Perhaps you've written a collection of short stories but you have no idea what to do with them next. Perhaps it is the case that you want to write something, but you're lacking those important constraints that squeeze out creativity like juice from a lime. Finding somewhere to submit your short stories is a great way to get three 'creativity juicers' that will kick your proverbial backside into writing.
- A theme
- A word count
- A deadline
Having these three things will give you a framework in which to write. If you are disorganised like I tend to be, you need to find ways to make sure you meet those submission deadlines to get your writing out there. I find it very useful to have a writing calendar with submission deadlines marked out for each place you intend to send your work to. I then plan writing time in between and focus on the priority deadlines. If you find that there is one, two or all three 'creativity juicers' missing, simply create your own. Jot the theme, word count and deadline on the writing calendar (if the destination for your work takes submissions all year round) to set your own constraints and get scribbling. This is a really good way to organise your writing projects around your life, and still manage to meet your deadlines
Here is (in no particular order) a (not exhaustive) list of great places to submit short stories. Some accept poetry, and some allow you to flex your creative non fiction muscles.
1. Top ten by Dan Carpenter. This is a website where you can submit personal top tens. You can make your entries as long as you like, but lists can only be 10 items long, which is a spin on the word count but a constraint to work to all the same.
2. Cutaway magazine is based in Manchester, UK and is a collaboration between Craig Pay and Dave Schofield. Currently, the word count is 1000-3000 for short works. Cutaway is to be a one off tangible publication in the summer 2012, but may break out into subsequent issues. The magazine will come complete with ISBN number, and will be available for purchase on demand via Amazon and through selected retailers in Greater Manchester. One to watch!
3. Structo magazine is a gorgeous newspaper of short stories and poetry. Submissions are closed at the moment but the word count is a maximum of 3000 for short works. Keep an eye on the website! Among the many bricks and mortar establishments you can purchase this beautiful publication from, one of the places is Manchester's Cornerhouse. Well worth submitting to.
4. The pygmy giant is a website run by two Bristolians Sarah and Mel. As the title suggests, short or flash fiction is the order of the day (short works have a word limit of 800), with a large dollop of poetry for good measure.
5. Paraxis. I love the Librarian illustration on this website. I could just cuddle the little book hugger. Paraxis often give you a theme as well as a word count and a deadline. The editors are Claire Massey, Andy Hedgecock and Carys Bra.
6. Manchester writing competition is the big daddy of writing competitions inasmuch that it has a large pull nationally and internationally. The maximum word count is 3000 words for short fiction.
7. Friction magazine is published by Newcastle Centre for Literary Arts. They offer a maximum word count of 3000 words for one piece of of fiction or three pieces of flash-fiction with a maximum word count of 1000. You can also submit a memoir, essay or life-writing with a maximum word count of 2000. Check out the website for deadlines.
8. Manchester literature festival is a great opportunity to write some creative non fiction. If you volunteer as a blogger, you can go along to events as a punter and then scoot on home to write up the event. The lovely Clare Conlon will then post your entry on the Manchester Lit fest blog (after editorial approval of course). Perfect! Here are my efforts for last year.
9. Rainy city stories is the perfect tribute to Manchester, described on the website as an interactive literary cityscape, you can click on a location in a google map of Manchester to read a story or poem set there. For short fiction the word limit is 2000.
10. Writers and artists competition is well worth a go. You'll get a theme, a word count of 2000, and submissions are normally in the February.
First up, apologies, as I know I have mainly focused on short fiction and creative non-fiction (sorry poets, as much as it pains me to say it, I just don't have your ninja skills. I am working on it though!) Many of these places accept poetry, just check the submission guidelines with the publications online or otherwise for details. Remember, most places will only accept previously unpublished work, so if it's been in another mag or on another website, use it as an opportunity to write something brand spanking new!
If there is anywhere you want to add/amend, feel free to make comments.