Aurealis has a proud history of publishing fiction in Australia. Since our first issue, we have introduced new authors to the reading public and given established authors a means to continue their relationship with their audience.
These are some of the things we’ve learned over nearly twenty-five years of selecting stories for publication.
- If you don’t read in the genre, you’re unlikely to create an original, refreshing genre story.
- One idea is rarely enough to sustain a story.
- Many stories would be far better off if they were a third shorter.
- If you use genre trappings, then your story will end up in the reject pile. ‘Trappings’ implies something added after the event, mere decoration. Respect the genre.
- Short stories are short. Don’t waste time—get into the story.
- If you can’t handle dialogue, your story will suffer badly.
- If nothing happens in your story, you don’t have a story. You might have a vignette, or a mood piece, but we don’t publish vignettes or mood pieces.
- Stories that only have one character can struggle. So much talking to her/himself…
- Don’t submit a first draft. Submit a story that you’ve polished until it glows.
- Clichés are clichés are clichés—and we’re not interested. Whether it’s a clichéd story idea or a clichéd character or a clichéd resolution, we’re really not interested.
- Solid, well-crafted writing beats pretentiousness every time.
- We are well over monospaced fonts. Courier is hard to read.
- If you’re not spelling and punctuating properly, you’re not using the fundamental building blocks of writing. Very few stories show a finely structured, well-nuanced, carefully textured narrative with poor spelling and grammar.
- Genre cred isn’t enough. You must write well on top of that.
- Subtly integrating background detail about the different places and times your story is set in is a major and impressive skill, likely to get our attention.
- Character diversity is a good thing and tends to suggest a thoughtfulness that bodes well for the rest of your story.
- If you jump on a trend from TV or the movies, it’s likely to be too late. We will have seen it a million times by the time your story gets to us—and we’ve probably rejected all of them.
- Surprise endings and shock plot twists rarely are.
- Humour is hard.
- If you don’t read our guidelines, you’re not likely to get published in Aurealis.
– Michael Pryor
Before (or after) grabbing your FREE six month-five issue subscription to Aurealis (you’ve got until the end of July!), be sure to pick up a copy of Michael Pryor’s latest page-turner Machine Wars – by clicking the appropriate image below.