Arsenal of Words

The Writing of Arthur Klepchukov

Tag: flash fiction

How a Neglected Setting Led to my Quietest Flash Fiction Publication

Photo of three-story, pastel-colored buildings with empty balconies by Tapio Haaja on Unsplash
Photo by Tapio Haaja on Unsplash

Can flash fiction be a pensive cup of slowly sipped tea, among all the espresso shots of flash fiction? Pull up a chair on the balcony and let’s find out. My latest publication, “Imperfect Balconies,” appears in Nevermore Journal. The story is free to read online. Here is the opening:

Imperfect Balconies

When I lived in the hushed city, I spent countless lonely hours seeking company on my balcony. On move-in day, sunlight poured in through the glass wall panorama, golden and warm like a fresh cup my fingers could cuddle. This balcony glowed. A welcoming box that peeked out at hundreds of other balconies, possibilities, lives. 

Read story online in Nevermore Journal

My efforts to get “Imperfect Balconies” published:

  • ~1,000 words
  • 2 drafts
  • 26 submissions
  • 21 rejections, 7 encouraging rejections, 2 never responded
  • 4 withdrawals

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 prolonged journey and you may find what will get you over the next hump.

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“afterglow” and “Dialing Islands” Published in MacQueen’s Quinterly

afterglow photo by Leandra Niederhauser on Unsplash

Happy New Year! My latest flash fiction publications, “afterglow” and “Dialing Islands,” are published this morning in MacQueen’s Quinterly. Both are free to read online. Here are the openings of both stories:

afterglow

She wonders aloud what his orgasms are like. He lacks the clarity to inhabit what just happened, but he wants to try before the sweat dries. He shuts his eyes, and reopens them defiantly. No, darkness makes it easier to fill the void with anything but the present. And he wants to linger.

Read story online in MacQueen’s Quinterly, Issue 6

Dialing Islands

Clyde. I always call you first. Your home number was the second I memorized after my own. You sat atop all favorites on the speed dial of every phone I’ve owned. You’ll call back, even if I leave another empty voicemail. “Heeey, it’s Clyde. Leave a message at the…” Beep. I breathe. I can’t. Someone needs to listen.

Read story online in MacQueen’s Quinterly, Issue 6

How did these stories find a home?

My efforts for “afterglow”:

  • ~300 words
  • 1 draft
  • 8 submissions
  • 5 rejections, 1 encouraging rejection
  • 2 withdrawals

My efforts for “Dialing Islands”:

  • ~700 words
  • 2 drafts
  • 3 submissions
  • 1 rejection
  • 1 withdrawal

These are very lucky numbers; I have some stories at 30+ submissions and 5+ drafts. I chalk these publications to previously working with the talented and thoughtful editor, Clare MacQueen, and having a sense of what she might like. 

Read on about my process.

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First Six-word Story Publication

My first six-word story publication :)

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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“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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“bleedin’ peach” Published in KYSO Flash

a red peach

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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“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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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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