- STORIES MUST BE TRUE. (If you tell us the story is true, we believe you.)
- STORIES MUST BE PERSONAL. We don’t want you to tell us about the time your grandpa Charlie fucked up. We want YOUR story.
- STORIES MUST BE 1200 WORDS OR FEWER. Stories that exceed the word count maximum are automatically disqualified.
TIPS ON HOW TO GET YOUR STORY CHOSEN:
Your story must be a story. There is a main character who wants something (or wants to avoid something). Something happens to the main character—an event or situation—which challenges/conflicts with the main character’s original desire, and in the end, there is some sort of resolution. The main character gets what he wants, or doesn’t get it, but more importantly, the character learns something. Your submission should have both a remarkable situation and an emotional story.
- Write about something eventful, the kind of thing that happened where you rushed home to tell someone. But it’s not just enough to have a remarkable situation; your submission should also be a story.
- Write a story about YOU.
- Write about something different. Don’t tell us the story about how your boyfriend cheated on you. Tell us about how you were the mistress.
- Be vulnerable. Be evil. Be real. Sometimes the main character is the villain.
- Be Funny. People LOVE to laugh out loud.
- Take us inside a world we don’t know or haven’t seen.
- Be yourself. Let us hear your voice in the piece. Show us your personality—sarcastic, sweet, asshole. However you are in your story, own it.
- Be casual. Writing Class Radio is not a reading, it’s storytelling. Try to tell the story the way you would tell it to a friend.
- Don’t sweat the grammar. We judge submissions based on the quality of the story, more than the quality of the writing. Sometimes we have to turn down beautifully written submissions because the story isn’t clear or isn’t working.
- Don’t be overly literary. Storytelling is a humble art. Of course any good story will have metaphors and lyrical writing, but remember that people will be listening to your story out loud, not reading it. Subtly does not work out loud as well as it does on the page. The ear can only retain so much information, and you want to be clear so the audience can follow your story.
- Don’t write too broadly. Less is more. You only have 1200 words, so try not to write about a long span of time. Zooming in on a moment can help focus your story.
- Don’t write a rant! We want stories, not political commentary.
Of course, the best way to get a sense of the kinds of stories we look for is to hear the stories for yourself. Listen to our podcast.