It’s been one heck of a ride over the last two weeks. When Colleen and I sat down for the first time to discuss launching an online creative writing journal never, in our wildest dreams, could we have imagined the response we would receive. As I write this we have received hundreds of submissions from hundreds of writers heralding from every corner of the globe. We’ve received submissions from Ireland, India, China, Japan, Canada, the US, and many more; I’m still flabbergasted by both the amount and the quality of the works we’ve received.

Some of the pieces we received brought me to tears, some made me laugh, and some made me doubt my resolve in providing feedback for every submission we receive. I have had the pleasure of reading works of amazing talent and some works I – without a polite term at hand – can only refer to as garbage. On a whole the good outweighs the bad, but nevertheless I have some suggestions for future submission.

Why We Didn’t Accept your Piece

  1. Did you send over a rough draft? If so, we rejected your piece out of hand. Please make sure you’ve had someone read over your work, there isn’t any typos or spelling mistakes, and the story flows well. I’ve read way too much frenetic, disconnected, story-less prose this week.
  2. Did you send over teenage love poetry? Does your poem have a total lack of concrete images? Are you pining after abstract concepts (love, soul, time, death, life, etc.) and not writing about real, physical things? If so, your piece was rejected out of hand. Abstract concepts are fine, but you need to connect them to something tangible.
  3. Is your piece an exposition? By this I mean does your piece have a story or does it just explain a series of events? If you can’t find a story – something with conflict and plot – neither can we and your piece was rejected.

These are the three main reasons we rejected works this time around. If your work was rejected, feel free to resubmit it once you’ve corrected any lack of story or lack of images. We would love look at it again.

Why We Accepted your Piece

  1. We accepted “The Alternative to Getting Old” because it was packed full of story, tension, conflict and plot. The tension of the story is palpable, the characters seem real, the motivation seems rational. At the Quill we’re looking for character driven, conflict based narratives. Not experimental fiction pieces expositing on the nature of flowers.
  2. We accepted “Breathe, Remember” because the images of the poem jump off the page. Each poem is a feeling and a story; each poem is something anyone can see and feel in their own individual way.
  3. We accepted “Not Your Typical Alien” because it is an amazing poem filled with concrete, visceral images. The whole poem speaks in an allegory and with words and images that don’t seem to work together, but when closely analyzed become something more complex than one would initially assume.
  4. We accepted “Leonard Cohen, poet of archetypes” for similar reason to “Not Your Typical Alien.” This essay speaks in allegory and metaphor in a masterful way.

Some Suggestions for Rejected Authors

  1. Read The Elements of Style by Strunk and White. If you don’t know how to write properly, you can’t write creatively.
  2. Read Conflict & Suspense by James Scott Bell. This book will help you understand how and why Conflict is integral to storytelling.
  3. If you’re a poet, read The Writing Moment by Tysdal. This book is a master-class on poem writing. It’s a good place to start, and a good place to review.

With all this said I need to thank every submitter for every piece we received this week. We will be running an issue on Friday of each week for as long as we have the breath – and the funds – to keep going. I look forward to reading your submissions and hope that we at the Quill can help you grow into a better writer.


Josh Harkema – Associate Editor

Note from the Editor in Chief

Josh is the driving force behind, and the creator of ‘The Quill Magazine’, as well as our  Associate Editor, IT wunderkind, and all around idea guy.  He’s also the reason I’m here.  I can’t think of anything more appropriate than for him to introduce our inaugural issue.  He’s right, it’s been a heck of a ride so far, and I wouldn’t want to be anywhere else!

Colleen Cornez – Owner and Editor-in-Chief