What does “Dread” mean to Apparition Lit?

Greetings and salutations, readers!

With Dread kicking off, I have the honor of once again presenting what Apparition is hoping to see in the submissions.

We also are embracing a lot of change – and growth – for 2023.

Apparition Lit, with its record highs in submissions (see our Patreon for stats) has moved to Moksha for submissions. We started with this month’s flash contest, and now Dread will be entirely accepted using our new platform. Long time fans/submitters to Apparition can bear with us as we learn the new system,. We are optimistic this will increase the timeliness, ease, and responsiveness as folks trust us with their amazing work.

Another first for Apparition: two guest editors for this issue! Eugenia Triantafyllou (she/her) and Nelly Geraldine Garcia-Rosas (she/her) have joined forces to craft our first issue of 2023. How dreadfully delightful! 

In celebration of this dynamic duo, both editors have created companion blogs discussing their own hopes and dreams for Dread. You can find Eugenia’s here. and you can read Nelly’s here.

Last but not least, our submission records not only necessitated a whole new system – it was the reason to bring aboard four more readers. 

In this very special edition of the blog, we hear from our newest readers – and our long standing editors – about what we are looking forward to reading: 

Ether (they/them; Submissions Reader): To me, dread is anticipation that never ceases but just grows; an uneasiness in a story that is continually diverted…a teetering of what-ifs…the narrator has just narrowly missed some harrowing possibility that passes unnoticed and is never fully realized until later – or alternatively never quite resolved. Any story with multiple possible reasons for a characters’ actions that may or may not be threatening or mundane. Dread is questioning the intentions of the world around you, when a safety/stability that “should” be present is rescinded.

Moriam (she/her; Submissions Reader): Dread can be an unnerving fear of the unknown or inescapable. Immerse me in prose of gnawing unease as characters avoid or confront their demons. I would particularly love stories that turn the mundane into strange and unexpected sources of dread.

A. J. Van Belle (they/them; Submissions Reader): For me, dread is horror that plays on fears we can’t name, creeping existential terror, or the horrifying suspicion there might be something worse out there than we’ve yet imagined. It can also be beautiful, illustrating growth and healing. In fact, what better way to convey the positive aspects of human nature than through contrast with hopelessness and despair?

Tehnuka (she/they; Submissions Reader): Whether it’s being alone in the dark, passing the tree everyone says contains a muni, or a ‘see me in my office’ from the senior manager, dread includes an anticipation informed by knowledge and past experience (or lack thereof)—the inevitability of a confrontation with something terrible, even if we don’t know how things will play out. It can be universal and yet very personal. I hope to see the interplay between what we know and don’t know—how do our unique knowledge and experiences influence the ways we feel and respond to dread?”

Amy (she/her; Owner/Senior Editor, Poetry Editor, and Webmaster): I want that creeping feeling along the back of your neck and you know something isn’t right, something is out of place, the world is the wrong shade of purple and your skin doesn’t fit right.

Clarke (she/her; Owner/Senior Editor): I love the dread in gothic fiction, which is an obvious answer but I mean it with my whole black heart. I love dread as its own flavor of fear or discomfort–for me it’s not a matter of wondering if the story will end badly, but knowing the end can’t be good, even if there’s hope there too, and characters will suffer and it’s only a matter of how and to what extent. I would love to see characters dealing with their own dread in different ways and the consequences of those choices. And I want to be surprised! Give me the unexpected yet inevitable.

Maria (she/her; Poetry Editor & Assistant Fiction Editor, Submissions Reader): Dread vibes: gothic, anything in the vein of the Southern Reach trilogy, cosmic horror, Cassandra of Troy. This could be a fun issue for epistolary, frame narrative, other plays on form…

Rebecca (she/her; Owner/Senior Editor and Cover Art Director): Low level dread. I want that gut churning agony that comes with watching something you love dissolve. Maybe like watching your main source of audience, promotion, and funding teeter on the precipice as a billionaire throws a hissy fit


Spooky, spooky, and more spooky! The portal is open, fiends and ghouls. We are dreading what you have in store! 

Don’t shy away from our submissions page for our guidelines, continue to reach out to us on the burning wreckage of twitter, or find us on our brand new (!!) instagram

Until next time, friends!

Blog Photo by Cash Macanaya on Unsplash   

  • Marie Baca Villa
    Marie Baca Villa Blogger/Submission Reader

    Marie Baca Villa is a Chicana writer and artist in California. She has a master’s degree in psychology and used her education to build a long career in crime victim advocacy. As a fan of speculative fiction, she loves anything involving strange worlds, complex characters, and unexplained phenomenon. She’s a bonified cat lady, covered in tattoos, and she loves cussing, beer, and flaming hot cheetos. You can find Marie on Twitter @okay_its_marie

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