Many Buddhists celebrate the birthday of Gautama Buddha (AKA Siddhārtha Gautama), the founder of Buddhism, on this day*
Apr 8, 2019
*(others celebrate his birthday (2019) on May 12th (East Asia and Taiwan) or May 19th (South and Southeast Asia, Mongolia, and parts of Okinawa)
II. Featured on the Front Page
III. Publication Shout Out
I was going to put this out Friday, but, while I now have editors who read through each piece, I also like to make sure I still do, as well, and I’d gotten way behind, so, to be fair to our writers, I delayed this from Friday to Monday (today) instead.
If you haven’t seen our current prompt:
You should have a look!
It is currently open and running until 12 Apr 2019
We would like to thank our writers for stepping up and really giving us some serious quality to work with!
We do, however, seem to have an issue with people not reading our submission guidelines. When you fill out the New Writer form, there is a link, as well as a restatement of several important points. You must check that you have read them before the form will submit. Since I received a form submission from all new writers since we started using it, I have assumed you did actually read it. If you haven’t, please take the time to do so. It’s not that long:
I want to reiterate something I’ve mentioned before — When I was running things solo at LL there wasn’t enough time in my day to ensure the quality of writing as much as I would have liked to. Having help, now, we aim to uphold a certain standard which, unfortunately, means we’ll have to reject some pieces, which is never easy. It is my hope that if/when this happens, you, as the author, will take it as a prompt to push yourself harder and hone your craft.
Even a technically well-written piece can be a bore to read. I’ve gotten myself mired in that very same swamp before, so no judgment here, but generally, if we’re going to publish something, at least one of the editors should be able to find it interesting enough to read. We’re here to encourage and help, as well as publish, but part of that is going to involve constructive criticism at times. I never give that out in any sense but that of one writer helping another with the most benevolent intent.
It is a joy for me to see a writer start off on shaky legs, take some constructive criticism, then excel! I watch newer writers shoot way past my numbers and, far from feeling put out, it makes me proud for them.
Trust me, I’ve had my share of rejections from publications. It’s never fun, but it has pushed me to re-evalute what I’ve written with an eye towards seeing how I can make it better. It may take more than one re-try until what you’ve written really shines. Just remember, each time you’ll get a little bit better. I, by no means, consider myself to have mastered this art. I fail and I try again, and I get better each time.
Also, please remember that having a piece rejected does not mean we don’t want you as a writer.
We’d also like to ask that you try use proper grammar (within artistic license, of course!) and please proofread your piece! I’ve had plenty of typos left in my own writing, so this is expected, however, some of our submissions are in bad enough shape that they’re nowhere near publishable even though they’re good stories.
This involves spaces after periods/full stops (as opposed to no spaces, and even a space before but not after… we have to go through and correct those after every sentence before we can publish it) and some understanding of dividing a wall of text into paragraphs so that people will read your story (trust me, most people see a page of unbroken text and skip it… frankly, I would).
We try to help where we can, but there’s a point at which we just have to hand it back and ask you to rewrite. That’s no fun for either party, but we don’t publish half-written pieces. As I said, we’re happy to help where we can, but there’s a common-sense boundary to that, past which we’re basically ghostwriting your story.
The Scope of Literally Literary
The name really says it all. We are a publication dedicated to literary writing. If what you submit to us doesn’t fit within this scope, we have to reject it. This doesn’t mean it’s not a great piece of writing, it just means that it’s not the category of writing that we publish at LL.
So, what is literary writing? In short, it typically means stories and/or poetry (we also publish essays on literature, so long as it serves the purpose of further exploring that literature — Xi Chen’s essays are a great example of this). A slightly more in-depth definition of Literary writing:
Literature is a group of works of art made up of words. Most are written, but some are passed on by word of mouth. Literature usually means works of poetry and prose that are especially well written. There are many different kinds of literature, such as poetry, plays, or novels.
Most of the earliest works were epic poems. Epic poems are long stories or myths about adventures. Ramayana and Mahabharta, two Indian epics, are still read today. Odyssey and Iliad are two famous Greek poems by Homer. They were passed down through speaking and written down around the 8th century BC.
Literature can also mean imaginative or creative writing, which is looked at for its artistic value. [source]
Please note that non-fiction stories are every bit as literary as fiction stories.
Imagine you’re sitting around a fire with a bunch of other people. Someone, maybe you, tells a story — not a dialogue, but as the focus of attention, having something entertaining to tell, be it made up, or something interesting that happened in real life.
It would be odd for that person to go with something like “I’m going to tell you 7 ways to listen better in a relationship” unless people were there specifically for that sort of thing (a couple’s retreat/workshop, a seminar, a convention, etc.). It’s not unheard of, but probably not what someone would want to hear in that situation. Sandwich that between two other people telling great stories and it becomes that much more apparent.
Of course, you could take that same “…7 ways…” bit to the proper audience, and strike gold.
Here are some ways to judge if your piece is literary or not:
- Is it a story? ✔️
- Would it fit in a book of short stories (this includes fiction and non-fiction)? ✔️
- Is it a poem that is merely prose with oddly broken lines? ❌
- Does it read like a magazine article (excluding literary magazine articles, of course) ❌
- Could it be considered self-help, self-improvement, or advice? ❌
- If there is a message in the piece, is it conveyed through the experiences of the character or narrator, ✔️
- or is the message directed at the reader without any sort of narrative device? ❌
This is not an exhaustive list, nor is it meant to be completely black and white. I, myself, have written a fiction piece that was intended to appear, at first, as a sort of ‘self-help’ article. In addition, most of these don’t necessarily apply to poetry, which is much harder to define (as it should be).
I will leave you with this — if you are unsure, go ahead and submit it. The worst that can happen is we’ll tell you it’s not right for LL. Please do consider these things, yourself, first, though, as we get a lot of submissions and takes quite a bit of time, as it is, to give them all the attention they deserve.
II. Featured on the Front Page
(please note, this only goes up to Thursday, April 4th, so those pieces after that will be in Friday’s NewsLetter)
by Suze Hudson
by Heath ዟ
(disclaimer: this was chosen by the other editors, not me 😃)
by Rebeca Ansar
III. Publication Shout Out
I’d like to give a nod to one of our favorite publications:
“The Junction is a digital crossroads devoted to stories, culture, and ideas. Our interests are legion.”
Watch this space in upcoming NewsLetters for other publications we’d like to acknowledge.
As always, with our sincerest regards,