The First Line 221

A project of Blue Cubicle Press (see other related projects)

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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 & Year Established

United States Established in 1999

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 Deadlines: 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: Darryl slid three quarters into the vending machine and weighed his options01 Feb 20210
First line: Lena was raised on violin lessons and minimal parental supervision01 May 20210
First line: "What should we do with the body?"01 Aug 20210
First line: Later that evening, they sat alone in their apartment, wondering if they had made the right decision01 Nov 20210
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 list broad pay categories rather than payment 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 Deadlines: Check cut-off dates.
Styles:
Critical.
Topics:
Literature/Books (Theory/Analysis/Criticism, See guidelines).
Theme(s):
ThemeDeadlineTrack
First line: "What should we do with the body?"01 Aug 20210
Types/Lengths:
TypeLength Details
Essay Essay500 - 800 words; Unknown number of pieces.
Payscale:
We list broad pay categories rather than payment 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.

The First Line Submission Statistics

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Dates

Last Updated: 23 Nov 2020
Last Checked: 05 Nov 2020 We check each active listing's guidelines page for changes once a month (if compliant).
Last Audited: 23 Nov 2020 We audit each active listing twice a year.
Date Added: 25 Jul 2005

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.
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  • Be professional, patient, and persistent.