Journal of the Virginia Writers Club 2022

Purpose of the Journal of The Virginia Writers Club

As part of its mission to support the art, craft, and business of writing, as well as advocate the literary arts in the greater Virginia community, the Journal offers its members the opportunity of displaying their excellence in fiction, poetry and nonfiction via an annual print and e-book edition. The Journal’s process and content reflect the organization’s mutual respect for individuals and organizations, exhibiting inclusion without discrimination to age, race, gender, sexual orientation, religion, national origin or disability.

General Submission guidelines:

Deadline for submissions: May 15, 2022.

Publication: Fall/Winter 2022.

(See each category below for guidelines specific to that category.)

Technical guidelines for submission.

Submissions will be accepted in the categories of fiction, nonfiction and poetry.

All entrants must be members in good standing of the Virginia Writers Club.

  • Manuscripts must be the original, unpublished work of the author.
  • Authors will submit no more than one entry per category of fiction, nonfiction, and poetry.
  • Fiction and nonfiction entries must be no longer than 3,500 words, including any notes, bibliographies or other supporting text. For poetry, submit up to 5 poems, or a maximum of 5 pages. For fiction and nonfiction, two submissions may be made.
  • Fiction and nonfiction entries should conform to the Chicago Manual of Style format.
  • Submissions must be in doc, docx or rtf format.
  • All pages must contain the title of the work. Also, in the header, include the author’s name and contact information, as well as page numbers.
  • Manuscripts must be in 12-point Times New Roman font. Page settings must be 8 ½ by 11-inch with one-inch margins.
  • Fiction and nonfiction manuscripts must be double-spaced, with a ragged right margin.
  • Poetry manuscripts must be single-spaced, double space between stanzas.
  • Submissions not in accord with format and other rules will be returned to the author to be brought into conformation with the rules.
  • No paper submissions will be accepted.

Please submit entries as attachments as follows.

            Poetry to: Sofia Starnes,

            Fiction to: James Reynolds,

            Nonfiction to: Paula Weiss,

➡️The name of the work should be the title of the attachment.

If you are writing under a pen name, please state so in the body of the email and include your actual name there.


We look for well-organized compositions, with unity among lines and stanzas, where every verse connects to the poem’s theme and leaves the reader with a strong lasting impression.

  • Speak to us in a clear, nuanced, engaging manner.
  • Show us control of writing conventions in a classical or contemporary manner meant to enhance meaning.
  • Regale us with vivid language. Present concrete sensory details that enable the reader to visualize events or experiences.
  • Use some or any of the poet’s tools: metaphor, simile, assonance, alliteration, hyperbole, lyricism, personification, onomatopoeia, among others.
  • Use traditional rhyme (internal or at lines’ ends) or free verse, as you wish. Either way, remember the element of cadence that is essential to good poetry.
  • Conjure the flow that is most beneficial to the poem. Let us hear its lilt.

In short, knock us out with your artistry!


Be a conveyor of truth as befits the genre.

The best works will feature an intriguing start that will encourage us to read more, will use fluid transitions to build a narrative, will finish with a thought-provoking or moving conclusion, and will use an appropriate tone to enhance the presentation. They will generally:

  • Employ convincing details, including descriptions of setting and characters likely to engage a reader.
  • Clearly delineate who, what, when, where, and how.
  • Give us rising action, climax, falling action, and resolution.

Additionally, they will usually do at least one of the following:

  • Present your unique voice or distinctive perspective, or an unexpected outcome.
  • Reinterpret events in a way that may cause a reader to think, ‘I hadn’t thought about it that way before.’
  • Give us fresh visualizations of an otherwise conventional scene.

Submissions should ordinarily adhere to style, spelling, and grammar conventions. They should:

  • Demonstrate command of grammar and usage.
  • Use words that are appropriate for the narrative.
  • Vary sentence structure and length.
  • Exceptions to these rules must be justified by the nature of the narrative, and not simply because you expect an editor to clean up the draft.


Let us gather round to hear your story.

Enthrall us with a well-organized and unified tale from start to finish. Use effective transitions.

  • Employ an appropriate tone.
  • Craft sentences that are fluid, interesting, and varied.
  • Include exposition, rising action, climax, falling action, and resolution.
  • Make your POV clear.
  • Use an appropriate mix of natural dialogue.
  • Show us conflict and tension.
  • Pace the story.
  • Engage us with authentic, memorable characters.

Demonstrate your mastery of grammar and spelling.

  • Use arresting vocabulary.
  • Let the language fit the context of the story.

Be original, fashioning a unique voice.

  • Draw us into your perspective.
  • Surprise us with the result.
  • Let us visualize the scene.

Above all, make sure your magic engages and connects with the reader.

Have us remember your tale long into the future!


Contact category editors for questions about your submissions.

  • Poetry to: Sofia Starnes,
  • Fiction to: James Reynolds,
  • Nonfiction to: Paula Weiss,
If you have general questions about the journal, contact Warren Groeger,

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