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2012 Marguerite McGlinn Prize for Fiction

ATTENTION ALL OF MY TALENTED WRITER FRIENDS! (And the ones I haven’t made yet!) For the last two years, I have been working for Philadelphia Stories, a non-profit magazine that publishes fiction/poetry/essays/art of the Delaware Valley.

As the magazine’s Fiction Coordinator, I organize and send out stories to a team of readers during our annual Marguerite McGlinn Prize for Fiction contest.

The contest is open to all writers living in – or originally from – the United States. First prize includes $2,000, the winning story in the winter print and online publications of the magazine, and an invitation to an awards dinner in October. The reading fee for each submission is $10; all entrants will receive a one-year subscription to Philadelphia Stories!

The deadline is June 15th, so hurry and get those stories in! We accept previously unpublished works of fiction up to 8,000 words.

I am surrounded by lots of talent here on WordPress, so I would love to see names like Re or Edward Hotspur or Tony Powers (just to name a few) pop up on the submissions list. I could keep going, but there are just too many of you to name! (Fo’real!)

So if you write short stories, please check out the magazine and consider submitting.

Happy Tuesday!

And click here for all of the information you’ll need!


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What’s in a name?

Any measly hope of being published, for one thing…

I’m antsy. The holiday weekend clouded my determined mind with hotdogs and macaroni salad. Now I just feel fat and defeated. And sleepy. My mind WAS swirling with ideas of murder and revenge – you know, the usual – but I’ve come to a small standstill. While I am only about 40 solid pages into my work, it bothers me that I have not yet chosen a title. Not even a tentative one. As a kid, choosing a title was my favorite part of writing. It was usually picked and gleaming at the top of the page before the story even came to life! OK – so that’s not how it always works, but I’d like to have some cool way of referring to my work-in-progress, some bad-ass name that sounds like it already belongs on the shelf, instead of:

“Uh…yeah…you know, that thing I’m writing about the stripper…who murders people…?”

“Oh! Sounds…interesting.”

My wonderful boyfriend purchased me a copy of Writer’s Market 2011 as part of my graduation present this May. I have flipped through it quite a few times, intimidated by its weight and endless chapters covering every genre there is. For my birthday last year, he bought Writer’s Market 2010 – that sits under the 2011 Edition looking just as intimidating in its old age and gathering dust. But I plan on making use of this one! Really! The access it gives me to so many publishers should be more motivation to speed up the writing process.

It’s section on how to get your greeting card ideas published is also pretty interesting. I don’t think I’d be so bad at writing two quick lines of slap-stick humor or a small paragraph about love:

Outside: Are you super-duper excited for your birthday this year!?

Inside: Good. Because no one else is.

Alright – that was pretty lame, and cruel. I gave it a shot.

I find myself sliding my flash drive into the side of my net-book once every few days and staring at my most recent paragraph (sometimes impressed, sometimes wondering why I ever thought it sounded good) and making it through about two or three more before clicking on the save button and closing it, overwhelmed. I admire the great writers that slave over their work for years, writing hundreds of pages, keeping some and trashing others, praised and criticized by editors for thousands of hours spent hunched over a keyboard or piece of paper. Writing takes courage; lots of courage.

Another sneak-peek:

These are a few of my most recent paragraphs, outlining the moments before Hugh the bartender helps Angel get rid of the body of her first victim. While Angel is the definition of calm and collected, Hugh’s weak personality contradicts his tough appearance.

I lead Hugh down the thin hallway to the bathroom, a single light illuminating the chipped green paint and band advertisements that suffocated the walls. A bar napkin was plastered to the men’s door, bearing a few words obviously written with a shaky hand: “Out of Order”.

“Good cover” I whispered, not quite sure why I was lowering my voice.

Slowly I opened the door, the familiar dinginess of the bathroom washing over me only hours later. I noticed the old condom wrapper in the sink before my eyes caught on the blood now dry and hard, a moat outlining the tiles.

I brought my fingers to my mouth, swallowing back a bout of uneasiness that had begun to claw its way up my esophagus. After a moment I was centered once again, opening the stall door where I was greeted by Steve and the smells of violence and sour milk, both of which reminded me of my rape. I kept my features steady and turned to Hugh, who was facing the wall in a corner of the bathroom.

“Hugh” I said, gently, as if talking to a child. “I’m going to need some towels. And…a trashbag?” I wasn’t sure what I was to do next. He grunted something that sounded like “yes” and I felt a breeze brush past my ankles as he quickly opened the door and scurried back into the bar.

Steve’s chin rested on the center of his chest, his arms loose at his sides, his belt unbuckled and limp around his waist. Pathetic. The blood blanketed his chest and legs, outlining his lanky figure in a pool of crimson that contrasted the yellow tile and reminded me of tomato sauce atop a bowl of spaghetti.

As I sit at my kitchen table, the sun at my back and a plate of egg whites and feta in front of me, I am once again determined to churn out several more pages. Joining the ranks of the others is in the stars for me – I can feel it. (Or maybe that’s just the heat that’s making the sweat drip down my forehead? It’s hot in here.)

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