About Pei-Ling Lue

Managing Editor/Mercenary of Knowledge

Announcing the Launch of the One Teen Story website!

We’re happy to announce that our One Teen Story site is now live!

For our 10th anniversary, One Story is publishing a new magazine, One Teen Story, a magazine for readers of young adult fiction. Each issue of One Teen Story will feature a story about the teen experience written by emerging and top-ranked published authors of young adult fiction. One Teen Story will mail out its first issue in September of 2012. Subscribers will get 9 issues—one a month during the course of a school year.

Charter subscriptions are available right now at the lowest rate we can offer: $18 for 9 issues, plus you’ll get the prototype issue for FREE. Subscribe here.

The final story of the year will showcase the winner of our One Teen Story Contest, open to writers between the ages of 14 and 19. The winner will be chosen by Gayle Forman, best-selling author of If I Stay and Where She Went. We are honored to have Gayle as our contest judge. So if you know of any talented teen writers, please point them to our contest. Deadline is May 31st. We are accepting contest entries online on our new site here.

And if you have a story of your own that fits a young adult audience, please submit soon! Regular submissions will also be open until May 31, 2012.

Thank you so much for being part of our One Story family and we hope that you’ll help us grow and support One Teen Story.

Issue #149: Partisans

Our new story is Karl Taro Greenfeld’s “Partisans.” Unfortunately, due to a printing error, Karl’s bio was not included in the paper edition of the magazine. So here it is, properly–we apologize to our readers and author, and will be finding ways to make this up to Karl later, but for now I hope you will all enjoy this great work of fiction, as well as the introduction by contributing editor Pei-Ling Lue. -HT

Karl Taro Greenfeld is the author of five books, including the collection NowTrends, coming later this year from Hobart’s Short Flight/Long Drive books, Boy Alone, a Washington Post Best Book of 2009, Speed Tribes and China Syndrome. A long time writer and editor for The Nation, Time and Sports Illustrated, he was the the editor of Time Asia and among the founding editors of Sports Illustrated China. His writing has appeared in numerous anthologies including Best American Nonrequired Reading, Best American Travel Writing, Best American Sports Writing and Best Creative Nonfiction and has been widely translated. Since taking up fiction writing in 2006, his stories have appeared in Best American Short Stories, The Paris Review, Commentary, The Sun, The Southern Review, The Missouri Review, New York Tyrant and American Short Fiction, am ong other publications.

Introduction by Pei-Ling Lue: I first encountered Karl Taro Greenfeld’s writing when I read his story “NowTrends” in the 2009 Best American Short Stories collection edited by Alice Sebold. A few months later, I picked up an issue of The Paris Review and found another story written by Karl. I felt that he wrote exactly the type of stories One Story publishes–stories that have a strong voice, stories that focus on unique situations set in interesting locations.

Eventually, I recognized Karl’s name when I saw it in our submission manager and I brought his story to our editorial meeting. We ended up declining it because it wasn’t the right fit for our magazine, but we asked him to send us some more. As much as editors would love to write a personal note to each one of the lovely people who submit stories to us, sadly, there just isn’t enough time in the day. But when editors ask to see more stories, we really do mean it.

Karl sent us a few more stories before there was one we felt was going to be a good match, but by the time I had reached out to him, it had been accepted by another magazine. Fortunately, Karl later sent me “Partisans,” which was the perfect One Story story.

While Karl and I worked together editing “Partisans,” he said, “You know, One Story is a really hard nut to crack. I’ve been submitting to you guys for years.” I explained that since we only publish authors one time, we try very, very hard to find just the right fit. In fact, most of the authors we’ve eventually published in the magazine had submitted as much as seven or eight stories before they published with us.

What I loved about “Partisans” was that it reminded me of stories I read in childhood with adventurers in far-off lands. The soldiers in Karl’s story are sent off into the desert to defend their unnamed country from partisans, whose motives are never explained. There’s a foreboding atmosphere throughout the story, but ultimately, the reader is left with a sense of hope.

To learn more about “Partisans,” please read my Q&A with author Karl Taro Greenfeld here.

Issue #146: Surprise Party

I’m thrilled that our new story is by the Israeli writer Etgar Keret. Contributing Editor Pei-Ling Lue will be doing the official introductions for this issue, but I wanted to give a quick plug to an upcoming Selected Shorts with Etgar Keret & Jonathan Safran Foer on April 6th in NYC. Come join us! In the meantime, enjoy this wonderful new story.-HT

Our latest issue, “Surprise Party,” was written by Etgar Keret, one of Israel’s most popular writers, best known in our country for his collections of short stories, The Nimrod Flipout and The Girl on the Fridge. His book, Missing Kissinger, was shortlisted for the Frank O’Connor International Short Story Award. We were honored that Etgar, who is known mostly for his very short and powerful  flash fiction pieces, wanted to publish this longer story with One Story. We were also very excited to publish another story in translation (our last was “The Snake Charmer”–Issue #48).

