“Writing stopped being fun when I discovered the difference between good writing and bad and, even more terrifying, the difference between it and true art. And after that, the whip came down.”
We’ve all read the submission guidelines. “Send us your best.” “We’re looking for outstanding works of literature.” “We only accept the very best.”
We’ve also read all the advice. “Read back issues.” “Read the submission guidelines.” “We don’t accept Westerns, romance, or stories about accordionists.”
And we’ve followed them to the letter, and still received rejection after rejection. Even when you’ve read the back issues, how do you know exactly what it was about a given story that caught the editor’s eye?
There are plenty of places that will tell you what editors are looking for, and we thought it would be futile to go over that ground again. We thought it might be more helpful to hear about pieces that almost, but not quite, made the grade. Editors from all over will tell you where the pieces worked for them, but more importantly, where they went wrong.
The authors we highlight get an in-depth, personal critique of their work, the journals that talk about them get to expose their process, and would-be submitters gain some insight into the process. Everyone wins!