Arsenal of Words

The Writing of Arthur Klepchukov

Category: Publishing

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?

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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Rejection from Glimmer Train

Rejection 5 on my journey to 50 submissions in 2017 came from Glimmer Train’s Family Matters Contest. 50 day response time. All four of my rejections from Glimmer Train are in the 50-60 day range so I appreciate their consistency and responsiveness!

Dear Arthur,

We really like reading November/December Family Matters contest submissions because of the many views they offer about the intimacy and challenges and importance of family. “WINC-FM” did not place this time, but it was a good story, and we’re glad to have read it—thank you!

Warm regards,

Susan & Linda
Glimmer Train Press

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Rejection from The Missouri Review

Rejection 1 on my journey to 50 submissions in 2017 came from The Missouri Review’s 2016 Fiction Contest. 100 day response time. 

The lack of personalization doesn’t feel great, but I see that more often with contests than open submissions. I appreciate them including all the winners and finalists in the email rather than making me click through or hunt them down on the web site.

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My Short Story Submissions Calendar

How do you know where to submit your enthusiastically crafted, thoughtfully critiqued, and carefully revised short stories? I’ve recently started down this journey toward publication and thought it would be helpful to share my submissions calendar, a curated list of contest deadlines and calls for submission. These are opportunities I believe are at least worth considering for your short story submissions (and in many cases poetry and creative nonfiction). Some are regional to the San Francisco Bay Area but most are not.

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Worldcon 2015 Highlights

Last week, I took a pair of trains from San Francisco, CA to Spokane, WA, for Worldcon / Sasquan, my first big writing con. Two local writing friends spearheaded the trip and I jumped on an opportunity to have another scenic journey and soak up what I could!

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faith n’ flickers

Listen to me read this poem in the embedded player below or on SoundCloud:

 

he lay there
gasping for the numb to end
his was an unfelt pain
all in his head — er, heart
that’s what these romantics swear by
their cardiovascular deity
but I took pity on him nonetheless

his red carnivore gravity
thrusting up and out
believing it could warm infinite sky
believing every spark must rhyme
and life is but a matter of
finding other halves
ignoring that some flickers fan a flame
that feeds on sympathy & naiveté — but
he bared himself regardless
hoping that girls like me
were wrong

and even laying here
shattered by another blonde
he fed the earth with lyrics of his blood
the starless sky with breathless faith
melted eyes begging to not be in vain

this — is how a nonbeliever negates herself
in the presence of expiring chance
with a lipstick bandaid
to heal his hunger for affection
bred by one acid kiss
from another inspired miss

Replenished Purr

another soul / napping on you guarantees / you will feel more loved

a melted art

Once upon a Cold, we painted with
our Breath, drawing grand designs with Frost.
We thought the Ice would last
all season, comfort of our white Chrysalis
wrapping Crystal dreams.
We antici-
pated  each  coming  day
like a Snowflake waits
for infinite friends to follow
it’s unique descent.
We didn’t fear starry hours
or burned out sky
because even that
was Bright.
And one morning whispers with a
drip. drip.
delicate palaces rush into consciousness.
new chrysalis cries
as every brick of what we built
becomes a warmer, wetter winter tear.
collapsing towers, liquid architectures dancing
deep in ear canals, all flowing castles of the fall.
Tall empires all return to sea level.
farewell, foundations.
goodbye, stuck moments.
take care, cold friends.
hello, invisible breath.
now fleeing into pavement rivers,
moving as if only motion was alive,
sunlit course corrections,
shifting midstream to not die.
but I weep for our grand designs,
no solace in the warm survival of their parts,
impermanence courts chaos
in what’s left
of a pair
of frozen hearts.

Edgemoor

Night is like a song that you can’t see
so you make up scenery to fill the gaps
between fluorescent highways. and forests possible.
Figments of figs twist with twigs into
nocturnal architectures of confusing beauty.
Headlights slice into your eyes and ruin
the surprise so you return to sound
of foggy rain and smoky tears,
trying to fit between the droplets
without feeling cold or found. and failing.
World exposed as just imagination but
your faith blooms, believing
makes the secrets breathe.
Traffic rolls across eyelids like
tracks of fading bright and wet tails
across the windshield. and when
you peek again you find only rubies
staring back like mute, unblinking fireflies
and you know you’re driving blind
no matter how wide your spies are open.

Listen to me read Edgemoor:

(If you don’t see anything above, listen to the track on SoundCloud.)

Blinks of Awe Beyond the iPad

So far only poetry lovers with iPads have been able to read blinks of awe, my new poetry book. People without an iPad can now get a better peek at the poetry in the book, which you can see, touch, and hear. I also want to learn where else people want to experience this kind of work. So please check out the samples below and voice your opinion!

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#haiku

On a re-reading of my previous post, I realized the end of the poem contained a haiku:

On the shore’s blue blend
men become boys again
toes plucked from the sand

That made me smile, share it on Twitter, and look for other #haiku tweets. Here are my favorites:

~

and add another of my own:

sound of summer night
singing into empty warm
dancing, with my sweat

Ripping Current

I return where I was born, not physically
Driving a machine that didn’t yet exist
through the sleepy streets nocturnal
every intersection bursting with memories
Past overgrown trees surrounding
an elementary school I can’t see
Thrusting into radio static songs
names scenes all unfamiliar
except the change drums as
predictable as heartbeats
On the sandy road between a home
and the soundtrack of the sea
where I lingered now, and then
Walking by a mother n’ son and waves ending
that’s called sea foam, she said
walking by a memory being formed
On the shore’s blue blend
men become boys again
toes plucked from the sand
and it’s years before the tide returns them


Inspired by the shores of Virginia Beach, VA

Expired Eyes

The scars you leave on me are just tattoos that
no one else can see, they’ve bled ad nauseam,
invisible ink pouring from the pores of lashes
and old sores, a tale of muted agony tailed by
the climax of a self-fulfilling prophecy. I knew.

The stars you leave me with are just dreams that
we abandoned, racing to prove they once existed
recalling how it once was like to be kissed by light
before bleeding across a generation of galaxies
to exile in your soft, cold cheeks as pale. I knew.

The jars you leave me in are just the parts you
want to be, containers of convenient, misfits for
what really happened, they leave nil to breathe:
for fusing crimson curiosities, building empires
of what if, or asking. Only me in pieces. I new.

I’d lose you.

 

Partially inspired by Sophie Ellis-Bextor’s
“The Walls Keep Saying Your Name”