We are looking for submissions, up to 4,500 words, from contributors who have something interesting to say and a talent for communicating.  We want to take readers on a journey first and foremost, but we also want that journey to be to somewhere they would not normally go.  Any stories involving vampires, wizards, or single women in their thirties looking for the perfect man/pair of shoes, will most likely need to be ground-breaking works of genius to make the short-list; they are all good subjects, but too familiar.

Contributions for each issue will be short-listed to somewhere between six and eight stories which will be posted on the site.  Once they are on the site they will be handed to our judging panel, whether that be a reading group in Toronto or a convent in Dublin.  The top story will receive a prize of GBP50.00.

Submissions should be double-spaced, in Times New Roman or Arial, with the title, author, and page number at the top of each page.  The Red Line acquires first rights for publication. Upon publication, rights revert to author.  Please do not submit more than one entry per issue/theme.

Note: From January 2014, in addition to the rights listed above, The Red Line would reserve the right to publish all short-listed story in the end of year anthology.  More details to follow.

We welcome simultaneous submissions but ask you to let us know if your work is accepted elsewhere immediately. All work must be previously unpublished.

Our submissions form can be accessed here:


Open Themes

Conflict – Closes 28th February, 2015

Nature – Closes 30th April, 2015

Un-Themed Competition – Closes 31st June, 2015

The Album (stories inspired by specific pieces of music) – Open indefinitely.  This theme is re-opened to submissions.  The title and content of your story must be directly related to a specific piece of music.  Please reference this piece of music in your cover letter.  For example, the title of a story might be “Secret Xtians”, and then in the cover letter you might include the sentence: “This story is inspired by/based on ‘Secret Xtians’ by The Unknown Mortal Orchestra” so that we can find the piece of music.

Additional Guidelines

– We do accept creative non-fiction, but please make sure there is something there of interest to a wider audience.

– We do accept experimental formats, but please bear in mind that we are a primarily a short story magazine; we are looking for pieces with a strong narrative that are designed to be read.  We do not accept poetry, or work designed to be performed.  Donald Barthelme would definitely have made the magazine, but a poem by T. S. Eliot, a song by Lennon/McCartney, or a script by David Lynch would not.

– We like genre fiction, but we don‘t like reading the same story over and over again.  Try to make it fresh and well written, as anything relies solely on the standard tropes and stock characters will not make it through our stringent vetting process.

31 thoughts on “Submissions

    • Hi Gerry,

      Yes, there is no restriction on genre, however we are looking for work that avoids cliche so would prefer any genre story to have something that sets it apart.



    • Hi Angelina,

      I’m afraid not. We want to be the first place people can find the short-listed stories. Think of it as an incentive to start a new project…


  1. Do you have a minimum length? You specify that you wish for short stories, but flash fiction isn’t always included in this, and I would like to make certain before submitting.

    • Hi Holly,

      There is no minimum length, although I suppose we are a little wary of flash fiction as it would have to be exceptionally good to take a reader on the same journey that a longer piece could do. I think the shortest piece we have published to date was 1,500 words, but if something was of sufficient quality we would publish something shorter.


  2. Hi, I know you said no works previously published, but if we have submitted a work and are waiting to hear back, is it okay to enter that piece?

    • Hi Stella,
      That’s fine. It’s known as a “simultaneous submission”, and in that case we only ask that you withdraw the story straight away if it is accepted for publication elsewhere.

  3. Hello, I’d like to know if we can use the topic, for eg. Conflict as a central metaphor for the entire narrative while exploring hyperbolic metaphors? Such as justice, death etc?

    • Hi. I don’t really understand the question, so I’ll just try and explain the theme issue in a different way. The central theme needs to be conflict, so that can be a conflict between individuals, between states, an internal conflict, etc. but the conflict needs to be recognisable and central to the narrative. To be honest I am not sure what a hyperbolic metaphor is. I understand hyperbole is basically exaggeration in order to emphasize something, so therefore I read hyperbole more about “how” than “what”. If you want to use hyperbole to talk about Justice or Death, that’s no problem, but if it does not involve a very clear conflict it will not be considered for this theme. I hope that answers your question? Good luck! Josh

    • Hi Shashank, No constraint in terms of geography, but all entries must be in English language. Only because of our own limitations, as we can’t read them otherwise. But you are very welcome to enter. Cheers, Josh

    • Hi Sachin, It is open to all nationalities, but we demand quite a high level of English, and we do not edit competition entries. Please bear this in mind when submitting. Josh

  4. Hi – A couple of quick questions – after a submission deadline, how long does it take to know if it has been successful or not? And how long after then is it until it is published?

    • Hi Mary, In an ideal world about three weeks to know if you’re short-listed, and then five weeks from then before this issue is out. About that. It depends on the judges and how quickly our readers can get through the stories. Josh.

  5. Hi,

    Are you open to submissions from Britain alone? I am a short story writer living in India. Can I send a story here, or is this a national thing?

    Many thanks,

    • Hi Shashank, You need to trim it. The word count is pretty generous already, so I reckon with a good edit you should be able to hit the target. Josh.

  6. HI any story competition available and how do i know the topic date of submission date of closind and the date when the winners will be announced and also topic of the current competition if any.

  7. Hello,
    Concerning the ‘Nature’ theme – are you looking for a broad interpretation of the word? Or does it necessarily refer to the environment?

    • Depends on how broad. ‘Human nature’ would be an acceptable interpretation, but that does not mean you could just write a story about people and then add a couple of lines in about ‘human nature’. We can normally tell. Only one way to find out, I suppose…

Leave a Reply