New Open Call?

Just wondering if there's a new Open Call planned sometime soon.


Not in the immediate future; my basic rule is "no new Open Calls until the last one is in print".

So, there won't be one this year, but there may be one next year. I do need to leave some space between them; it took a long time to get enough submissions to this one, which suggests that I should leave some time for more people to decide that they want to write for the line, and build up the confidence to do it.

Seems reasonable.

I'm confident, but having the time was the issue with the last one. I now have a lot more time but sadly there's no Open Call. Back to writing/editing Sub Rosa articles then...

Thanks for the update chief.

What was the previous Open Call? Writing a book? A section of one? Is it currently in print?


The last open call was the magi, spells and items call. It's not in print yet, but it's moving nicely through development.

That was a long time ago!

The Open Call that is in print is the vis descriptions in Covenants. If David is listening, I think that was a preferable one because of the length of the submission.

The downside was that I had to provide opportunities for people to write 5,000 words or fewer in later books, to make sure that they could cope with the larger projects. That created problems.

If you can't write a 5,000 word project, you can't write for the line, because there's not really anything shorter on offer. Hence the decision to ask for the minimum level up front.

This makes it a bit tricky - an example character is much less than 5000 words for instance, unless there's a whole career progression set out like the last Open Call. Vis sources and Story seeds, being a few paragraphs long are much less daunting but admittedly not necessarily what you are after I suspect.

Currently Sub Rosa suggests max 2000-3000 word articles IIRC.

As a ballpark figure, how many pages of a standard Ars supplement (eg a Tribunal Book or one of the HoH books) is 5000 words roughly?

I estimate a page to be about 1000 words - is this correct?

For example, a covenant in L&L appears to be anywhere from 1 page (Atsigani) to 5 pages (Oleron or Fudarus), if Story Seeds and characters are included. Is this the kind of "project" you mean or do you mean whole chapters?


I'd guess half that, but it would only be a guess.

OK, my version of Oleron, remembering this may have changed when it was editted and laid out, was 3 163 words. So, I'd suggest that my figure of 500 words to a page is a workable rough guide. So, a basic project is 10 pages.

I'd just like to chip this is, though: if you accept a book in which each author is allowed to put in, say 2000 words, what you are effectively doing is saying a book can have 33 or so authors. The chasing up and carrying on for a team that big would be phenomenal, I imagine. Even at 5 000 words you are still getting 12 or so people in a single project team.

Perhaps that's why it took so long for the newer open call to fill? That's a lot of people!

Thanks, this helps a lot with deciding what writing for the line means, in terms of effort/time etc.

Yes, this is something to reflect on, particularly since say Lion & the Lily weighs in at 140 pages, which probably means that each of the listed authors wrote on average up to 10,000 word each (leaving aside linking bits which David may have had a hand in, and ignoring that some chapters are longer than other chapters).

Perhaps- David may like to comment here. Coordinating more than half a dozen people to reach a deadline on time can be really challenging in itself, let alone a dozen or more.

I would love to enter an Open Call but sadly the last one didn't interest me because I just didn't have time to spend on iterating a character through 15 year blocks. I'm not saying I expect Open Calls to pander to my creative interest - it's just that for me, I couldn't afford the time at that point.

I don't find creating vanilla magi very interesting (I like hedgies and Ex-Misc and unusual Mythic Companions). I accept that vanilla magi (basically Corebook only) are something very desirable for the line however. Kudos to those who did make the effort to answer the Open Call - I'm looking forward to seeing the results for a number of reasons, particularly the ones Erik pointed out to me in his reply to my query in the original Open Call post:

I now have lots of time, but no Open Call which is somewhat ironic. :frowning:

I believe I can churn out reasonable material of the 3000-5000 word range, but I'm left a bit despairing at the thought of ever writing for the line as my 5 pages on Jinni Companions for Sub Rosa was about 4000 words, although I have ideas and drafts for an accompanying piece of the same length.

Any suggestions?



Well, Sub Rosa is a great publication in its own right but it is also a perpetual open call. Keep writing for Sub Rosa. Firstly, I get to read more stuff, and secondly, your presence within its pages brings you to David's attention. He's on record as saying that the fan magazines provide a good showcase for new talent.


I think what you're doing right now is very wise - if you maintain a good output on Sub Rosa, you will have a very good chance IMHO to be on David Chart's mind as a possible writer for future works. Until the next Open Call comes in, I think this is the best recourse.

I would try, however, to publish articles on several topics/styles. Always trying to do cover areas or styles I think I'm good at, of course, but still showing variety is good.

