Arsenal of Words

The Writing of Arthur Klepchukov

How a Regional Writing Conference Led to Publication in The Best American Mystery Stories 2019

The Best American Mystery Stories 2019 cover

About a year ago, I attended the 2018 Maryland Writers’ Association Annual Conference, this led to my first short story publication in a genre I don’t typically write, and a reprint in the prestigious The Best American Mystery Stories 2019 anthology edited by Otto Penzler and Jonathan Lethem. The anthology is available nationwide today, on October 1, 2019.

Writing conferences and events can pay off in unexpected ways. So next time you’re on the fence about breaking out of your shell and attending another open mic, book festival, or conference, keep my story in mind.

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Summer 2019 Rejections: The New Yorker, Fantasy & Science Fiction, American Short Fiction, SmokeLong Quarterly, and More Literary Journals

The Rejection Quarterly - sad boy

Welcome to The Rejection Quarterly, Summer 2019 edition.

Sharing rejections shares the effort behind submissions and makes celebrating acceptances even sweeter. What kind of literary journal rejections are you seeing? On the road to publication, why not “publish” the rejections themselves?

Here are the various rejections I collected from June 2019 – August 2019. The list is shorter than my usual, which says more about how active I was in Winter and Spring. Summer does tend to be a time of fewer responses as many university-affiliated journals take a break.

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Fall 2019 Writing Contest Roundup

See my latest roundup of fiction contests for Writer Unboxed:

This contest submissions season covers deadlines from September 1, 2019 through November 30, 2019. Thanks to LiteristicPoets & WritersSubmittable Discover, and New Pages for many of these contests.

I found 16 opportunities for emerging and established fiction writers. Each comes with its own handy list of reasons to submit. See my roundup of Fall 2019 writing contests.

Awarded 2nd Place for Glimmer Train Family Matters Contest

The lovely Glimmer Train watercolor illustration from their web site

I’m humbled to share that I’ve been accepted by Glimmer Train, one of my dream markets. This was the first literary journal I read. They inspired me to start submitting and have read most of my fiction. And though 2019 will be their last year in print, I’m incredibly honored that I won 2nd place in their Family Matters Contest. My longest story, “The Unfinished Death of My Grandfather,” will be published in the final issue of Glimmer Train in Fall 2019.

As a lovely, supportive aside, Glimmer Train was kind enough to include my submission resources in their Resources for Writers. It’s great to be listed along with heavyweights like Poets & Writers and New Pages as well as wonderful authors like Abby Geni.

A heartfelt thank you to Susan & Linda, the two sisters behind Glimmer Train, for their support and inspiration throughout the years.

Learn to Submit with My Free Resources

cover letter ink and pen

After my successful workshop at the 2019 Gaithersburg Book Festival, “How to Submit Your Writing for Publication,” I’m making several resources available for free on my blog:

  • Finding Quality Submission Opportunities — using my favorite approaches & tools
  • Cover Letter Template for literary journals — helpful placeholders, example writing bio, advice for what not to do
  • Submissions Tracker Template — capture submissions, pick what to submit next, track publications, payments and rights
  • Continue Learning About Submissions — links to blog posts, books, and courses

Everything is free, though Gumroad will show an option to chip in for either template. You can grab everything today from my new Learn to Submit page.

Online Submissions Class

I plan to expand my workshop into an online class. If these resources are helpful, subscribe to my blog to be notified when enrollment opens:

Spring 2019 Rejections: The Gettysburg Review, Kenyon Review, Glimmer Train, American Short Fiction, and More Literary Journals

The Rejection Quarterly - sad boy

Welcome to The Rejection Quarterly, Spring 2019 edition.

Sharing rejections shares the effort behind submissions and makes celebrating acceptances even sweeter. What kind of literary journal rejections are you seeing? On the road to publication, why not “publish” the rejections themselves?

Here are the various rejections I collected from March 2019 – May 2019.

