Call for Articles


While we’re all either working on, or waiting for, the Faith short-list, I thought I’d take some time just to mention that, in future, we’ll be looking for additional writing for the magazine.

We started eighteen months ago with a simple idea of providing the sort of writing competition that we would like to enter.  For nothing but your creative excellence you can be short-listed, receive feedback on your work, and possibly win a small cash prize.  That seemed pretty good to us, and it’s fairly clear that a lot of people agree.  We’ve been drafting readers in to help out, so we can make sure that each story is looked at by two sets of eyes, and we’ve moved now to use Submittable so that we can manage the process a bit better.

The next logical step for us was to complement the stories with some interesting and informative non-fiction articles.  We have a few articles submitted to us already, and we’ll be running some advice about how to write publishable stories by Chris Fielden over the next couple of weeks.  One of our previous entrants, Bruce Harris, is also working on a piece about writing for themes.

In future we’re looking for articles that look at the writing process, but especially for articles that look at the way that writing connects with readers.  For example, there is an amazing project at where some applying writers are going to be offered a free house in Detroit in exchange for community engagement.  If anyone wanted to write an article about this project, or projects like it, we’d love to read your work.  If you wanted to tell us about your local writing community, a specific event, a review of a recent short-story collection, or an interview with someone of interest, we’d love to read your work.

Articles are being accepted now via Submittable, here.  If you’d like to query us in advance drop us an email at

Escape: Winner Announced


We had six stories for “Escape” that we handed over to Anita Dellaria for judgement, and she has duly come back with a winner.

It looks like it was probably quite a difficult choice, and all of the stories received a positive review.  That’s pretty good going considering that Anita is a lawyer and editor, so everyone involved can buy themselves a drink and toast their own achievement.  It doesn’t have to be alcoholic.  One of the writers, however, will be having a drink on us.  You can click here and have a look at the issue to find out who…


Introducing the Judges: Escape

Anita Dellaria

It’s nearly time to discover who will be walking away with the prize for the Escape issue so, in what is becoming a bit of a tradition, it’s time to find out where the judgement is coming from.

The woman in the picture to your left is Anita Dellaria, who is one of the founders and editors of Chicago-based literary magazine, Bird’s Thumb. Bird’s Thumb is an online literary journal dedicated to the discovery and publication of emerging writers, publishes original fiction, essays, and poetry. The editors especially appreciate arresting language and strong story and delight in being the first (or nearly the first) publication credit for many fine writers. To read Bird’s Thumb go to:

You can also find out a little bit more about her, and why she started the magazine, in this interview that she held with Chicago Now in October of last year.

Anyway, we know who the winner is and we’ll be letting you know shortly.  In the meantime, please join us in welcoming Anita into our Judges Hall of Fame, and maybe take another look at the stories that are vying for her approval here.

You’ll Seriously Love this Awesome… Cynical Twitter Policy


Last week we hit five hundred followers on twitter.  Although many of you may have been eagerly anticipating a tweet saying “500 followers.  Awesome.  We love you guys” we’ll have to hold our hands up and admit we’re not going to send one.  Honestly, we’re not.  The truth is that it’s not awesome, it’s just an arbitrary number, and most of you we don’t know well enough to love.  I’m pretty fond of Aerogramme Writers by now, but that’s an organization in Australia so love would be inappropriate.  I’m also a big fan of Paul McVeigh’s blog and associated tweets, but I’ve not met the man himself so it’s difficult to say if romance is on the cards.  I saw him at the London Short Story festival recently and he seemed alright.  I might want to sleep with Chris Fielden, though I’m not sure it’s love.  Anyway, enough of my chaotic emotional life…

Twitter, like all good relationships, is about trust, so this is what you can expect from us.

Our twitter feed is mainly for writers, so we follow organisations and people who might be of interest to writers and pass on the most relevant information.  That information may concern jobs, submission opportunities, articles of interest, and writer events.

