Thursday, June 9, 2022

WANTED: Your trunk story stories


ATTENTION WRITERS: this is an open call for trunk story stories. If you have an interesting story about how you turned a story you thought you’d never be able to sell into one that was published, we’re interested. 

Note that this is not a call for trunk stories, per se. Whenever we have an open reading period we see those by the hundreds, and in most cases it’s obvious by the second page why the author has never been able to sell that story and never will. We don’t need to see any more of those.

But if you have a story that you were able to sell, once you figured out what was wrong with it and how to fix it, and you are willing to share your learning experience, then this fits in well with the educational part of our mission and we’d love to hear the story of your story, and perhaps even to reprint the story. 

For an example of the sort of thing we’re looking for, check out the stories previously published under the Tales from the Trunk tag. Better yet, read Mark Niemann-Ross’s piece, “On Writing ‘The Music Teacher’ ”, way back in SHOWCASE #4.  That is the sort of thing we’re looking for.

If this idea catches your interest, queries only to, subject line “Tales from the Trunk.”


CLARIFICATION: I am not looking for stories that have proven themselves to be unpublishable. I have no interest in publishing such stories and then asking our readers to put their time and energy into reading said stories and then telling the authors what they did wrong. There are critique groups for that. I am looking for authors who are willing to share their learning experiences, and explain how they figured out how to turn something they couldn’t get published into something they could.

I think this is an interesting topic but could be mistaken. In any event, right now my time is at a premium, and to be honest, I’m running out of trunk story stories of my own to tell. By the late 1980s I’d figured out how to sell pretty much every short story I wrote, usually on the second or third submission, so I’m looking for other writers who are willing to share their stories of how they learned to write more-marketable stories.

Every aspiring writer knows how to fail. What I want to know is, how did you learn how to succeed?