I’m sure that many of us have experienced an evening that started out with a group of near-strangers who, by the end of the night, had transformed our lives. That’s what happens in this story when a wife throws her husband a surprise birthday party, which starts out awkwardly when the guest of honor doesn’t show up, and spirals more and more out of control as the night progresses.

I learned so much about writing working with Etgar. I was in a bit of awe at how meticulously he constructs the structure of his stories, the way he navigates the emotional pitch of his characters, and the whimsy in which he chooses to keep some aspects of the story a secret from the reader (he continually refused to tell me whatever happened to Band-Aid’s nose and why he wears a Band-Aid). You can read more about Etgar’s writing process in his Q&A where he explains more about how he wrote this story.

Issue #141: Nephilim

For our next issue, I’m turning the reins over to our contributing editor, Pei-Ling Lue, who saw issue #141: Nephilim, through our editing process, from start to finish. It’s a beautiful story, and we are so glad to have it in our pages.-HT

One Story got inundated with stories when we opened our submission manager in September. L. Annette Binder’s “Nephilim” was the first piece I plucked from the new batch and I read it three times in a row.

“Nephilim” is a story about a woman afflicted with gigantism and her friendship with a boy named Teddy.  I was drawn to the strong narrative voice and the beautiful language. Though the story moves through twenty years in 13 pages, the pacing was pitch-perfect. I found myself wondering why any story ever needed to be longer than 13 pages. No matter how many times I read this piece in edits, each time I got to the final scene, I found myself close to tears.

Last April, the One Story staff attended the AWP conference in Denver. I took a few extra days to visit Pikes Peak and Garden of the Gods, so when I arrived at the scene where Freda’s mother points out the mountains and explains that they’re the leftover bones from the Nephilim, I could see exactly what she was describing. This is a story that could have only been inspired by the mountains of Colorado. Read L. Annette Binder’s Q&A to learn more about this story. (And thanks to http://www.rockymtnrefl.com/ for the pic of the Colorado Mountains–a.k.a. The Bones of the Nephilim.) 

Issue #135: Corporate Park

Once again, I’m turning the reins over to Contributing Editor Pei-Ling Lue, who has championed our latest issue, “Corporate Park” by Grant Munroe all the way from the slush pile to the final product. I hope everyone enjoys this strange and beautiful story. It’s always thrilling to publish an author for the first time, but even more so with a writer like Grant Munroe. We’re looking forward to seeing his career soar.–HT

At One Story, I’m the person who assigns stories from our slush pile, but every once in a while, I’ll come across a cover letter that’s compelling enough that I’ll read the story myself. This was the letter written by Grant Munroe:

Dear Editors,

The story that I’ve attached, titled, “Corporate Park,” may fit One Story. It’s strange, but humorous and timely. 

I’m currently enrolled in NYU’s MFA program for fiction, and live in Brooklyn and southwestern Ontario. I’m the author of an ongoing series of Corporate Folktales–humorous stories on contemporary corporate culture written as oral folk narratives–at McSweeney’s Internet Tendency. If published, this will be my first story in print. 

Thank you for your time and consideration.

Grant Munroe

I liked that the letter was short, but conveyed everything I needed to know about his story. Also, we’re always looking for emerging writers, so the fact that this would be his first published story was another plus. When we met last winter to go over his story, I found out that Grant had attended a lecture on cover letters given by our  Hannah Tinti and that he kept her advice in mind when he wrote the cover letter.  

When I read “Corporate Park,” I found the premise of a mountain lion finding his way into a corporate building hilarious. It was also a perfect response to what’s going on during this current economic crisis. I haven’t worked in a corporate environment in ten years, but the bureaucracy and pettiness of the characters in this story brought me right back to those gray cubicles. 

Next week, on May 21st, we will be cheering Grant Munroe, along with 8 other debut authors, at One Story’s Literary Debutante Ball: A Celebration of Emerging Writers. If you’d like to meet Grant in person, you may purchase tickets here. And to read more about “Corporate Park,” check out Grant’s Q&A.

THE EDITOR IS IN this Sunday (and next Sunday)

One Story now has a booth at The (Makers) Market at the Old American Can Factory. So this Sunday, after you’re done buying organic pickles at the Farmer’s Market, you can come by our booth and sit down for 15 minutes with one of our editors to discuss your short story.

Writers are always asking us how they can improve their chances of publication and now we’re giving you a chance to find out.

In a 15-minute private session, a One Story fiction editor will discuss your story. The editor will read your submission in advance and will come to the mentorship with specific feedback about your story and practical information for future submissions.

