Submission Guidelines

  • Refer to genre guidelines in the specific submission project.
  • If your work contains violence, sexual or mental abuse, sexual assault, etc., please put a content warning or trigger warning above that specific piece--we would just like a little warning. Abusive pieces written from an obviously celebratory perspective will be rejected.

Our readers and editors read new submissions carefully. It usually takes 3-4 months for us to get back to you (unless otherwise noted), although we try to respond faster than that if we can. All of our staff are full-time graduate students at Kansas State University, and we appreciate your patience with our review process.

Touchstone is dedicated to creating a safe platform for publication for our new writers & artists. Black, Indigenous, & POC, women, LGBTQIA, diversely-abled, international writers, & other underrepresented voices are cordially welcome to find a home for your work with us!

“For sale: baby shoes. Never worn.” - generally attributed to Ernest Hemingway

We’ve all heard that brevity is the soul of wit—but can it be the soul of storytelling? According to author Robert Swartswood, coiner of the term “hint fiction,” it can. Swartswood defines hint fiction, a subgenre of flash fiction that is steadily rising in popularity, as “a story of twenty-five words or fewer that suggests a larger, more complex story.” Like a photograph, a work of hint fiction "snapshots" a full story for readers to wonder at. Writing within such strict confines of form challenges writers to stoke their readers’ imaginations with only the few short sentences at their disposal, fostering a uniquely collaborative storytelling experience that asks readers to fill in the blanks.

This Hint Fiction Project is seeking (very, very) short stories that intrigue, surprise, and delight—and hint at something more. All genres are welcome, as long as they adhere to the rules of the form: your hint fiction submission must be twenty-five words or fewer, including the title.

Questions? Curious about hint fiction? Want to read some examples of the form? You can learn more about hint fiction in the articles linked below:

This Fiction publication opportunity has a short submission window, which will allow us to get back to you in a few short weeks. You will receive a response from us by the end of October, and if selected, your piece will be published on our website in the first week of November. Pieces selected for publication will be digitally published by Touchstone.

All subs will be read by Touchstone’s Fiction Team, but if your piece isn’t selected for publication, don’t lose hope! We want to see you keep writing, and if you have more writing available, consider checking out our Submittable page, where we will be accepting general Fiction submissions as of September 23, in addition to Poetry, Creative Nonfiction, and Art. You can also visit our website to read our Spring 2021 issue!

Submission Guidelines:

  • Submission period: September 19th - October 22
  • Pieces submitted should be no longer than 25 words, including the title.
  • 12-point font, preferably in Times New Roman or Garamond. Please do not include your name or title in the header line of your piece. Unless needed for emphasis, fiction pieces should be double-spaced and adhere to general fiction formatting.
  • Include a brief cover letter and a third-person bio of between 25-75 words in the cover letter box. A paragraph or two will suffice--just tell us a bit about you beyond your work.
  • Simultaneous submissions are welcome, but please let us know in advance if your work has been accepted elsewhere.
  • If your piece contains sensitive material (i.e. sexual or mental abuse, violence, sexual assault, self-harm, etc.), please establish a content warning, either in the cover letter box or before the piece itself. Pieces that explore these topics in problematic ways (celebratory or otherwise) will be rejected.
  • At the moment, we accept stories primarily written in English.
  • $5 donation per submission. 100% of your donation will go toward supporting our magazine (Submittable fees, website domain, etc).
Touchstone Literary Magazine