A Journal of Luminous Things
Most forms are considered, both metered and unmetered, traditional and experimental. Poems from 3 to 100 lines have the best chance of acceptance. Please follow William Shunn's Proper Manuscript Format for poetry, omitting the header information. (Note that Shunn's example includes multiple poems; however, for Ember a separate submission form must be completed for each poem.)
Short Stories up to 12,000 words are considered. However, “twelve thousand” is not a goal or a challenge, it's an upper limit. More important than word count is the quality of your work: we are looking for excellent, polished writing that pulls us into an engaging story. Please follow William Shunn's Proper Manuscript Format for prose, omitting the header information.
- A note on “Flash Fiction”
Flash Fiction is not the same as “vignette;” even very short works of 500 to 1500 words should still present an interesting and compelling story.
- A note on “Creative Non-Fiction”
Creative Non-Fiction is the beautiful union of exposition and literature. Tell us a true story, and tell it well.
We do not publish chapters of larger works, essays, journalism, or news articles.
Content Tips & Suggestions
Profanity, Vulgarity, Sex, and Violence
As an all-ages publication, our refusal to print profanity/vulgarity is based on an understanding of our audience, not on censorship. Similarly, while allusions to the occurrence of love and sex, anger and violence may be integral to some stories, we tend to err on the side of making Ember accessible to middle-grade readers. Submissions with graphic and/or explicit descriptions of sex or violence will be rejected without comment.
Prose: Great Stories, Compelling Characters
Ember is looking for great writing that tells a compelling story, regardless of length. Even very short pieces, like flash fiction, should tell a story, though there will certainly be fewer dramatic elements developed than we’d see in a longer piece or novel. The presence of “story” is what distinguishes flash fiction from “vignette.”
Poetry: Paint With Language
For poetry, we also look for a story, but the story may be implied. Of course, there is a lot more flexibility for poetry, and some styles tend to emphasize descriptive language over storytelling. We’ve also seen some poetry submissions which go too far, focusing so much on story that they are little more than prose stories with poem-style line breaks. So, for poetry, we tend to use the very subjective measure of accepting poems which make us say, “Wow!”
Be Accessible, Not Condescending
We believe that even our younger readers are smart and capable of advanced reasoning and interpretation. However, not every accepted piece will be appropriate for (or of interest to) ten-year-olds, who are the youngest readers in our target audience. Many readers will simply skip over stories and poems which exceed their developmental maturity. Submissions with the best chance of acceptance will be meaningful on some level to both older and younger readers without being condescending. We also consider works which require some maturity for full comprehension, so long as the content is not inappropriate for younger readers who might choose to explore the more advanced pieces.