1. DueNorth
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    DueNorth Active Member

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    Who reads narative magazine?

    Discussion in 'General Writing' started by DueNorth, Aug 18, 2015.

    I find Narrative Magazine to be a great resource (narrativemagazine.com). For those who might not be familiar with Narrative, it is a free online literary magazine with weekly new stories and poems and high standards for submissions (trust me, I've gotten a pleasant rejection email from them--no harm in trying). Also, the classifieds have some good workshop and class offerings. I have it sent to my email inbox each week and I enjoy getting it. Are there other Narrative fans here?
     
  2. AspiringNovelist
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    AspiringNovelist Contributing Member

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    I've received the same rejections. What do you think they are looking for? I submitted a piece that was (what I thought) a perfect match. If you have a moment, share what theme(s) you think Narrative caters to..

    I've never picked up on a theme -- only excellence...
     
  3. DueNorth
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    DueNorth Active Member

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    I agree that the themes seem to vary, and I don't think the one piece I sent them missed on "theme." Aside from perhaps just not being sufficiently polished I think that (now that I have read more of their issues--having brashly submitted a story as soon as I found them online) that my writing style was not "hip" enough for their liking. And btw, they have some wonderful photographs and brilliant cartoons as well. What a great free resource (like this writer's forum) for writers.
     
  4. rainy_summerday
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    rainy_summerday Active Member

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    I didn't know this site until I saw your post. Thank you for mentioning it, it's quite good a good magazine. I like it.
    I would not fret about the reasons why you were rejected. Magazines often are very picky. They have to, because it is a very competitive field. Since it is a free magazine, its money comes from donations and advertisement. They will be even stricter, because they have to be quite conscious of what their audience will read.
     
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  5. Burnistine
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    Burnistine Active Member

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    I read Narrative Magazine all the time. However, I caution you. If you're looking at many of these writers as a guide to perfect your own manuscript, you might want to adjust your expectations. The Narrative is filled with well-established, wonderful, published writers who hold Ph.D.s and MFAs. But I haven't found one of them who hasn't broken every rule you and I feel forced to adhere to. Every "to be" verb known to man is within their manuscripts. But here is a very important thing to remember: They all write a good story.

    These writers tell wonderful stories. I get the impression none of them is moved to adhere to rules you and I listen to, and pass along, each day. I've enjoyed stories like, Fallen Angel, by Robert McGuill; Shelter by Adrianne Harun; and especially, Heart Songs by Annie Proulx. If you get a chance, read Annie's short story. This woman can really tell a story. She also wrote the book, Brokeback Mountain. I've never read Brokeback Mountain. I have, however, read Heart Songs.

    My journey as a writer is daily teaching me that when it's all said and done, it's all about the story and our feel for balance and consistency, not the to be verbs.
     
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  6. Foxe
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    Foxe Active Member

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    Thanks for the recommendation! I signed up as well.
     
  7. AspiringNovelist
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    AspiringNovelist Contributing Member

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    You're spot on -- the pieces in the magazine are stellar. I thought I had a good chance with this piece (excerpt about WW II):

    I’m sure the music box’s clasp is tarnished and worn to the bare metal now, its hinges weakened from being opened and closed. I’m sure the twirling ballerina, in her arabesque pose, has suffered broken limbs and fractures across her alabaster face. Her pointe shoes are worn out, but she still twirls with pride when the music is played. I wonder if mother still shows it off or if she winds it up in the dark before she drifts off to sleep.

    Mother loved culture: music, books, art, and the antiquity of decency. When I left Dunkirk, she was anxious for the world to return to that customary and polite regard for all things beautiful. She has been waiting for a long time.

    Before long, anxiety wears itself out, has nothing more to do, nothing left to feed on, and leaves the shell of its host in the tepid consciousness of an empty life, so vacant, you’d think looters broke in and took everything. The mysteries have all been answered and the answers are never as expected, so you wind through the day like an old ballerina on an old music box, twirling when the music plays.
    But it was rejected -- not sure if it was grammar, theme or that the piece was too long.
     
  8. Burnistine
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    Burnistine Active Member

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    I immediately see repetitive words. Push yourself to go poetic or "purple prose" with this. I like this!!!
     
  9. AspiringNovelist
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    AspiringNovelist Contributing Member

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    "Purple prose?" Like Prince?
     
  10. Burnistine
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    Burnistine Active Member

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    Flowery writing. Look it up on the internet. That style of writing makes most critiquers nauseous. I think it fits well with your story. You decide.
     
  11. Shadowfax
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    Shadowfax Contributing Member Contributor

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    Hi A.N.,

    Grammar...Nothing wrong with your grammar (my comment on the music box is about ease of reading)

    Theme...I doubt that there's anything WRONG with your theme. But. Is it a different enough take on something that's probably been done a million times?

    Length...Did you check the submission guidelines?

    As @Burnistine has commented, it's rather Purple...As I comment on the first example that I "out", what does it mean? It's writing where the "beauty" of the words is more important than whether they say anything. As @Burnistine comments, it's your choice whether to keep it. As to whether it fits in with your story, this excerpt is way too short to say.

    I've raised another couple of issues that struck my. Whether they were the reason for the rejection, I don't know. Such a short excerpt does lend itself to a more detailed dissection that a longer piece might escape.

    The other point is that Narrative will be VERY picky. I don't know what their appetite for stories is, but if you just look at us wannabes on WF, we could probably fill every issue and still be fighting amongst ourselves!

     

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