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Category Archives: Craft: Short Story Writing

8 Things Literary Magazine Editors Love To See In Short Stories Right Now | Writer’s Relief

Wondering what kinds of short stories literary magazine editors are publishing right now? We have the answer! At Writer’s Relief, we track thousands of literary journals and hundreds of short story submissions every year, and we’re always keeping an eye on short story trends. We know the elements literary editors love to see in short stories—so they’re more likely to offer an acceptance!

(Is it any wonder our clients have so many short stories published in literary magazines?)

Check Out These Short Story Publishing Trends That Editors Are Loving

Fresh new perspectives and insights. Literary magazine editors tire of reading the same old themes again and again. And while it may be true that there are “no new ideas,” there are definitely modern, new perspectives to explore on perennial subjects. What fresh angle can your short stories bring to familiar subject matter?

A strong voice. Great ideas become that much greater when the voice relaying them is memorable. Your voice as a writer consists of your thoughts, concerns, and passions—and the way you handle language. Some writers may choose a brazen, in-your-face prose; others may opt for a quieter style that allows ideas to shine through without the distraction of narrative pyrotechnics. Once you find your voice as a writer, amplify your strengths to make a meaningful impact.

Memorable characters. Most short stories have a character (or characters) at the center. And many editors confess that character development plays a primary role in the success of a short story. Whether you’re writing about an average person or a larger-than-life hero, the way you develop your characters influences the way that readers and editors will connect with your short story. Learn more about how to write great characters.

Narrative risks and twists. Experimental stories, and those that push the envelope, arrive on editors’ desks like a breath of fresh air. But if you’re going to break the rules of storytelling, be sure you do it well and submit your work wisely. Learn more about the market for experimental fiction and how to break in.

An appropriate word count. Editors—and readers in general—don’t have patience for stories that start slow and move at a snail’s pace before they finally get going. They also don’t have lots of time for extraneous words, long-winded language, and overwriting. In today’s short-attention-span world, the shorter your short story, the better. Short stories with fewer than 3,500 words will see the greatest number of markets available to them.

A willingness to tackle tough subject matter. Society is full of misunderstandings, gray areas, delicate subject matter, and taboos. Writers who are willing to explore tough subjects with sensitivity and sophistication are often appreciated by editors who are trying to keep their literary magazines fresh and relevant.

Authentic cultural perspectives. Literary magazine editors love short stories that reflect authentic experiences of varying culture perspectives. It’s important to keep in mind, though, that every editor will have his or her own strong feelings about how cultural perspectives are portrayed (or who is portraying them). Here’s where you can learn more about writing characters of varying backgrounds and ethnicities.

The unexpected. Above all, literary journal editors—who have been there, read that—love it when writers surprise them. Sometimes, a narrative surprise can be as bold as a twist ending that no one saw coming, or an experimental narrative that pushes the limitations of storytelling. Other times, the surprise element can be as subtle as a new voice.

Should You Write Short Stories With Marketing Trends In Mind?

Although keeping an eye on trends in short story publishing—and routinely reading literary magazines that publish short stories—can help ensure that your writing stays plugged in and relevant, you might want to think twice before you write to meet the expectations of anyone but yourself.

Learn more about the smart way to write for the short story market without sacrificing your personal writing style.

 

Question: Which of these trends do you already use in your writing?

9 Ideas For Short Story Endings: How To Get From Here To There | Writer’s Relief

Sometimes, writing a short story can be like going for a drive with no map: You have a solid starting point, but then the highway has multiple exits. Which direction will get you where you need to go? Time to whip out your virtual writing GPS and ask the Writer’s Relief experts for the best… Continue Reading

The Long And The Short Of It: What’s The Best Length For A Short Story? | Writer’s Relief

Thanks to the Internet, there’s been a renaissance of literary magazines that publish short stories. Since online publishing has become more prevalent, Writer’s Relief has noticed that more literary journals are publishing short fiction and nonfiction. Check out these trendy topics short story editors are loving. Here’s more good news for short story writers! We’ve… Continue Reading

Write Strong Female Characters Without Being Cliché | Writer’s Relief

Writers and readers talk so often about strong female characters that the phrase has become a publishing buzzword. Writers try to entice literary agents by using a strong woman character as a hook in their query letters. Readers create lists of books that feature strong women characters. Writer’s Relief knows that strong women characters are… Continue Reading

En Plein Air: Could This Painting Technique Work For Your Writing? | Writer’s Relief

Summertime offers the best opportunities for writing en plein air— a French phrase for “the act of painting outdoors.” Just as artists lug their equipment to meadows, lakes, and parks instead of painting in a studio, Writer’s Relief recommends that you head outdoors to write! You may enjoy some serious benefits by putting this painting… Continue Reading



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