Arsenal of Words

The Writing of Arthur Klepchukov

Summer 2018 Writing Contest Roundup

See my latest contest roundup for Writer Unboxed:

This submissions season covers fiction contests with deadlines between June 1, 2018 and August 31, 2018. Thanks to Literistic, Poets & Writers, and Submittable Discover for many of these contests.

I found 15 opportunities for emerging and established fiction writers. Each comes with its own handy list of reasons to submit. See my roundup of Summer 2018 writing contests.

Maryland Writing Events, Spring 2018

Baltimore harbor at night. Photo by Bob Burkhard on Unsplash.

The following are ways I’m staying engaged with my local literary community this Spring. Events range from casual and free to more professional and paid. But you never know where inspiration will strike. I’m happy to meet local creative folks at any of the following events:

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Winter 2018 Rejections: Ploughshares, Zoetrope, The Missouri Review, Glimmer Train, Narrative, and Other Literary Journals

 

The Rejection Quarterly - sad boy

Welcome to The Rejection Quarterly, Winter 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 Dec 2017-Feb 2018.

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“bleedin’ peach” Published in KYSO Flash

a red peach

Photo by Charles Deluvio 🇵🇭🇨🇦 on Unsplash

What can a newborn teach his father about shaving? To find out, read my latest flash fiction publication, “bleedin’ peach” in KYSO Flash.

What amount of effort went into getting “bleedin’ peach” published?

  • 3 drafts
  • 2 submissions
  • 1 encouraging rejection

These were exceptionally small, lucky numbers. I have stories that are approaching 30 submissions, so it’s lovely to experience quick publication magic in this case.

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Spring 2018 Writing Contest Roundup

See my latest contest roundup for Writer Unboxed:

This submissions season covers fiction contests with deadlines between March 1, 2018 and May 31, 2018. March is absolutely stacked with deadlines; so no excuses about not submitting! Thanks to Literistic, Poets & Writers, Submittable Discover, and New Pages for many of these contests.

I found 26 opportunities ranging from flash fiction all the way to novellas with some excellent regional (i.e. lower competition) writing contests. See my list of Spring 2018 writing contests.

Starting Shut Up & Write! D.C. Meetup

I’ve attended and hosted Shut Up & Write(!) meetups in the San Francisco Bay Area since 2013. Shut Up & Write(!) is a powerful concept. Whereas most casual writing events are focused on socializing, we get together and write. Our meetups are free and open to everyone. There’s no obligation to share or network; just do the work.

Shut Up & Write at Mo Joes

A few writing friends in Berkeley.

I’ve missed the writing community I left in San Francisco. But the Maryland suburbs by D.C. have their own creative charms. I’m reaching out to a local arts center, attending nearby writing meetups, and exploring what The Writer’s Center in Bethesda has to offer.

But there’s no Shut Up & Write(!) here. So I’m starting one.

I reached back out to my Bay Area friends, Cat and Rennie, the masterminds behind the concept. They were happy to help set up a new meetup group. As of this post, there are already 39 members. We have the first location happy to host us—the lovely Barking Mad Cafe in Gaithersburg (right next to a Little Free Library, no less). I’m eager to grow our writing community here.

barking-mad-pano

A glimpse of where I’ll be shutting up & writing for the first D.C. area meetup.

Are you in the D.C. area or know someone who is? I’ll be hosting the inaugural meetup near me in two days (Feb. 22) and then every foreseeable Thursday. Let’s make words together.

“Rivet Here” Published in Necessary Fiction

Rosie the Riveter - We Can Do It! poster

I’m proud to share my first online publication, the 500-word flash fiction “Rivet Here” in Necessary Fiction. This story is about a new kind of relationship that blossoms in a small town when all the men leave for World War II.

What amount of effort went into getting “Rivet Here” published?

  • 4 drafts
  • 15 submissions
  • 11 rejections, 3 encouraging
  • 3 withdrawals

Keep reading for the details and some reading recommendations.

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The Cost of Accomplishment

What do you focus on when you make New Year’s resolutions or broader goals? I tend to fixate on what I’ll gain. It’s less motivating to acknowledge what you’ll have to give up to make those gains, but it’s just as crucial. Consider all your goals. If they are to become accomplishments, they have to happen in some order. Order implies priority. Priority implies a few things first. What won’t make it over the finish line?

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How Writing Byproducts Became My First Nonfiction Publications

I didn’t expect to get another acceptance for publication so soon after my very first acceptance, but now I have two to be thankful for this Thanksgiving!

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Winter 2017 Writing Contest Roundup

Where will you submit your fiction this winter? I’ve curated another batch of worthwhile contests from December through February with fees, deadlines, and reasons to submit. All the late December and early January deadlines are a chance to get started on your New Year’s Resolutions early.

See my latest contest roundup for Writer Unboxed.

I look forward to continuing these roundups in 2018.

A Review of One Story’s Hit Submit Class: Sending Your Work to Residencies, Agents, & Literary Magazines

One Story-style cover for Hit Submit class taught by Lena Valencia

A few weeks ago, I took the Hit Submit class from the excellent literary magazine One Story. Hit Submit covered submitting writing to residencies, agents, and literary magazines. I wanted to share my experience for other potential students. I found my first online writing class worth it for the lively discussion board full of as many insights as the class materials. Read on to see what helped me improve my approach to submitting my writing.

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My anti-resumé.

