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Meet The First Line, the self-proclaimed “writer’s journal for readers”! The First Line is an awesome, original journal that publishes entire issues of works that begin with the same line. We love the idea of giving writers a prompt to invigorate their creativity! Don’t you want to pick up an issue to see all the different places that the curious minds of writers can go even though they’ve started in the same way?
CONTEST! Leave a comment by March 1 to enter to win a free one-year print subscription to The First Line! This contest is now closed. Congratulations to Topher, our winner. Thank you to all who participated!
Special Discount for Friends of WR! If you buy a one-year print subscription between now and March 31, you can get another one-year subscription for a friend for free!
1. Give us the lowdown on your journal’s mission.
The purpose of The First Line is to jump-start the imagination—to help writers break through the block that is the blank page. Each issue contains short stories that stem from a common first line; it also provides a forum for discussing favorite first lines in literature. The First Line is an exercise in creativity for writers and a chance for readers to see how many different directions we can take when we start from the same place.
2. Describe your ideal submission in 15 words or less.
An engaging story that takes us in a direction we hadn’t anticipated.
3. Tell us about a piece you recently published that got the staff really excited. Why did you love it? Why did it strike a chord?
All of the stories we publish excite us in one way or another (that’s like asking us which child we like best—it’s our daughter, by the way). Sometimes we are moved by a character or the way a writer weaves the perfect plot or how the language of a piece is simply inspiring. Other times, we get excited by something that just makes us laugh.
4. Regarding submissions: What’s the most common turn-off that you encounter (in terms of craft)?
Someone who doesn’t take us or their writing seriously.
5. What’s the most common oversight (in terms of submission guidelines)?
Altering the first line. Call me Ishmael. is not the same as “Call me Ishmael.” is not the same as “Call me, Ishmael.”
6. Why is your journal awesome?
We encourage writers to write what they want to read. If you are too busy writing what you think editors want to read, then your work will feel forced. We like to think of TFL as a writer’s journal for readers.
7. Where can readers find your submission guidelines?
Our guidelines can be found here.
8. Is it true that The First Line is the longest-running, continually published independent print quarterly journal (based in Texas) in the world?