Updated November 1, 2005 for the 2006 issues
Fiction: All stories must be written with the first line provided. The line cannot be altered in any way, unless otherwise noted by the editors. The story should be between 300 and 3,000 words. The sentences can be found on the home page of The First Line's Web site, as well as in the prior issue.
Non-Fiction: 300-600 word critical essays about your favorite first line from a literary work.
All Stories: Writers should include a two- to three-sentence biography of themselves that will appear in the magazine should their story run.
Multiple Submissions: We don't mind if you want to submit multiple stories for the same issue. However, it is unlikely we will use more than one of your stories in the same issue. We ask that you do not submit a story using our first line to another publication until after our issue with that first line is published. Also, please do not post your story to your personal Web site (or blog) until after we have made a decision.
Continuing Series: We will consider only four-part stories using all the sentences for a single year. All the stories must be submitted at once (a single e-mail or snail mail) before the February 1st deadline.
Submissions: We prefer you send manuscripts via e-mail to firstname.lastname@example.org
. We accept stories in MS Word or Word Perfect format (we prefer attachments). Make sure your name and contact information, as well as your bio, are part of the attachment. Stories also can be sent to The First Line's post office box. No manuscripts will be returned without an accompanying SASE with sufficient return postage. Here is the submission schedule for this year's sentences:
Spring Issue Deadline: February 1st
Summer Issue Deadline: May 1st
Fall Issue Deadline: August 1st
Winter Issue Deadline: November 1st
Notification: We don't make any decisions about stories until after each issue closes. We typically send notices out within three to four weeks after the issue's deadline to everyone who submitted a story. You can also check the home page of the website as we will indicate each issue's production status there.
Payment: Payment is $20.00 (U.S.) for fiction and $10.00 (U.S.) for nonfiction. We also send you a copy of the magazine in which your story or nonfiction appears. We pay on publication. You'll receive your money and magazine at the same time.