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Publishing Short Stories
Pretty-blue-jay-swagger just asked about how to go about getting short stories published. Here are some awesome resources for interested parties!
- How to Publish Short Stories (super basic overview)
- How and Where to Publish Your Short Stories
- How to Get a Short Story Published Like a Pro
- Publishing Tips: 6 Ways To Make Your Short Story Collection Stand Out
If you have any resources to add to this list or any questions about writing, reading, or publishing, please message us!
Thank you and enjoy!
There are things we’re all dependent on. Water. Sleep. Sustenance.
But you? You’re dependent on something more than that.
Has anyone told you that you have too much imagination? That the world in your head is bigger than the world outside it?
(Have you ever thought about all those worlds that we imagine? All of the alternate realities? All of the expectations we have that are proved wrong? Where do they go?)
Has anyone told you that you ask too many questions? That you should get your head out of the clouds?
You’re too dependent on ideas. On notions and whimsies and fairy-tales.
I keep remembering the time you took that to heart, the time you said you’d be more serious. And you were more serious. I hated that about you. Get back in your head, I wanted to scream, things are nicer there.
Water, sleep, sustenance and ideas.
What I never said
I never told you this, but frankly, how could I? It would have broken your heart. You didn’t show it—you were strong, and I’m proud of you for that—but I could tell you were torn up inside.
The dance was the worst part. I’m glad I didn’t wait until after, but everything was vaguely uncomfortable.Things weren’t the same, and we both knew it. Everyone did. We didn’t even stand next to each other in the picture.
But the worst part of the dance was the slow dance. I was dancing with my friend and she asked you if you wanted to dance with me, and you shook your head. It was a no, of course.
But the worst part of the slow dance was that it hurt. I suppose it was some residual desire that caught in my throat that night, some residual feeling that had lost its way and forgotten to leave. I don’t know what was going through your head in that moment, and I know I never will. Even you, my dear, probably didn’t know.
Do I know what was going through my head when you asked me to that dance?
No. And yes.
I think I still wanted you, then. But I remember that I was unhappy. Unhappy that you just asked, and that was that. You never were enough of a romantic.
I made you more in my head than you ever could have been in reality. I’m so sorry.
I still haven’t told you what I set out to say in the beginning. Perhaps it’s best if you don’t know. Perhaps it’s best if you do.
I decided on the bus. It was a cold, rainy, miserable night and it was a perfect night to make that sort of a decision. I was sitting next to you and I was angry. I was cold and you had a blanket; I wanted it and I didn’t all at once. I decided not to share your blanket, and I decided to be done. That was the night when you had said one too many things wrong.
It was easy and it was hard. I cried that Sunday.
My stomach was in knots that Monday.
You took it well.
But here is what I never said:
Would it hurt you too much to know? I’ve already broken you, I can tell. I’m so sorry.
I was so in love with you. Well, my idea of love at the time. It’s changed, you know. So have I. So have you.
Another night I sat by you on the bus was beautiful. I never really fell asleep. You thought I did. That was how I snuck my head onto your shoulder. I was so happy that night. The stars were brighter than ever before.
There are so many things you don’t know, didn’t know, never cared to know, my dear. Perhaps it would be best if that stayed the same.
Perhaps it wouldn’t.
Truth in Her Hands
Describe the hands of someone you feel positively—or negatively—toward.
When she extended her arms, I saw how my life stretched out like it.
My childhood reflected in every varicose veins.
Those same arms carried the heavy little me when I was still learning to walk — or save me when I was about to fall. Those same arms are used to protect or hug me. And those same arms are always ready to wait for me to return home.
But when I reached for her hand, I felt the roughness she had always covered from me. The callous in it revealed how she worked day and night to provide for us. Her thin fingers told me that she gets a hard time lifting the laundry on her own. The lines on her hands marked the days she cooked for us and did the ironing when night finally came.
You could see every burden and every love in those hands.
I held it close to me until I could tell how much she loves me.
A Free Form Poem to Yeah Write!
Then a blog you really love reblogs something of yours
But it’s something you’re really not all that proud of
In fact, it’s something that, along with other posts of its kind, has caused a fair amount of confusion and angst
And it’s something that you actually made better
But it was too late to stop the parade of trolls
So that’s embarrassing…
A Frank Letter | I Never Told You
I never told you this, but frankly, how could I?
I liked you from the moment I first laid my eyes on you. You were wearing a tight black blouse, dark skinny jeans, and white sneakers. Half an hour later, we found ourselves in a room with eight other people. The eldest, being our teacher, introduced herself and instructed others to follow suit. Your turn came; you smiled and tucked your hair behind your ear and spoke. I never told you this, but really, I was captivated.