Another possibility is to approach Atlas with a request to publish an Ars Magica related product of your own - an adventure, novel, whatever. If your wish is to write and create rather than become a member of the line, I think this is a good possibility. A short adventure/story would be better served by being published in Sub Rosa, but just like Atlas gave permission for Sub Rosa they can give you permission to publish on your own. In this age of pdf-publishing, this isn't so difficult. I would, however, suggest
a) Asking for the rights to Use the Ars-Magica setting, rules, and so on for your work, in return for a licensing fee as percentage of proceeds;
b) Add a SMALL sample of the work as a proof-of-concept and to let Atlas gauge the feasibility and level of it,
c) Suggest a two-tier license - I'd ask for Atlas' approval to go ahead with the project based on the above, but with the understanding that the product will only claim affiliation with Ars Magica subject to Atlas' approval at its completion. Upon its completion it would be sent to review, and if Atlas would like to be associated with it it can give the go-ahead for it to say specific things like "Based on the Ars Magica Roleplaying Game" or so on; otherwise, the product will make no reference to Ars Magica whatsoever in its trade-dress, synopsis, and so on - despite being set in the Ars Magica verse.
d-ish) I would seriously consider approaching one or more of the well-estalbished pdf publishers (or Alex White, who has had experience publishing Sub Rosa itself), to provide professional editing and business skills, and also consider Print-On-Demand (perhaps via Lulu). I would not approach a print-publisher, not unless what you're writing is a novel set in the Ars verse (and even then I'll probably approach Atlas itself).

Regarding writing itself, the only advice I know is to write often and regularly. Write something every day, even if only a little. That's supposed to be a stock advice. I'm not a writer, though - this is just the advice I've gotten from several authors I've seen.

[I would try to do all/some of the above myself, but I have two problems - 1) I don't have the time, and 2) I don't have any talent. :slight_smile: ]

I'm afraid I have to be a wet blanket; we are unlikely to approve such a thing. Fanzines are a special case.

Thank you all for the suggestions/encouragement.

There's some good advice in there.

I am aware from previous discussions that Sub Rosa, as the successor fanzine to Hermes Portal, is a special case and that licensing is not even a remote option. I have no wish to do anything but support Alex's efforts, even if I could overcome the logistics involved.

I am committed to writing for Sub Rosa though.


The authors of Lion & Lily probably wrote even more than your estimate. I've worked on four books and for each the word count has been well above the minimum of 80k words. I think they have all been closer to 90k or even pushing 120k words.

I don't think writing 10k words for a book is that bad. David gives you a lot of time to write and if you can plod along for an hour or so during the weekdays and dedicate a weekend day to writing, you can do it without any trouble. I estimate that it takes me about an hour for every 200-250 words, which includes thinking of an idea, making a pitch, doing some research, outlining the chapter, writing it, editing it, revising it, reading playtest comments, revising it, reading the authors' e-mail list, reading the second round of playtest comments, revising it, and revising it a couple more times. This time is spread over about 9 months to a year, depending on how many rounds of playtest the book goes through. And whether or not things happen. A problem often arises when playtest comments come out or revisions are due while something crazy is happening at work. David has been very understanding about these conflicts and works with authors.

Anyway, you should keep writing in Suba Rosa and show David what you can do. I look forward to working on a book with you.

Fair enough. Far be it from me to argue with the Line Editor, but I have to say that I liked the chance to break into the author's circle with a small self-contained chapter.

The reason I really liked the 250-500 word Open Call was because I could come up with an idea at work, scribble it down on a Post-it note, and finalize it that night. It was a lot of fun. David's rejects ended up making it into a Hermes' Portal article and some might have been used in an ArM5 book. I think I've even got a vs source or two still floating around somewhere, which I might still get to use one day. Unfortunately, other than vis sources or possibly story seeds, there aren't a lot of things that I can think of which would allow for a similar Open Call.

Yes, that was one reason I did it. You can still get a similar effect via Sub Rosa, though, so all is not lost.

That is another problem. Coming up with good ideas for Open Calls is not easy; they have to be fully independent units, but the final book has to be something interesting.

Still, it's one of the things I'm paid for. :wink:

Thanks for your comments John.

They were both enlightening and encouraging!

Yes, I can't see either. Characters (esp magi) are longer but not necessarily as useful i suspect to David unless accompanied by the 15 year iterations required by the latest Open Call.

Otherwise it's pretty much whole chapters, which is a bit daunting - there's no "middle sized" projects that fit the line format currently I suspect.

I think I'll stick with it though - your breakdown of how much time and how things work seems achievable to me. I'll concentrate on producing regular material for Sub Rosa, coalesced from the multitude of notes and ideas I have written down already.



Actually the only thing I can think of that could potentially fit the Open Call format and result in a usable book is 1000-2000 word submissions of (primarily non-magus) characters with additional background / Story Seeds / variations to fit into individual Sagas etc. This would result in a book similar to the old "Mythic Tapestry" supplement. I don't know how viable it would be though.