the house!”
  • What happens in the dream becomes real…
  • We brought a curse down on ourselves by opening that which ought not to be opened…
  • Everything happens for a reason…


  • Santa saves the day!
  • A mysterious flying object turns out to be Santa!
  • Wait…is that Krampus…
  • Christmas makes a bad person see the light of goodness…

Submissions should be sent as an attachment with a covering email to