Months passed, and as they did, our sitting arrangements changed so that now we were next to each other as we spent the day working on our studies. I passed notes to the other guy next to you through your office just so I could somehow catch your attention. I pretended to be so engaged in writing on our workbooks that I didn’t notice my forearm’s on the bounds of our offices’ dividers, just so I could feel your soft skin. I joined our classmates in teasing you with this other guy, so I could smile and talk to you.
Two years passed, and now we were no longer in the same class. We weren’t even in the same school. One random day I get a text from our former teacher. It was invitation to a concert which she wanted our gang to see. Concert day came, and there you were again, beautiful as ever. I’m captivated once again.
Three years passed, and now we’re in the same school again. I never told you I treasured every moment we were together. I remember going to the school canteen and finding you there. I smiled, and you smiled back. That was the beginning of a (short) series of us meeting and spending time together.
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“I thought Mike was meeting us?” I asked Nikki as she started to head inside the theatre. She stopped and looked back at me blankly for a moment.
“Mike?” she said.
“You’re… boyfriend? What other Mike would you think I meant?” As if snapping back from a daydream she bobbed her head, blinked, and then grinned.
“Oh yeah! Mike, of course. No he’s not coming. We broke up.” She turned to continue into the theatre, but I grabbed her arm and pulled her back.
“Woah! Wait a second,” I exclaimed, “You can’t just drop a bomb like that and take off. What happened? Just a few days ago you said the two of you were looking for apartments. I’ve never seen you so happy.”
Something I didn’t recognize flashed in her eyes and she jerked her arm rather roughly from my grasp, tugging and twisting her sweater off her shoulder in the process. Something felt wrong; I couldn’t place it. Something was not right. The feeling only intensified as she plastered a discomfiting smile on her face.
“Well I started to feel like things were moving too quickly,” she said, but as she went on with her explanation I couldn’t hear her. There was something very off, something I couldn’t put my finger on. I searched over every inch of her as she continued to talk. My eyes travelled over her clothes, her hair, her face, even scrutinizing the way she was standing. This was Nikki, in every way, but I couldn’t shake the odd feeling I was missing something.
“Anyway, it’s no big deal Dee, let’s just go enjoy the movie, k?” she finished and I snapped back to reality. Maybe I was just tired and being paranoid? Sure Mike and Nikki had seemed blissful only a few days ago, but I’d never been in a relationship as long as they had; perhaps this kind of volatility was normal when you’d been together as long as they had. Finally I nodded and she grinned even wider, if that were possible, and turned once again to walk inside. She began speaking again, but, as before, I could not hear her. With her back to me now that unsettling feeling in the pit of my stomach grew stronger. I reassessed her form from behind and that’s when I realized it.
“Nik, what happened to your tattoo?” I asked. She stopped and turned with a disturbing slowness back towards me. That look was in her eyes again, but this time it did not flash and disappear. It made a shiver scuttle up my spine. Her features were still mimicking an expression of friendliness and calm, but her eyes threw off the whole picture.
“I don’t know what you mean Dee?” she said softly. Who was this person? This couldn’t be my Nikki, my best friend? The girl who had practiced cutting my hair just before picture day when we were six; the girl who introduced me to my first crush, Mr. Rochester, in junior high; the girl who shared every hope, every secret, every joy, and every loss with me. The girl who dragged me to a crummy, creepy little tattoo parlour when she was 16 and had just won emancipation from her abusive, neglectful mother and chose to celebrate this by having a delicate sparrow fleeing its cage inked forever onto her shoulder blade.
When I did not reply she turned and exposed the other shoulder, her left.
“It’s right here silly,” she said in a sickly sweet voice, the menace in her eyes unabating. I felt my stomach drop, as though it were pulled down by the weight of a huge invisible stone. This was wrong, so wrong that it felt unreal.
When Nikki was fourteen her mother had come home one night smelling so strongly of alcohol that the living room air was thick with the sick stench of it for several hours. Almost immediately she started in on Nikki, beating her furiously until finally my friend was sprawled on the floor, nearly unconscious. Her mother then lit a cigarette and, after a few puffs, extinguished it in Nikki’s shoulder with such a flippancy that Nikki would often say she felt as though her mother barely valued her as much more than a dime store ashtray. When she finally got away from that disgusting woman two years later Nikki had the tattoo that symbolized her freedom placed over the scar that cigarette had left behind. It had remained in the cage, while she, the sparrow, flew on to a better life. It had been Nikki’s right shoulder.
