Initial Call for Submissions

bar sinister: noun

plural bars sinister or bar sinisters

Synonyms of bar sinister

1 : a supposed heraldic charge widely believed to be a mark of bastardy
2 : a quarterly zine based on freedom of artistic expression, dark fiction, pain and romanticism.

Philosophy: We are creating a hand-stapled, photo-copier aesthetic, grungy, underground fan ‘zine in the tradition of those made in the 70s-90s.

What we are not: We are not seeking a wide circulation, we are not seeking a mainstream audience, we are not seeking entries or readership from those who are uninterested in our core themes. You are not punishing us with your disinterest.

Accepted submissions are not compensated at this time. Physical copies of the ‘zine will be sold at printing and mailing cost (to be determined), and digital copies will be available for free, pay what you want, with all contributions  going to the editor’s coffee money jar.

Submission Guidelines:

Types of submissions Bar-Sinister accepts:

  • black and white drawings and art
  • short fiction
  • serial fiction
  • poetry
  • essays
  • analyses
  • opinion pieces
  • critiques and reviews
  • prompts and works meant to inspire other artists and writers
  • At this time we are looking for submissions between 100 and ~1000 words (don’t sweat the small stuff, but don’t go over 1500 words)
  • Please make certain that all images are print quality at no less than 300dpi

Bar-Sinister will feature work on a number of interlinked themes with similar elements.

  • Freedom of artistic expression: Works relating to the ability and right of every person to express themselves fully and freely through the medium of art and fiction.
  • Dark fiction: Fiction (and other art) with elements that are considered dark, strange, horrific, taboo. Sometimes referred to as darkfic, or dead dove.
  • Pain: Fiction and art with an emphasis on the experience of physical and mental suffering, torture and misery, and on recovery from the same. Sometimes referred to as whump.
  • Romanticism: Fiction and art with an emphasis on personal romance and romantic desire, often, but not always including dark elements, strangeness, taboo, or mental or physical suffering. Sometimes referred to as self ship.


Every quarter Bar-Sinister will provide prompts in several categories that artists and writers can base their submissions on. These prompts are meant to be inspiring and thematic rather than restrictive, and Bar-Sinister welcomes any submissions that include our themes whether or not they were inspired by our prompts.

Current Prompts:

  • A day in the life of a whumper/whumpee/whump writer.
  • The worst thing F/O ever did.

We are always looking for:

  • general F/O imagines
  • dark romantic fiction
  • whump prompts
  • whump writing
  • any short fiction focusing on pain or romantic desire.
  • essays and opinions about freedom of expression
  • reviews of dark fiction in media (movies, novels, games etc)

At this time please send submissions to:

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