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The First Line 203

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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.

Country of Publication

United States

Audience

Open to a broad Audience.

Publication Medium & Frequency

Print Publication 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:
General General
Open to all/most Genres Open to all/most Genres
Styles:
Open to all/most Styles, including: Literary.
Topics:
Other (May vary, See guidelines).
Theme(s):
ThemeDeadlineTrack
First Line: "I wanted you to be the first to know," Rowan tentatively confided in me.01 May 201814
First Line: The window was open just enough to let in the cool night air.01 Aug 201815
First Line: As she trudged down the alley, Cenessa saw a small ___.01 Nov 20186
Types/Lengths:
TypeLength Details
Flash Fiction Flash Fiction300 - 1,000 words; Unknown number of pieces.
Short Story Short Story1,000 - 5,000 words; Unknown number of pieces.
Payscale:
We do not list pay specifics. Check with the publisher for details.
Semi-pro payment (1-4.9 US cents per word) 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).
Theme(s):
ThemeDeadlineTrack
First Line: "I wanted you to be the first to know," Rowan tentatively confided in me.01 May 20182
First Line: The window was open just enough to let in the cool night air.01 Aug 20181
First Line: As she trudged down the alley, Cenessa saw a small ___.01 Nov 20182
Types/Lengths:
TypeLength Details
Essay Essay500 - 800 words; Unknown number of pieces.
Payscale:
We do not list pay specifics. Check with the publisher for details.
Semi-pro payment (1-4.9 US cents per word) 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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Dates

Last Updated: 25 Jan 2018
Last Audited: 15 Dec 2017 We audit each active listing twice a year.
Date Added: 25 Jul 2005

Before Submitting

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  • 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.
  • 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.