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Submissions Open 2024 - Editors' Guidelines & Tips

Calling all writers!

Published onJan 04, 2024
Submissions Open 2024 - Editors' Guidelines & Tips

Photo by Lisa Fotios:

Calling all writers! SAR is open for 2024 submissions, and we are excited to see your very best work. Here are some basic guidelines:

 What can you send? Send up to five poems, three flash-fiction pieces (no more than 1,000 words each), three art pieces (jpg files) or one fiction/non-fiction piece (no more than 3,000 words).  Either copy and paste all pieces of one genre directly into the text box on PubPub or copy and paste individual pieces as separate submissions on PubPub. Make sure to include a short, third-person bio at the end with your contact e-mail.

 What are we looking for? To keep it simple, writing that truly connects with readers in real, tangible ways. Create art and stories and poems that stay with readers long after they have closed the browser!

 If you’re writing poetry, ask yourself: is my message clear? If the answer is no, a rejection will most likely be on its way. While “literary” poetry has its place, we want our readers to be able to actually enjoy poetry without getting a migraine trying to puzzle out the meaning. Other poetry tips: it doesn’t have to rhyme (in fact it probably shouldn’t unless you have an incredible piece that just could not be written otherwise). The first word in every line should not be capitalized (unless you are attempting a sonnet). Line breaks, stanza breaks and irregular spacing should mean something. Read your piece out loud. Where do you want the reader to pause? If there is no reason to indent a word or stagger the lines like a drunk, then don’t.  

 If you’re writing fiction, remember the arc of the story! Even the tiniest story has an arc. Flash back to English class: introduction, rising action, climax, falling action, resolution. Think mountain peak here! Setting, characters, and dialogue matter as well. Are they believable? Are the characters likeable? Unlikeable? (It’s OK to have both). Will the readers feel something when reading this story? Fiction is a tough genre; so, your story must be stellar! What separates it from a hundred other stories? As an editor, if the story doesn’t hold my attention through the first paragraph, I may go on to read it, but it will most likely end up in the reject bin.

 If you’re writing non-fiction, keep the same writing principles in mind: is my piece clear? Does it serve a purpose? Will the reader care about this piece? Connect to this piece? Why? If you send creative non-fiction (meaning it’s a story based on truth) stick to the same structure as you would a fiction piece.

 Last pieces of advice:

 Avoid gratuitous curse words designed for shock value. If fifty soldiers are on a battlefield and one of them says the “f” word, OK—I get it. Otherwise, it’s just annoying.

 Avoid harmful slurs, hatred toward other people, and gratuitous violence and/or sex. Our world is nasty enough as it is. I’m not saying we need “powder puff” pieces, but be considerate to your fellow humans.

 Write your best. Proofread your work. Read it aloud before submitting. Create your heart out!

Arvilla Fee is the poetry, fiction, and non-fiction editor for the San Antonio Review. She believes in the power of words and is a big fan of the thesaurus! When not writing, Arvilla is reading, when not reading, editing, and when not editing, writing more. She also takes care of a toddler, a teenager, a puppy named Max, teaches English for Clark State, and is the author of two poetry books: The Human Side (2022) and This is Life (2023). Both are available on Amazon or at Barnes & Noble.

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