For more information and to submit your story, click here.

Dates: Sunday, March 14, 2010 & Sunday, March 21, 1010
Times: 11am – 5pm
Location: The Maker’s Market at the Old American Can Factory
232 3rd Street
Brooklyn, NY
Cost: $25

Issue #128: The Restoration of the Villa Where Tibor Kálmán Once Lived

tibor cover0003 cropped

For #128, I’m giving the reins to our intrepid Contributing Editor Pei-Ling Lue, who was the issue editor for this extraordinary new story: “The Restoration of the Villa Where Tibor Kálmán Once Lived.” Enjoy!-Hannah

During World War II, my grandfather was sent to mainland China from Taiwan. At the close of the war, he, along with my grandmother and their two children, were stranded without a way to return to their homeland. At this time, my great-grandfather sent radio messages each day hoping to reach his son, to find a way to bring him home. My grandfather never received those messages. Eventually, the family found a way home on an old smuggler’s ship, braving the pirate-infested waters, but there was always a feeling in the family for what might have been had they been able to return earlier.

“The Restoration of the Villa Where Tibor Kálmán Once Lived” reminded me of that old family war story. László, the main character, has committed atrocities as a soldier during the siege of Budapest, but his mind keeps returning to Tibor Kálmán’s villa, the place he was trying to reach before he commits his first traitorous act. He searches out the villa after the siege, hoping that when he finds the villa, he can find his own redemption.

Usually when I read stories from the submissions pile, they sound very much the same to me, it’s very rare to find a story that has a unique voice. I was drawn in by the first few lines of this story, the whole world of this war was so expertly drawn that it appeared vividly in my mind. László is such a complex character–I found myself fascinated and repulsed by his actions, and yet, his story seemed more real to me than many of the usual war stories depicting heroes and acts of courage. This is a story that will resonate with readers long after they finish reading.

You can read more about how Tamas Dobozy wrote “The Restoration of the Villa Where Tibor Kálmán Once Lived” by reading his Q&A.

Issue # 124: Frost Mountain Picnic Massacre

frost mt picnic0001Our new issue, “Frost Mountain Picnic Massacre,” was pulled from the slush pile by our associate managing editor, the intrepid Pei-Ling Lue. Pei-Ling became “Frost Mountain’s”  issue editor, shepherding it through the entire publication process, and so I’m turning the reins over to her to introduce you all to a great new writer: Seth Fried. —HT

I first encountered Seth Fried’s work from the slush pile, but by the time I replied to him about that particular story, it had already been accepted by another magazine. I thought that he had a unique voice which is funny and creepy and yet sympathetic—a true One Story voice.

When I first read “Frost Mountain Picnic Massacre,”I knew that it was the sort of story that would appeal to our readers. It’s about a community of people who are drawn to the mysterious Frost Mountain Picnic. Although a massacre occurs every year, the community feels compelled to attend for the sake of their children. As I read this, I found myself laughing at some of the ridiculous way people die, but there was a very human element in the way the townspeople are led by their desire to give their children every advantage, a trait that clouds their judgment, something that happens in our own lives.

When I shared this story with our One Story interns, each one of them approached me individually to talk about how much they liked the story. I know that this is one issue that will get passed around and discussed.

If you live on the Upper West Side of New York City and want to receive a free copy of “Frost Mountain Picnic Massacre,” my dad will be including an issue with every dining and take-out order at his restaurant Obento Delight as a gift to his customers for the first few weeks in September. Obento Delight is located at 210 W. 94th street.

Go here to read Seth’s Q&A with us and find out more about “Frost Mountain Picnic Massacre.”—Pei-Ling Lue

The Age-Old Simultaneous Submissions Question

A few years ago, I told my friend Jonathan that I did not simultaneously submit my stories. Like a good girl, I submitted one story to one journal each time and waited and waited and waited.

“That’s the most ridiculous thing I’ve ever heard,” he said. “When you’re out looking for a job, do you send one resume out at a time?”

It can take up to one year to hear back from one literary journal, so if you are serious about ever being published, you should be submitting to more than one place at a time.

One Story’s policy is that we allow simultaneous submissions, but you MUST let us know as soon as your piece is accepted somewhere else.

There’s a great website called www.duotrope.com which provides a searchable database of more than a thousand magazines. You can filter out the magazines that will accept simultaneous submissions. This site is also great because it can also filter out temporarily closed markets (for instance, we stop accepting submissions June 1 but will begin again on September 1).

If you go through the list you’ll find a lot of great journals that accept simultaneous submissions, magazines that have won many awards. But if you REALLY want to send your story to that no-simultaneous-submissions magazine, I suggest you follow their guidelines. That’s my opinion, but I’m sure there are others–

Do you follow the submission guidelines, or do you consider the guidelines largely ridiculous?