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That might be something about your identity and where you fit in the world, or your family and where you come from. That should be a pretty good indication that I’m looking for narrative writing. I don’t care about news pegs like Father’s Day or Christmas or National Cupcake Day.To work for us, a story needs to have a beginning, a middle, and an end, with some compelling, active scenes throughout. I especially don’t care about them if you send me a story that’s pegged to one of these dates expecting a three-day turnaround.
If you’ve read all of this, hopefully you have a pretty good idea of whether your story would be a good fit or not.
If it belongs on my list of best Narratively memoir stories ever, submit your completed draft through Submittable here.
The rate for personal essays starts at $300, and can go up from there if it’s really epic, if it includes reporting, etc. Submissions: We require completed submissions for personal essays.
This is not because I enjoy making writers do extra work, but because so much of a personal essay is about tone and execution, and there’s no way to know ahead of time if it will work — especially if I’ve never worked with you before. There’s some flexibility there, but if it’s under 1,500 words or over 4,000, it probably won’t work for us.
Start with an experience that changed you — not something that slightly shifted your perception just enough to write a “huh, never thought of it that way” piece, but something that truly shattered and reconstructed your world.
Or start with a question at the heart of who you are, something that’s obsessed and confounded you for as long as you can remember. A few more important general notes: Remember that the publication I work for is called Narratively.
I’m always looking for new writers for Narratively’s Memoir section. And by “bigger” I don’t necessarily just mean longer (though sometimes that too), I mean more ambitious.
If you’re interested in submitting your work, it will make both of our lives much easier if you’re crystal clear ahead of time about what exactly I’m looking for. Intellectually ambitious, emotionally ambitious stories that come pouring out of your depths — not the pithy anecdotes you scrape off the top like a pudding skin.
It’s not your usual dead parent story, or your usual childhood trauma story.
It’s complex, and intimate, and leaves room for doubt and imperfection.