Posts Categorized: Submissions

Three Stories Unlikely to Make it Beyond the Slush

This post is for fiction writers thinking about submitting their work to Indiana Review. We receive somewhere between 3,500 and 4,000 fiction submissions each year, and I spend a good deal of my time digging through those submissions to separate the bad stories from the good-and-potentially-great stories.  So I thought I’d offer some insight into how I decide which stories make it out of our slush pile and which are rejected quickly.

Some stories are easy to reject.  I’m always amazed by the number of stories we receive with typos, grammatical errors, incorrectly punctuated dialogue, and other glaring mistakes in the opening pages.  Those stories almost always get dumped right away.  Same goes for stories with blatantly racist, homophobic, or misogynistic language in the opening pages.  If, for instance, a female character is introduced on the first page and all we learn about her is the color of her hair and the size/shape of her breasts, I’m unlikely to read the second page.

I also reject certain stories from our slush pile not because they’re poorly written, but simply because I read the first three or four pages and say to myself, “I’ve read this story before.”  There are a few recurring subjects that come up in so many of our submissions that they verge on clichés, and it’s rare for stories that deal with these subjects to distinguish themselves from the crowd of stories in the slush pile.  That’s not to say that these subjects can’t make for fine stories; it’s just that I rarely come across unique takes on these subjects.

The three types of stories I most often reject because I feel like I’ve read them before: Read more…

Submissions are opening soon!

Summer is the saddest of seasons. Iced coffee is more expensive than hot coffee. Sweat is gross. There aren’t really beaches in Indiana. Locusts. And I don’t have anywhere to send my poems!

So we figured if we opened on August 1 instead of the industry-standard September 1, we’d have your submitting attention all to ourselves for a little bit. Which is perfect because we like attention.

Things to know: We’re going to open the submission manager at 12:01 am on Wednesday, August 1. That’s EST, so don’t be sad if you can’t get in before then.

As always, please be sure to familiarize yourself with our submission guidelines before submitting, and remember to include a cover letter. We like getting to know you. They should be addressed to either Joe Hiland (fiction), Michael Mlekoday (poetry), or Justin Wolfe (nonfiction). Feel free to tell a joke. If you’re funny.

And if you have any questions, please direct them to inreview (at) indiana (dot) edu.

Summer Break-ing Away

Still from the film Breaking Away

It’s summer in Bloomington! While not *all* IR editorial meetings take place at the quarries (see above), this season comes with a to-do list more rigorous than Dennis Quaid’s late-’70s ab workouts (again, see above). What does that mean for you?

Regular submissions will be CLOSED, starting May 31. Submissions will re-open August 1, 2012. Any electronic or hard-copy submissions received between May 31 and July 31 will be returned unread.

But wait!

Do you have your own “Little 500” — a story of 500 words or fewer — looking for a venue? Submit to our “1/2 K” Prize, judged by Michael Martone! Postmark deadline is June 1, 2012. Submission guidelines can be found here.

Stay tuned to the blog for updates on more goings-on at Indiana Review. Ciao!

Announcing Our 2012 Poetry Prize Winner & Runners-Up!

2012 Indiana Review Poetry Prize Winner

“The Sublime”

Joshua Gottlieb-Miller

Houston, TX

Runners-Up

“Mulberries”

Missy-Marie Montgomery

Springfield, MA

“Visiting Seattle”

Hannah Oberman-Breindel

Madison, WI

A big congratulations to Joshua Gottlieb-Miller, the winner of IR’s 2012 Poetry Prize, and our runners-up, Missy-Marie Montgomery and Hannah Oberman-Breindel!

“The Sublime” will appear in Indiana Review issue 34.2, due out this winter. Of the winning poem, Dean Young, our final judge, writes, “A beguiling and ambitious poem, ‘The Sublime’ combines a meditative calm with an imaginative sprawl to give a sharp and poignant sense of the instability and absurdity of this dear life.”

We couldn’t have said it better ourselves.

Many thanks to all who participated. Your support helped make this year’s Indiana Review Poetry Prize a success!