We are, as a default, deeply cynical about anyone asking for money for events.  If we pass on information about paid events it’s not an endorsement, and we’re much more likely to pass on information about free events, or retweet blogs describing the content of the paid events after they’ve happened.  This isn’t always the case, but think of it as aspirational.  We don’t mind paid competitions as long as the prize or prestige, or the general running of the competition, warrants a fee… and as long as the fee doesn’t feel extortionate.  If we do tweet anything that’s edging towards the “rip off” end of the scale, let us know.  It might not make us love you, but it’ll make us think wistfully about you while staring at sunsets.

We will, if the last few months is anything to go by, be inundating you with submission opportunities.  There are hundreds out there and the more we find out about the more we will let you know about.  These could be anywhere in the world, and some are region-specific, so if you see a string of opportunities in Australia one day and you live in China, don’t despair.  In fact, tell us where we can find out about events and submission opportunities in China (or wherever you are).  It might not make us love you, but it would definitely make us touch your leg under the table.

We do keep an eye on some previous contributors to the magazine as well, but only for relevant stuff.  Graham Lottering is occasionally hilarious, but if he doesn’t start saying something about his writing he’s not getting a retweet.

From this moment forward there will be no political messages, no pictures of cute cats, no self-help quotes, and no tweets that start with “Check out…”, include the word “amazing”, or end with “…seriously”.  We’re wary of anyone who says “you’ll love…” something, as no doubt are you by now.

In the meantime, you should definitely check out our amazing twitter account @redline_mag for loads of FREE, awesome tweets about writing, seriously.

New Submissions Process

beijingThere are a few updates to the existing submissions process, so I thought I’d take a bit of time to say what they are.  Ahead of detailing the changes I’d just reassure people that they are in place now but anyone who has already submitted to the Faith or Joy issues will not be penalised.  The old rules still apply for everyone who has already submitted.

First up is that now we’re on Submittable.  You can access the submissions form by going to the submissions tab in the menu and clicking on the link.  The good news for anyone submitting is that this now means you will receive and acceptance or rejection notice via submittable, as we have previously only been notifying people in the short list.  That has to be an improvement.

Next is that we are no longer accepting submissions in PDF format.  The reason for this is that they’re a nightmare to edit and to copy into word/publisher which we use to create the issues.  We will accept RTF if Word is a struggle, but .doc and .docx are the preferred formats.

Finally is the news that we’re going to up the allowable word count from 3,500 to 4,500 words.  We’ve had a number of stories that were good but which we had to reject because they were over the word count, and with current volumes it’s something we can manage.

I think that’s it at the moment.  We still have all the themes open for 2014, so we’re looking forward to reading all the entries.

All Submission Themes for 2014


We want to keep you writing, we’ll admit it.  We want great stories and to provide them with the readers and feedback that they deserve.  The best way to do that, we’ve decided, is to lay out all themes for the rest of the year.

The reason for this is so that you can pick which one suits you best, so that you have as much time as possible to draft and redraft.  We know it’s tough getting a story to the highest standards because, as Philip Roth said in his latest interview, frustration is with you sentence by sentence.  And that’s Philip Roth.  Mind you, Raymond Carver said of short story writing, “get in, get out.  Don’t linger.”  So maybe too much time is bad, but for me it’s on a story by story basis; there are stories that take a morning to write, and stories that sit unfinished for years before they’re completed.  With that in mind, this seemed like a happy compromise.

So, we’ve announced FAITH, and JOY.  That leaves two more themes to announce.  One of them is pretty straightforward, and the other one needs a little bit of explanation.

SEX is the theme after JOY.  Stories will be due in at the end of October.  We’re looking for any take on this theme you like, so well-written erotica is definitely considered.  Likewise any well-written story with something fresh about it will always be given time and thought.

The last theme, in for the end of December, is called “THE ALBUM”.  What we wanted to do was put together a series of stories based on, or inspired by, pieces of music.  The title of each should be the title of the piece of music you are riffing off, but otherwise the canvas is wide open.  The style of music isn’t important, so if you like Baroque choral music  or death metal, you aren’t excluded.   This is probably the most open, and therefore one of the most tricky, themes we’ve announced, so good luck with it.

That’s it for now.

Why are you still here?

Go! There’s writing afoot!

Escape: Short List Announced


Hot on the heels of our last fleeing issue, “Bodies”, not even cold in the ground, we can announce the six short listed stories (for consideration by our soon-to-be-announced judges) for the “Escape” issue.

