25 July 2013

Tell Your Lessons-Learned in 'Creative Nonfiction'

In "After Action Reviews" (A.A.R.), soldiers and other military types collectively review their actions and results, in order to improve performance in future operations. A "lesson learned" is knowledge based on experience, that results in a change in individual or collective behavior.

In other words: It's OK to make mistakes, as long as you learn from them. And help others learn, too.

While not limited to military writers, the literary journal Creative Nonfiction has issued a call for essays focused on a theme of "mistakes." Deadline is Nov. 1, 2013.

According to the editors:
For an upcoming issue, Creative Nonfiction is seeking new essays about mistakes—major or minor, tragic or serendipitous, funny or painful. We’re looking for stories about poor decisions, missteps, or miscalculations; we want to read about embarrassing boo-boos, dangerous misjudgments, or fortuitous faux pas in well-crafted stories that explore the nature and outcomes of human fallibility.

Essays must be vivid and dramatic; they should combine a strong and compelling narrative with an informative or reflective element, and reach beyond a strictly personal experience for some universal or deeper meaning. We’re looking for well-written prose, rich with detail and a distinctive voice; all essays must tell true stories and be factually accurate.
Essays must be previously unpublished. Maximum length is 4,000 words. There is a $20 reading fee for each entry.

There is a $1,000 award for best essay, and a $500 award for one runner-up. All entries will be considered for publication in a specially themed "mistakes" issue of the magazine.

To submit via postal mail, send manuscript, accompanied by cover letter with complete contact information including the title of the essay and word count; Self-Addressed Stamped Envelope (S.A.S.E.) or e-mail for response; and payment to:
Creative Nonfiction
Attn: Mistakes
5501 Walnut Street, Suite 202
Pittsburgh, PA 15232
To submit online, writers may pay either $20 per entry here, or pay $25 here for one entry and a 4-issue subscription to the magazine.

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