I didn’t understand. Confusion and fear washed over me and before I realized it I said,
“It’s supposed to be on your right shoulder Nik, that doesn’t make any sense,” then I met her eyes once more and saw nothing familiar.
“Who are you?” It slipped out. I couldn’t stop it. Everything was so confusing and so wrong, then her smile faded and an ugly grimace twisted her features.
“I wish you hadn’t said that,” she said, the look in her eyes wild, more frightening than ever. Just as I had the instinctual thought to run I blinked and missed the hand that shot out. I felt it though, for an instant before the blackness overtook me. I felt it connect with my temple and heard a sharp, pop!
E. Scott - P.I.
Elizabeth was reviewing her notes. Nothing was adding up.
She went into the kitchen. It was pleasantly warm, with the scent of sugar, lemon, and blackberries. Elizabeth pulled open the oven, retrieving a pan of scones. A dozen, triangular shaped mini scones, glistening with sugar on top. The blackberries dark, glistening from within their warm, edible homes. She turned them into a cloth lined basket. She took two out, placing them on a china plate with a lilac motif.
Going to the pantry, she retrieved the sugar bowl, a match to the lilac plate. She set it next to the plate on a silver plated serving tray. The tray had tiny little cats etched into it. Some had yarn, others were sitting, looking thoughtful.
WHEEEEEEEEE!! The kettle started whining. She turned off the gas burner, placing the kettle on a cold burner. She opened her tea canister, scooping out two tablespoons of a dark, pungent smelling tea. Notes of cloves and peat made for an interesting combination. One may question the drinker of said tea, but Elizabeth wasn’t your average girl, especially when it came to her tea.
She poured the hot water into the white and lilac teapot sitting on the silver tray. Putting the lid on, she placed her Judy Garland commemorative tea cozy over the teapot. Lemon slices, watercress sandwiches and milk in a camel shaped creamer completed the tea platter. She took the tray into the living room. Pouring herself a cup of tea, she absentmindedly nibbled on a scone, mulling over her present case. She placed a sugar cube, a little milk and some lemon in her tea, slowly stirring it with a tiny silver spoon. She sipped it in between bites of scone and watercress.
Her mind was wandering back to her case, to her notes. Nothing was adding up, every lead ended up in dead ends, every witness took “ill”, had to attend to some “dead relative” or something else. If someone had told her they couldn’t talk because Elvis told them not to, she wouldn’t be surprised. It was quickly becoming that type of case.
She got up, making her way across the room. She opened a scuffed up cabinet, pulling out a bottle containing a dark amber liquid. Opening the bottle, she poured a healthy amount into her tea. This tea time was in need of a “bump”.
“Time to fucking shine.” The words escape furiously as he watches his own forehead tense in the mirror. “Time to fucking shine.” More fury; no less worry. It’s unfortunate to have the biggest forehead in the world, he thinks; it’s like a billboard, one of those ones that change every six seconds, as if anyone would watch a billboard for an entire six seconds. Someone said that the eyes are the windows to the soul, but that someone clearly did not have five inches of ad space for rent.
He winces slightly as he looks again at himself, steadying his sweating palms on each side of the sink. “She’s out there, you idiot. She’s waiting for you,” he sneers. Does anyone ever really feel better, or any more confident, after lecturing a reflective surface? Nothing seems less likely, other than the idea that this girl, this shining example of perfection, would want to put her hands on his hands. She could want to put her lips on his lips. That will never happen; it could never happen. And yet,
“TIME TO FUCKING SHINE.”
He whispers this time and straightens his collar. He will not think about his forehead or his sweating palms. He will be confident. He will stride out of this bathroom and across the hall, and he will place his arm around her as he sits. He will press play, and they will sit in silence until she looks at him, and he looks at her, and he will feel her shoulders tense and notice suddenly that he can feel her bra strap through her shirt. He will slide his hand down her arm and feel her skin beneath the tips of his fingers. He will kiss her, and he will press his other hand in the small of her back, and he will fucking shine.
We All Need a Laugh
I took a stroll last night, to clear my head
next to a lake by the woods by my home.
I approached the water, drawn by serenity,
and disrupted it with a kick out of anger.
I screamed, expecting to fall on deaf ears.
The water rippled out violently, carrying
far and wide the scars borne of contempt.
I stood and cried, giving in to my emotions.
As I uncovered my flowing eyes, I noticed
the water appeared once again untouched,
serene, reflecting the contempt in my eyes.
What a perfect sense of humor this lake has.
