Greetings one and all,
As we close in on 500 stories, the time is ripe (indeed over-ripe) to re-visit our writers’ guidelines, to think about story length and themes and subjects.
A story of 800 words is still the maximum. Occasionally I may run a longer story but that’s only if it’s in absolute tip-top perfect shape and neither myself nor our assistant editor* has to touch a single word, comma, semi-colon, hyphen, phrase, sentence…
Generally, the shorter the stories the better. Even just half-a-dozen paragraphs. A few hundred words. For example, see stories by new writer Sophia Irvine. Or the length of this correspondence. (Just on 400 words.)
The mantra of ‘a song, a place, a time’ is still very much our guiding principle. I am open, though, to occasional pieces that may be observations or reflections about a song, rather than a narrative. For example, see David Oke’s piece about the song House Deposit and Jane Leonard’s piece about Baker Boy’s Music Is The Meditjin.
If you’re not telling a Stereo Story, you still need to have something to say. It is not enough just to, effectively, write ‘Wow, I love this song.’ Or ‘Yikes, this song is terrible.’ We’re not in that game.
It is not surprising that many, many of our stories are about songs from the 1970s and 1980s. That merely reflects the experiences of many contributors, including myself. (And, yes, our Twitter handle is @musicandmemoir.)
I urge you to take a chance and also write about contemporary songs by contemporary artists.
Or about music from ages ago.
Imagine the site as a magazine: room for feature stories, for regular contributors, for new voices. Room for poems and ruminations too. Photos every now and then. Room, always and only, for quality.
Stereo Stories is on track to publish its 500th story in late April. If you read the fine print of recent stories you’ll see we’re now numbering each story. Eight years ago, I thought, “Let’s see if we can get to 100 stories. That might be enough…”
Thank you, everyone, for your continuing creativity and generosity.
*Thank you also to my sister Louise Maskell for coming onboard as assistant editor in mid-2019. Louise has many years experience as a sub-editor and even more years as a very, very dedicated music lover.
If you’re new to writing or you’re looking for a refresher course in writing about music, head to YouTube for a seven-minute tutorial by Sherryl Clark, a very widely-published author, a writing teacher, and part of the extended Stereo Stories ensemble. Thank you, Sherryl.