Read the rest of this entry »

Summer 2019 Writing Contest Roundup

See my latest roundup of fiction contests for Writer Unboxed:

This contest submissions season covers deadlines from June 1, 2019 through September 1, 2019. Summer is a slower time for any literary journal or contest associated with a university, but there are still opportunities between beach waves and new drafts. Thanks to LiteristicPoets & WritersSubmittable Discover, and New Pages for many of these contests.

I found 16 opportunities for emerging and established fiction writers. Each comes with its own handy list of reasons to submit. See my roundup of Summer 2019 writing contests.

Attend My Free Submissions Workshop at the 2019 Gaithersburg Book Festival

10th Gaithersburg Book Festival logo

I’m teaching a free workshop on “How to Submit Your Writing for Publication” at the 2019 Gaithersburg Book Festival on Saturday, May 18, 2019 at 5pm in Gaithersburg, MD. This is a lovely daytime book festival in the Washington, DC area that I’ve attended for a few years.

I’m thrilled to share my experience and help others submit more:

How do you know when your writing is ready for publication or where to submit? Perhaps you’ve written a few stories, poems, or essays and want to know where to send them. How do you choose from among the deluge of submission opportunities? How do you make sense of submission guidelines? Learn what tools and resources exist to help you on your journey to publication in this informative workshop for writers who want to begin their paths to publication.

Please come by in person or leave a comment if you’re interested in an online class about submitting.

Happy submitting!

 

First Six-word Story Publication

My first six-word story publication :)

Winter 2019 Rejections: One Story, McSweeney’s, Electric Literature, and More Literary Journals

The Rejection Quarterly - sad boy

Welcome to The Rejection Quarterly, Winter 2019 edition.

Sharing rejections shares the effort behind submissions and makes celebrating acceptances even sweeter. What kind of literary journal rejections are you seeing? On the road to publication, why not “publish” the rejections themselves?

Here are the various rejections I collected from December 2018 – February 2019.

Read the rest of this entry »

Spring 2019 Writing Contest Roundup

See my latest roundup of fiction contests for Writer Unboxed:

This submissions season covers deadlines from March 1, 2019 through May 31, 2019. How was the start of your writing year? Deep into drafts and submissions or still working up to your first? Here’s another invigorating round of opportunities. Thanks to LiteristicPoets & WritersSubmittable Discover, and New Pages for many of these contests.

I found 20 opportunities for emerging and established fiction writers. Each comes with its own handy list of reasons to submit. See my roundup of Spring 2019 writing contests.

Fall 2018 Rejections: Tin House, Ecotone, Crazyhorse, F&SF, Strange Horizons, and More Literary Journals

The Rejection Quarterly - sad boy

Welcome to The Rejection Quarterly, Fall 2018 edition.

Sharing rejections shares the effort behind submissions and makes celebrating acceptances even sweeter. What kind of literary journal rejections are you seeing? On the road to publication, why not “publish” the rejections themselves?

Here are the various rejections I collected from September 2018 – November 2018.

Read the rest of this entry »

Winter 2018 Writing Contest Roundup

See my latest contest roundup for Writer Unboxed:

This submissions season covers deadlines from December 1, 2018 through February 28, 2019. Don’t let your words wither on your hard drive! Finish the year strong by sending out your best work and start the new year with an invigorating round of submissions. Thanks to LiteristicPoets & WritersSubmittable Discover, and New Pages for many of these contests.

I found 20+ opportunities for emerging and established fiction writers. Each comes with its own handy list of reasons to submit. See my roundup of Winter 2018 writing contests.

How Loathing Travel, Public Transit, a Tuscan Residency, 24 Rejections, and a Writing Conference Led to My First Published Short Story

belinda-fewings-977695-unsplash.jpg
Photo by Belinda Fewings on Unsplash

What happens when a luggage thief picks the wrong target on the early-morning airport train? Dive into the mind of a snarky antagonist in “A Damn Fine Town,” my first short story publication, available now in Down & Out: The Magazine, Vol. 1, Issue 4.

What amount of effort went into getting “A Damn Fine Town” published?