For the first time since childhood, she thinks, she is happy in a comfortable way. Teachers, parents, and Dr. Phil have famously said that change is a good thing, haven’t they, that one should try new things. What they don’t understand, she thinks, is that it’s not a bad thing for something to be comfortable and easy. One might take this sweatshirt as an example; she caresses the embroidered D over her heart. Since January, she has worn nothing else; she has been completely devoted, a model of perfection, she tells herself proudly. She counts the days, again, on her fingers. Yesterday, it had been 422 days since she had first made eye contact, so today, it should be 423. 186 days later (she had begun counting on a Tuesday), finally, he remarked on her copy of The Old Man and the Sea (she hadn’t much liked it, but he did), and asked her what she thought. She closes her eyes, remembers his wonderful brow and its wonderful crinkle as she feverishly described her favorite passages to him, proving her merit, that she was worth his time. Her fingers wiggle as she counts further down, 45 more days, until, with her entire stomach trying to escape out her mouth, she had slipped her carefully painted fingers between his. Her love (the ends of her mouth turn up at this thought) has been slow-brewed, left to simmer and become something truly delicious. Agonizing first steps became agonizing first kisses (182 days ago) became agonizing first everything (167 days ago), last everything (always), Alpha and Omega (forever). She knows him. She knows what he likes. She knows what will make him laugh and what will make him dance and, now, what will make him leave her behind, and she can stop it from happening, ever. She tried (her nails bite her palm at this thought), once (415 days after she had first made eye contact), to change him. She knows him now, and she counts the days again, tapping them out on the embroidered D. Change is not necessary, Dr. Phil. She is comfortable, and things are easy, and she wants to keep counting the days forever. She wants to count them, and she wants to wear this sweatshirt, and change, well. Who needs change?
she sits in the middle of the road
awaiting for the next horn of ongoing traffic
oncoming revelations come in abundance
neither bringing peace or clarity, their
flutter is resonant in their flight
she is manufactured from sheer pride
crafted out of pure resilience
her heart is stone-like but hollow as bark
a tempered tongue holds words of profanity
curses spoken from the inner antagonist
she awaits the next horn of ongoing traffic
afraid her endurance has finally lapsed.
Prompt: Write about any sort of relationship that can be described by the following quote: “If love is judged by it’s visible effects, it often looks more like hatred.”
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I have to say that I was initially a bit scared to post this, but I will now. Some people may read this and think I’m crazy, but I don’t care.
Ponder for a moment what it would be like to fight with your brain every single day of your life. You can’t do anything without nearly every thought you have causing some irrational fear, that you have to then “fix” by compulsively doing things that are time-consuming, and extremely frustrating, not to mention senseless. You cannot do things you want to do, or if you can, not how you want to do them, because your brain is telling you that there will be some type of unwanted consequence(s) for doing that.
Suppose that your thoughts are constantly analyzed. Over-analyzed. If a thought that triggers the OCD comes up while you are doing something, you must re-do the action thinking of something else. This can often take a while, since thought-suppression makes the thought harder to get rid of. Tell yourself not to think of red balloons. You’ll probably think of red balloons.
While doing all of that, try to go about your daily life.
This is my daily life. From the moment I wake up, until I fall asleep, I live like this. My life is basically consumed by OCD. My mind is not what it used to be; I used to be able to think freely and do as I wished, but not now. Now, almost my every action is considered, my thoughts interrupted or attempted to be pushed away.
OCD is based on anxiety and fear. That is why most people with OCD can’t just stop doing the compulsive behaviors cold turkey. The fear sets in immediately, and the only thing that relaxes you again is the compulsive behaviors. I think of this like drug addiction. Most drug addicts continue to use because the cravings are unbearable, and the only thing that fixes it is their drug of choice. That is basically how it works with OCD. The only thing that fixes the result is the cause.
I know that I can get out of this OCD, and I am going to do it. I hope to one day look back at this writing and remember how it was to have OCD, at least pronounced OCD, and feel relieved that I can say I no longer feel trapped by my own brain. I want to say that I am the free spirit that I want to be. I want to exist as myself, not myself with OCD.
If you're looking for a meaning, you won't find one.
Yeah Writers prompt:
Write a sentence at least 50 words long, but try to make it not sound like a run on! This is really hard, but doable.
We started off in the stars and somehow we ended up littering the earth with our less and less fantastic selves, being swallowed by an ocean of flecks of stars that will burn, burn, and burn while the sun shakes its head and the moon inches away from this place of beauty that sets fire to all it is and all it has ever been.