Speaking of sharing rejections, check out this anti-resumé.

monica byrne

landscape2

Within an hour of our IndieGogo campaign meeting its goal, I got a call telling me I’d been awarded a North Carolina Arts Council Artist Fellowship. It’s a huge, huge honor. It’s also the fourth time I’ve applied for it, and to me, that’s part of why it’s an honor.

A couple years ago I was having dinner with a playwright, Bekah Brunstetter, and her director David Shmidt Chapman. We talked about how rejection is just part of the landscape for all beginning artists, no matter how talented or hardworking they might be or how successful they might appear. David said he’d love to publish his “anti-résumé” someday—a list of all the things he didn’t get.

Ever since, I’ve wanted to publish my own. So I’ve gone through the last six years’ worth of spreadsheets in both prose and playwriting, to literary journals, workshops, conferences, theaters, graduate schools, play…

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How I Won NaNoWriMo in My First (and Last?) Attempt

NaNo-calendar

Last November I wrote over 50,000 words of a new novel and won my first National Novel Writing Month (NaNoWriMo). Are you on the fence about participating this year? Do you have the same skeptical reaction I did every year? Let this post provide catharsis for your worries and guidance for making a decision on how to spend this November. Read on for my strategy for winning (e.g. writing 50,000 words by Nov. 30) and a reflection on what I would and wouldn’t repeat.

Read the full post on Writer Unboxed

128 Submissions, 93 Rejections, 1st Publication

Today, my submissions journey reaches the next step! I started submitting stories to contests and literary journals over two years ago, founded a critique group, curated a submissions calendar, and wrote contest roundups for Writer Unboxed. But this week and with this email, I achieved my next goal:

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How I Declared Myself a ‘Rejection Expert,’ and Other Stories of Creative Reframing

Given my 78 submissions and 57 rejections this year, I found this timely reminder about the power of reframing.

The Rejection Survival Guide

I had a conversation with a friend recently where she told me that my whole “self-doubt demon” personification thing doesn’t really speak to her. She said it feels shallow, almost cutesy, and not like real coping.

It made me realize that if that’s all I was doing–personifying the voice of doubt in my head and making light of it–it probably wouldn’t work that well for me, either. There’s something deeper that has to happen.

Getting Comfortable with Failure

In my first post on Rejection Survival Guide, I wrote the following (emphasis from now):

I know what it’s like to be in the trenches. I’ve been there. I’m still there. I may be there forever. So I’m getting comfortable, setting up shop, and mapping this place out for those of you who haven’t gotten to know this place like I have.

And in my post for The Artist Unleashed

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Fall 2017 Writing Contest Roundup for Writer Unboxed

Where will you submit your fiction from now through Thanksgiving? See my latest contest roundup for Writer Unboxed.

I love that my reasons to submit criteria is growing. These helps evaluate any particular opportunity beyond the surface level of who am I submitting to, do they accept simultaneous submissions, and how expensive is it?

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Summer 2017 Writing Contest Roundup for Writer Unboxed

My Spring roundup of fiction contests for Writer Unboxed was well-received and now I’m excited to be a regular contributor! Here’s the Summer 2017 edition of writing contests worth your time to see you through Labor Day.

I found the majority of these opportunities through Poets & Writers and Submittable’s Discover. In the past I’ve also enjoyed the Calls for Submissions over at New Pages and The Review Review, the monthly newsletter from Literistic, and Submishmash Weekly. Where do you look for contests worth applying to?

Fiction Contest Roundup for Writer Unboxed

I’m excited to share my recent guest post for Writer Unboxed:
Fiction Writing Contests Worth Your Time (April, May, June Edition)

It includes upcoming opportunities for flash, short stories, and novels for emerging and established writers. If you enjoy it, let me know and this could become a regular thing!

Recent Submissions and Rejections

Submissions

I was inspired by and proud of the following:

  1. I submitted “The Price of Chivalry,” which I read at Lit Camp’s Basement Series, to the Kenyon Review’s 2017 Short Fiction Contest. It’s not a simultaneous submission, but it felt right after the response the story got at the reading and an excellent critique and revision of the latest draft.
    How do you know when a piece is ready? Leave me a comment.
  2. The Iowa Review received the last draft of “Nevernight,” after the wonderful metafiction story “Outliving Kafka” by Ariel Dorfman in their Fall 2016 issue. May it find its way to the final judge, Amelia Gray.
  3. Speaking of prestigious judges, Lauren Groff is the final judge for Electric Literature’s 2017 Stella Kupferberg Memorial Short Story Prize. I sent off the latest draft of a new flash story called “Rivet Here” with the poignant stories from Lauren Groff’s earlier collection “Delicate Edible Birds.”
    Which writer-judges do you admire?
  4. Epiphany was incredibly kind to send me a sample of last year’s winners for their Spring Contest in Fiction because I didn’t have time to buy and receive a print issue before the contest deadline. They’ll be reading “WINC-FM,” in the vein of the raw and realistic style of last year’s “The Radiance Of Sharing” by Jack Austin.
    Have a story of literary journal kindness? Leave a comment!

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The Best of the 2017 San Francisco Writers Conference (#SFWC17)

intercontinental-mark-hopkins-san-francisco-california-home1

After my second year at the San Francisco Writers Conference, I have lots of ideas and insights for where to take both of my novels, how to revise my pitch, and which agents to query next. But in the mean time, here are my conference highlights condensed to a few tweets. Happy to elaborate and start a conversation in the comments!

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