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.
Flash Fiction Inspired by a Submission Deadline
This story’s process deviated quite a bit from my typical approach. A submission deadline partially inspired “Rivet Here.” I stumbled across the 2017 Stella Kupferberg Memorial Short Story Prize, judged by one of my favorite writers, Lauren Groff. At $25, this was an expensive contest submission, but I relished the chance to have my work read by an established writer I respect. I realize that writing contests with prolific judges typically use readers to cull the slush pile—I imagine so busy judges aren’t overwhelmed with submissions. Nevertheless, I enjoyed the motivation. A chance to get published in Electric Literature and classes from Gotham Writer’s Workshop also didn’t hurt.
I’m a huge fan of Lauren Groff’s first story collection, Delicate Edible Birds, and her more recent fiction. I also had female characters in mind that drew inspiration from the personalities of her complex protagonists, particularly “The Wife of the Dictator” and “Blythe.” I’ve never written for a particular deadline before, but this idea felt ripe for my envisioned reader and I was hungry to craft more flash fiction. The submission guidelines asked for stories under 750 words. My shortest piece at the time was 1,000 words and couldn’t be cut by that much.
By the way, the 2018 Stella Kupferberg Memorial Short Story Prize, judged by Jess Walter, is open for submissions until March 1, 2018.
Spring 2017 Submissions & Rejections
I submitted my first revision of “Rivet Here” to the Stella Kupferberg Memorial Short Story Prize and Lumina’s Spring 2017 Flash Prose contest.
Lumina sent a quick, encouraging rejection, a brisk 12 days after I submitted:
Thank you for submitting to our 2017 Flash Prose Contest. We received hundreds of submissions, and we appreciated the chance to read your work. Unfortunately, our editors have decided not to publish your entry .
We hope you will continue to consider us when submitting pieces in the future, and best of luck with your writing.
Two months after submitting, an email informed me that “A Guide to Fooling Yourself” by Lauren Schenkman won the 2017 Stella Kupferberg prize. Congrats Lauren! The 2016 winner, “Head Over Knees” by Eric Schlich is also a good read.
Writing a Third Draft
With the original contest deadline and decision behind me, I decided to revisit “Rivet Here” with a calmer mindset. I inevitably found room for improvement and revised to a third draft. I felt that the heart of the story was clear from the earlier drafts and didn’t seek another round of critiques. I submitted this new draft throughout 2017.
Summer 2017 Submissions & Rejections
Glimmer Train enjoyed the third draft of “Rivet Here.” Their Very Short Fiction Contest response, after 57 days:
Although ‘Rivet Here’ did not place in the March/April 2017 Very Short Fiction contest, it was a good read. Thank you.
We look forward to seeing more of your work!
Susan & Linda
Glimmer Train Press
But they’d be the only one for a while.
Wigleaf, after 95 days:
We’re passing but thanks so much for giving us a chance here.
Blue Earth Review’s 2017 Flash Fiction Contest, after 17 days:
Dear Arthur Klepchukov,
Thank you for submitting your work to our annual flash fiction contest. Unfortunately, we have chosen another submission as the winner. We appreciated the chance to read your work, and encourage you to submit to future contests as well as our regular submissions.
Thanks again. Best of luck with your work!
Blue Earth Review
Indiana Review’s 2017 1/2 K Prize, after 29 days:
Dear Arthur Klepchukov:
We have carefully considered your submission, “”Rivet Here“, “Duskwing”, and “Dawnsong”,” for the 2017 1/2 K Prize and regret to inform you that you were not selected as a finalist. We received many exceptional submissions and the competition was fierce.
Please join us in congratulating Latifa Ayad, whose flash fiction piece “Arabic Lesson” was selected by Donika Kelly as the winner. “Arabic Lesson” will appear in Indiana Review Issue 40.1 next summer.
Thank you again for your support of and interest in Indiana Review. Your participation helped to make the 2017 1/2 K Prize possible and we are honored to have read your work.
I also submitted to The Los Angeles Review’s Flash Fiction Award.
Fall 2017 Submissions & Rejections
Crazyhorse, Crazyshorts! Short-Short Fiction Competition, after 92 days:
Dear Arthur Klepchukov,
Thank you for submitting “”Rivet Here“, “Duskwing”, and “Dawnsong”” to the Crazyshorts! Short-Short Fiction Competition. Unfortunately, our editors have decided not to publish your work. This was a competitive year, with many exceptional entries to choose from. After much discussion, our editors have made the following selections.
Wishing you the best of luck with your writing,
Black Warrior Review’s 2017 Flash Prose Contest, sent an announcement of winners email after 26 days. It did not include “Rivet Here.”
The Litquake writing contest announced the winners elsewhere, so I had to hunt down the rejection on their Facebook page.
I also submitted “Rivet Here” to CutBank’s Big Sky, Small Prose Flash Contest.
I had to withdraw my initial application to SmokeLong Quarterly’s 2018 Kathy Fish Fellowship, because one of my other entries, “fresh scar,” was accepted by Third Wednesday. I reapplied to SmokeLong with a replacement for that story, and again, “Rivet Here.”
Winter 2017 Submissions & Rejections
SmokeLong Quarterly’s 2018 Kathy Fish Fellowship, after 40 days:
Thank you for your interest in the Kathy Fish Fellowship. The pool of applicants was absolutely amazing this year, and while I’m sorry to say you were not the winner of the fellowship, your application did make it to our second round of 62 applicants. Out of more than 200 applications, this is truly a great compliment to your writing and talent.
We appreciate your interest in SmokeLong Quarterly, and we do hope that you will apply again next year or submit to our regular submission queue.
Thank you for being a writer and supporter of flash fiction.
I submitted to Necessary Fiction’s calls for Stories for Valentine’s Day 2018 and KYSO Flash’s open submissions period for Issue 9.
February 2018 Acceptance & Withdrawals
On February 3, I was thrilled to read the following:
Thank you for sending “Rivet Here” to Necessary Fiction. We’re interested in publishing your piece as one of our featured stories to coincide with Valentine’s Day. Can you confirm that it’s still available?
Lacey N. Dunham
I confirmed and promptly withdrew my submission from The Los Angeles Review’s Flash Fiction Award (still pending at 218 days) and CutBank’s Big Sky, Small Prose Flash Contest (still pending at 140 days).
A KYSO Flash rejection for “Rivet Here” came the same day as the acceptance from Necessary Fiction. Different editors, different strokes!
Thanks to Electric Literature, Lumina, Litquake, Glimmer Train, Wigleaf, Crazyhorse, Indiana Review, Blue Earth Review, Black Warrior Review, SmokeLong Quarterly, and KYSO Flash for reading a draft of “Rivet Here” and inspiring me to revise and keep submitting!
Flash Fiction Revision Process with Necessary Fiction
Lacey and Steve from Necessary Fiction made small, thoughtful suggestions and improvements to “Rivet Here.” I was excited to get feedback from editors and relieved that we were on the same page regarding the heart of the story. The clarifications they sought truly made my story a stronger read.
We progressed quickly through the copy edits to meet their deadline and confirmed the rights. “Rivet Here” appeared in Necessary Fiction on February 7, 2018, almost a year after the first draft and initial inspiration.
I’m proud to share the process and the final version. Read “Rivet Here.”
Submit and share your victories
Learn to submit with my free submission resources: