Short Story Submission Guidelines
Short submissions should require little edits. We expect submissions to be short, no longer than a 5 minute read. Our story coaches will work with the artist, that’s you!, to help create a story meant for the Warp & Woof blog. When you submit your story to our online form, our story coaches will review your story and be in contact with you about the story being approved. We want you to tell the best version of your short story possible – you’ll have a crowd reading it, after all!
First, we'll contact you once we've received your story and see if it’s a fit to the theme
If your story fits the theme, minor edits (by you!) will be made
Once your story is approved by our story coaches, it will be published on our blog
A true story from your own life
Related to the theme you choose
5 minute read
Make sure it’s really a story:
Not an essay (musing and exploring ideas)
Not an editorial (arguing a point or perspective)
Not a lecture
Not a rant or extended complaint
Not a thought or theme with no structure
Not a stand-up routine
Not a sermon or testimony
What Makes for a Good Story?
Something is at stake. What might be gained or lost? Is it keeping a job? Keeping or ending a relationship? Maintaining integrity or self-respect? Avoiding embarrassment?
There is a beginning, middle, and end
Along the way, something changes for the teller: problem solved, perspective shifts, lesson learned, etc.
The story authentically reflects the teller and the moment it recalls. It may be funny, earnest, wry – or mix all those moods.
Some great stories violate the “rules” of storytelling. Hold them loosely.
Start immersed in the story
Don’t start with background/backstory: catch us up on the essentials after we’re hooked
Keep us asking: What happens next?
Not: “I’ve always been a pretty responsible person, you know, paid bills on time and stuff like that. The only time there’s been any issue was when I was in my 20s, and my landlord required us to hand-deliver checks to the office – which was fine, most of the time. But my job also required me to travel, so…
Better: “I found out I was being evicted when my landlord texted me a picture of my stuff on the curb.”
The teller focuses on a single story, rather than trying to cram too much into too little time
Don’t give every single detail. Well-told stories leave out lots of things that really happened in order to focus on the brightest, most telling, and most interesting moments.
Few stories “naturally” end well. Find a line, an image, a moment, a thought – something – that reflects back on the story with just the right perspective or tone.
Consider “circling back” to reference the beginning (with new perspective)
Use language that mocks, imitates, or otherwise demeans people of other races, religions, sexual orientations, genders, etc. For example, fake accents are usually demeaning, and they often lose the audience.
Don’t make another person’s identity the punchline; this is your story.
Celebrate unwanted sexual advances.
Give too much information. It’s a fine line, we know. We want some of the dirt. But detailed information about your sex life – well, let’s avoid that. Your most embarrassing moment? Probably fine. The thing that gives you a profound sense of regret and shame? Maybe not that.
Again, story submissions are expected to be near final submissions, with only a few edits needed to be made. We have a dedicated team of story coaches that will work with the artist to create a final story that will be published onto our blog.