The First Line 182

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About

The purpose of The First Line is to jump start the imagination-to help writers break through the block that is the blank page. Each issue contains short stories that stem from a common first line; it also provides a forum for discussing favorite first lines in literature. The First Line is an exercise in creativity for writers and a chance for readers to see how many different directions we can take when we start from the same place.

The First Line

Audience

Country of Publication

Open to a broad Audience. United States

Publication Medium & Frequency

P Print PublicationPublished 4 x per year.

Fiction Open

All stories must be written with the first line provided. The line cannot be altered in any way, unless otherwise noted by the editors.

Dates:
Rolling Submission Periods: Check cut-off dates.
Genres:
G General
O Open to all/most Genres
Styles:
Open to all/most Styles, including: Literary.
Topics:
Other (May vary, See guidelines).
Types/Lengths:
TypeLength Details
Flash Fiction300 - 1,000 words; Unknown number of pieces.
Short Story1,000 - 5,000 words; Unknown number of pieces.
Payscale:
We do not list pay specifics. Check with the publisher for details.
S Semi-pro payment (1-4.9 US cents per word).
Submissions:
ElectronicPostalReprintsSimultaneousMedia
OK OK No NoText format submissions
Always check guidelines for details and restrictions. If you aren't familiar with these terms, see our glossary.

Nonfiction Open

Critical essays about your favorite first line from a literary work.

Dates:
Rolling Submission Periods: Check cut-off dates.
Styles:
Critical.
Topics:
Literature/Books (Theory/Analysis/Criticism, See guidelines).
Types/Lengths:
TypeLength Details
Essay500 - 800 words; Unknown number of pieces.
Payscale:
We do not list pay specifics. Check with the publisher for details.
S Semi-pro payment (1-4.9 US cents per word).
Submissions:
ElectronicPostalReprintsSimultaneousMedia
OK OK No NoText format submissions
Always check guidelines for details and restrictions. If you aren't familiar with these terms, see our glossary.

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Before Submitting

We cannot guarantee that the information on this page is correct. It is not unusual for publications to evolve or close without notice. We do our best to keep up, but it isn't always possible. Just remember…

  • Always read the full guidelines provided by the publisher.
  • Try to read at least one previous publication to get a better idea of what the editor would like to see.
  • Unless the publisher's guidelines state otherwise, always use industry standard manuscript formatting.
  • For novel/collection publishers, it is standard to submit a cover letter, synopsis, and sample instead of the full manuscript. Do this unless otherwise instructed.
  • Include a SASE with all mailed submissions, queries, and requests for guidelines, unless the editor replies via or email or guidelines state otherwise.
  • Be professional, patient and persistent.

Dates

Date Added:
25 Jul 2005
Last Updated:
25 Jul 2017