Arsenal of Words

The Writing of Arthur Klepchukov

Category: Publishing

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

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, Spring 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.

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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.

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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.

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“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.

Spring 2018 Rejections: One Story, Kenyon Review, Tin House, The Missouri Review, and Other Literary Journals

 

The Rejection Quarterly - sad boy

Welcome to The Rejection Quarterly, Spring 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 March 2018 – May 2018.

Read the rest of this entry »

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.

“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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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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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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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?