Let’s make this a game!

If you’ve followed this blog for a while, you know that writing short fiction is a struggle for me. I keep trying though, and a few times, I’ve boldly submitted one of my stories to a literary journal. Oh, I was hopeful. This time for sure, I thought. Each and every time. No luck.

If you’ve followed this blog for a while, you know that writing short fiction is a struggle for me. I keep trying though, and a few times, I’ve boldly submitted one of my stories to a literary journal. Oh, I was hopeful. This time for sure, I thought. Each and every time. No luck.

I had other things on my mind though, like polishing and publishing the novel I’d written, so I set aside the quest for seeing one of my shorts published. I ignored the emails from Duotrope, tempting me with notifications of journals seeking submissions.

However, somewhere somehow I heard about Vine Leaves Literary Journal, edited by Jessica Bell and Dawn Ius. When I read about its concept of publishing vignettes, something clicked.

Here’s their definition of the term:

“Vignette” is a word that originally meant “something that may be written on a vine-leaf.” It’s a snapshot in words. It differs from flash fiction or a short story in that its aim doesn’t lie within the traditional realms of structure or plot. Instead, the vignette focuses on one element, mood, character, setting or object. It’s descriptive, excellent for character or theme exploration and wordplay. Through a vignette, you create an atmosphere.

Occasionally, I play around with writing vignettes. I had written one that I loved, but never tried submitting because it wasn’t exactly a story, not even a flash story. At one point, I rewrote it as a poem, which did not succeed. Anyway. I had this vignette just sitting there, so I thought, Why not submit it?

Guess what? Yep! They accepted it. Unfortunately, they accidentally omitted the last line! They’ve apologized and will print it again in it’s entirety in the next issue (April), but since I was excited to share it with you today, I’ll give you the link anyway, but we’ll play a little game.

Can you guess the last line?

Read and come back here to give me your best guess: A Meditation

The long and short of it

Yesterday, I spent hours—again—researching literary magazines. My goal is to have at least two stories and maybe a poem in submission by October. I’m not sure I have a talent for writing short stories. I feel more confident in my novel writing ability.

I give story writing a good shot every so often, but somehow, the voice I have when novel writing weakens in my stories. Some feel if you truly have the skills for writing fiction, you should be able to write it long and short. But I know other novelists who either stumble at writing short fiction or refuse to even try.

Story writing is a challenge to me. For some reason, I feel obligated to succeed at it, at least once. I feel the same about poetry—even though that definitely requires a different skill set than fiction writing. Maybe I’m just a bit masochistic.

I have a couple stories I think are worth submitting. But, like querying a novel to the right agent, it’s important to find the right magazine for your story. The few literary magazines I’m subscribed to now, are far beyond my level. Only in my dreams would they accept my work.

It takes an enormous amount of time to read online journals, looking for a good match. And I’ll confess that, like agents, a few mags I thought would be perfect, did not agree with my assessment. A rejection yesterday, came so soon after submission, it seems they didn’t even need to read the whole story. That’s a real confidence shaker. Or maybe that editor’s a speed reader. Yeah, let’s go with that.

Now, your turn. Do you write both short and long fiction? Do you write them equally well? Do you also write poetry?

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