  • 1,600 words
  • 5 drafts
  • 26 submissions
  • 24 rejections, 4 encouraging rejections
  • 1 withdrawal

These are grueling numbers compared to how lucky I’ve been in earning relatively quick flash fiction publications.

I share blog posts like these because every story has a different journey. So if you’re in the doldrums between drafts or facing another rejection, may this encourage you. This process has taught me that publication is always more than one step away. Read on about this story’s journey and you may find what will get you over the next hump.

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Summer 2018 Rejections: One Story, VQR, Glimmer Train, The Georgia Review, The Missouri Review, AGNI, Narrative, ZYZZYVA, and More Literary Journals

The Rejection Quarterly - sad boy

Welcome to The Rejection Quarterly, Summer 2018 edition.

Sharing rejections shares the effort behind submissions and makes celebrating acceptances even sweeter. What kind of literary journal rejections are you seeing? On the road to publication, why not “publish” the rejections themselves?

Here are the various rejections I collected from June 2018 – August 2018.

Read the rest of this entry »

Fall 2018 Writing Contest Roundup

See my latest contest roundup for Writer Unboxed:

This submissions season covers deadlines from September 1, 2018 through November 30, 2018. Fall is a great time to be submitting. As another academic year begins, many university-affiliated literary journals reopen their reading periods. Thanks to Literistic, Poets & Writers, and Submittable Discover for many of these contests.

I found 20+ opportunities for emerging and established fiction writers. Each comes with its own handy list of reasons to submit. See my roundup of Fall 2018 writing contests.

How a College Freewriting Prompt and Being Woken by a Downtown Songbird Led to My Shortest Publications

Small bird perched on wire in the city
Small bird perched on wire in the city

A brief conversation with a lone songbird in San Francisco. A vulnerable state before free fall. I explore these ideas in my latest flash fiction publications “Dawnsong” and “lying is the girl” out now in KYSO Flash, Issue 10 (Fall 2018).

What amount of effort went into getting these two stories published?

My statistics for “Dawnsong”:

  • 100 words
  • 1 draft (I know, I know, I’m surprised too)
  • 10 submissions
  • 6 rejections, 1 encouraging rejection
  • 3 withdrawals

My statistics for “lying is the girl”:

  • 100 words
  • 3 drafts
  • 6 submissions
  • 4 rejections, 2 encouraging rejections
  • 1 withdrawal

These are lucky numbers, especially given just one draft of “Dawnsong” and the small number of submissions of “lying is the girl.” Read on about my process.

Read the rest of this entry »

How Writing and Submitting Short Stories Improved My Novel

Why should a novel writer devote precious writing time to short stories? After five novel drafts, two years of submitting shorter fiction, and seven publications, here are my reasons.

  • Do Something With All Those Ideas
  • Understand the Impact of Every Edit
  • Feel A Sense of Completion More Often
  • Practice Finding Comps
  • Strengthen Your Query Letters
  • Give More Than One Story A Chance

Read my guest post over at The Spun Yarn for how and why I juggle multiple projects, even when one is something as ambitious as a novel draft.

Read: how writing stories helps my novel.

“Reading Willow” Published in The Common

Reading-Willow

What expectations transcend distance and life changes? I explore that in under 400 words in my latest flash fiction publication, “Reading Willow” in The Common.

What amount of effort went into getting “Reading Willow” published?

  • 2 drafts
  • 5 submissions
  • 2 rejections
  • 2 withdrawals

These are lucky numbers, especially given that this story didn’t earn any encouraging rejections. Read on about my process.

Read the rest of this entry »

“Why I Write” Published in Fiction Southeast

“Why I Write” is a brief reflection that earned me the Kevin Smokler Scholarship to the 2016 San Francisco Writers Conference. Today it takes on a second life over at Fiction Southeast, as part of their Why I Write series.

Why do you write? Read my answer in just 250 words over at Fiction Southeast.

Chris Tusa, the Editor, was quick and easy to work with! Though this piece was accepted almost eight months ago, I appreciated the follow-up email announcing it’s publication—on a holiday no less!

Fiction Southeast is also open to submissions in numerous categories.