So we have a fair bit to talk about with the second update of the San Cicaro Pulse this week. We’ve received several stories and are starting to see patterns in the questions and themes worthy of discussion.

James’ Thoughts:

Let’s start with our most common question. Mostly native Californians have been asking, “where exactly is San Cicaro located?” And frequently this is coupled with questions about how close it is to the water. The answer is that San Cicaro is floating between Los Angeles and San Francisco, and is on the coast. Because geography is a major bedrock of cities, you’re free to play with the immediate geography some. It might also a deep port but it depends on the needs of the stories we receive.

This brings us to another topic of discussion I call “hardcoding.”

Hardcoding is a software development term for when something you want to be easily changed is deeply embedded in the code. And strange as it sounds, the term has a place in storytelling too. No author wants to write something that they can’t publish at all, and they’re wise to keep their options open. So when a story we receive mentions that it’s set in another city, it’s usually just fine. There might be a detail or two to massage into San Cicaro, but that’s not a big deal. Rather, the “hardcoding” problem has been when we receive a story that is distinctly another city. One tale we received was exactly that, and while these details are laudable, we’d have to gut half the story to make it fit.

Andrew’s Thoughts:

Also, we feel it needs reiterating that a story you present shouldn’t change the world we are collectively creating in San Cicaro. Secret cults and sub-cultures within the urban sprawl are fine; creating a dystopian city run by megacorps and robots would not. We are very flexible on what you choose to write about, but keep in mind the urban fantasy element. We want something roughly contemporary, and possessing a weird or paranormal quality which could exist alongside the mundane world.

So far, we have had a fair few horror entries. Now we love the creepy and macabre, and we’ve had some great entries in this vein, but don’t feel constrained by this. We would be happy to see well written stories of supernatural serendipity, or comedic pieces if they are obey the guidelines already laid down.

A final note. We’re still being generous about returning stories and requesting rewrites, but that will be ending shortly. We’re not filled to capacity yet, but we have some definite winners thus far. Stay tuned for more.

A big thanks to Kamesh Vedula on Unsplash for the banner art of this post.