First up, following on from Bartleby Snopes’ generous posting of their submission stats, we have decided to do something similar for this last issue.  We don’t have a fancy-pants submission manager, sorry to say, so the stats are pretty high level and cover the issue/competition rather than a specific time period.

So, we had 97 entries in total, of which 10 were invalid (incorrect format, no theme, over word count etc.).  Of the 87 left we short listed 6 stories that have now been posted on the site.  That gives us an acceptance ratio, if you discount the ones that we didn’t read, of… hang on… (6/87) x 100 = 6.9%.  As we don’t currently reply to all submissions (this will change) our data on Duotrope is a bit sketchy, so if acceptance ratio matters to you, you now have all the info you need.

Right, that stuff now being out of the way, it’s time to talk about the short listed stories.

This was the toughest short listing yet, as we had a long list of twelve and it was pretty difficult to pare it down to six stories.  We’ve got a futuristic dystopia, a surreal widowhood in a fictional Mexican border town (we think), two girls trying their hardest to get out of Rapid City, a frosty fantasy reminiscent of Angela Carter, a romance of words, and a story with a character called “Jooby”.  We love ‘em all, and you can read ‘em here.

Bodies: Winner Announced


Bodies are a funny old thing.  Foreign bodies, corporate bodies, astral bodies: none of the stories that were short listed dealt with any of these themes, showing how elastic (more elastic than the waist band of the guy in this picture) and broad (broader than… you get the idea) the theme could be.  We did have the body on body action interpretation, visceral and sensual, as well as it’s denial.  We had one of Frankenstein’s descendants trying to breathe life into the dead bodies of various men in order to create the perfect mate.  We had a lot of different takes on the theme, but only one winner as chosen by Sarah Cedeno of Animal magazine.

We will allow her to tell you all about her decision, and announce the latest winner, in the new issue posted here.

Submissions for “Escape” are closed; New theme is….


Hi Everyone.  Just a quick note to say that we are now closed to submissions for the Escape theme.  We are looking forward to reading through them over the next couple of weeks and coming up with a short list.  We will also shortly be announcing the winner of the Bodies issue, which has been confirmed with some fantastic feedback from our judge, Sarah.

I know that you are all itching to know what the new theme is, so I’ll get on with it.  Someone somewhere once said that “Happiness writes white; you don’t see it on the page”.  We are going to challenge that notion with are new theme “Joy”.  I suppose, for those envelope-pushers amongst you, that “Joy” is also a woman’s name, and a story about happiness needn’t be a happy one, but with the creative takes we’ve seen on subsequent themes we’re sure that you will all rise to the challenge and some of you will thrive on it.  So paint a metaphorical smile on your face and get writing, and at the end of August we can all skip, laughing, through brightly coloured rainbows of joy.

Oh, and sorry to be a buzz kill, but we’re still discounting about 10% of all submissions we get because they don’t follow the guidelines.  Before you submit, you may want to look here.

Introducing the Judges: Bodies


Hello readers.  Pleased to announce that Sarah Cedeno, from Animal (A “beast” of a literary magazine, we hear) will be judging the Bodies themed prize.  We can give you the low down on Sarah in a second but, before we do, let’s just quickly remind ourselves that we have two themes currently still open for submissions: Escape and Faith.  Reminded?  Me too.  Great.

Anyway, you want to know about Sarah.  She’s the Fiction Editor at Animal, as well as being the Editor-In-Chief at The Pitkin Review.  The other great thing is she’s also a writer with a string of credits.  You can find out more about her (and, let’s face it, why wouldn’t you) on her blog…  including her ambivalent attitude towards wine, sleeping habits, and a cryptic suggestion that she may be a able to travel through time, inhabiting other people’s bodies like that guy in Quantuum Leap.  I’m not sure we have any info about the dog, so we’re guessing she might have borrowed it for the photo shoot.  The only thing we can say for sure is that it is not Scamp, The Red Line’s very own fictional hero dog who prevented the end of the world last year.

Anyway, Sarah’s going to be laying down the law on your writing shortly, if you made it to the short-list.  If not, have another go!  We offer her our thanks and wish her well.