The First 500 Words

From the comic strip “Peanuts” by the late Charles Schulz

Something new happened when I tried to submit a short story to a publisher via the platform Submittable. There was no option to upload my Word file. There was only a field to paste in up to the first 500 words of the story.

I looked at the publisher’s specifications again and they said they’d respond to submissions of the first 500 words in a few days, and then the entire story in a few months.

Of course I submitted the first 500 words (491 actually so I wouldn’t have things cut off in the middle of a sentence) and a day later, got this back:

Thank you for sending us the first 500 words of “XXX.” Your writing caught our attention and we would like to read your entire story. Please upload your full story and complete the requested fields in ‘Step 2’ under the Forms tab that now appears in your Submittable dashboard for this submission. We look forward to reading it in consideration for XXX.

I have since uploaded the file, but I think this illustrates an important point.

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The Whisperer Expanded

bird

© Douglas M. MacIlroy

“Cats, bats, mice, and now this. Why can’t I leave my garage door open for two seconds without some animal crawling, walking, or flying inside?”

Keith Grant had finally managed to capture the mynah bird that had soared into what his wife called “the man cave” over half an hour ago. It wasn’t that the bird was confused and couldn’t find its way out. The thing seemed to be content to sit on the top of the cabinet by the door into the house as if waiting for something or someone. Same with all of the other creatures that had spent the past week attempting to invade his home.

“It’s only happening because I’m visiting you this week, Grandpa.”

The old man looked to see his five-year-old granddaughter walk out of the house. He turned and smiled at her. It was so nice to have her back again.

“Oh, hi Danielle.”

“I told you Grandpa, my name isn’t Danielle, it’s Zooey.”

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