All About Submissions for Issue 3.1

If you’re thinking “Wow, they’re open for submissions already?  The fall issue just came out!” Then you would be right.  We’re thinking the same thing. But such is the life of a journal, and we can’t wait to start reading submissions for issue 3.1, which is un-themed and will come out in spring 2020.  That’s right—2020!

To get your creative juices flowing and give you at least a little bit of insight into what we are looking for, each of the editors has shared a quick summary below of what they hope to read in submissions for issue 3.1!

Fiction:

I’m looking for creative and gripping tales that will haunt the confines of my thoughts. 

Art: 

We are trying something different for art! For this next issue, there will not be an art section, but instead you can submit your art to be featured on our front and back cover! Any type of art can be submitted, though truly unique pieces that play with colors and shock us with how beautiful this world can be, and what people can create, is what will get you accepted.

Nonfiction:

True stories work when two things happen: they keep you wondering how the story is going to end and they make you think or feel (or both.) I want to read stories that have both of these things and that keep my attention to the end, spark my sense of wondering if the tale is real, and strike a place of sympathy—let me know how much the story wants me to care. Bring on the truth! 

Poetry:

With any un-themed issue, I’m never quite sure what I’m looking for.  With un-themed editions there really are no rules, which is what makes them exciting.  As always, I’m looking for work that is exciting to read.  Work that twists and turns as I read each word, and work that plays with the absurdity that language can be.  Give me your crazy poems, your somber poems, your sappy love poems, but make sure that there’s something unexpected contained within the lines on the page.

We hope this helps get you started—we can’t wait to read what you submit.  Happy writing!

Issue 2.2, Corruption, is Out!

This is the third themed edition of borrowed solace, and we selected corruption. Our first theme journal was hinterlands, we picked it to navigate the unknown and uncharted literary places we were traversing since it was our first journal. To break apart the magic and meaning inside a word, to distort reality, to discover truth, to see if we could sail in our boat crafted from stars, space gems, and sparkly dreams or would we be engulfed in the flames of a falling meteorite and sink to the bottomless sea. Home was the second theme because home is supposed to be solace, though we quickly learned home for others can mean a house filled with lies and monsters, courage and love, walls that can turn colors and morph, and inner dragons that can lead us off cliffs to go home. Places that once felt like home are now just somewhere to sleep, smells to define us to others, and we discovered that those who we live with can either bring us joy or pain.

Corruption involves both of these themes to their core. We want to discover the truth behind the lies that lead people to their demise. Corruption is often uncharted but easily accused of and hard to battle. Lies, monsters, and pain are what brings corruption to life. What is a person willing to give, willing to change, willing to embrace for something more, for something we didn’t have before in ways and with decisions we wouldn’t normally make or things we wouldn’t say or think.

You don’t have to dress like Batman or Robin to fight corruption and crime, but if you are like me and donned a cape to read these stories, poems, and embrace art; as always I employ you to read with an open soul that can be filled by borrowed solace seas.

I, with Amber and Addey, thank you for being a part of our little legion of lowercase letters.

Thank you for reading, contributing, and supporting us.  We wouldn’t be here without you!

Writerly Inspirations: August Thirtieth

Happy Friday! This week on the blog we have another collaborative piece you can take with you into the holiday weekend.

Addey and I collaborated on a poem (poems are easier to write collaboratively it seems!) that you can read below.

To concoct this poem, Addey and I texted lines back and forth (we stole the idea from the poem Amber and Addey wrote a few weeks ago). It’s a fun way to get some inspiration if you’re feeling a little bit stuck–you never know where a poem or story is going to go when using this method, and usually it’s not where you would expect!

Try collaborating with a writer friend and see how your separate inspirations combine into one creative work, and check out our poem below!

Sleepwalker

by Nicole McConnell and Addey Vaters

What does it mean?

When you dream about someone–

someone lost to the dark abyss?

And no gravity exists to pull you to the light.

A light that glistens on broken shards of mirror

like the stars had fallen from the sky.

The sky might as well have fallen down–

it should have, but you held up the sky as every

night I dreamed to have your strength–

prayed that the falling stars would give me peace,

because every day I have to wake without you.

On Tropes

So the editors and I, while in a design meeting for the upcoming fall journal, got to talking about Hunger Games. I have read only two of the three books because, to me, they were a dry and slow read. Except for when the author would speed up during the beginning and ending, the prose was slow, and used a lot of tropes. Our talk about books didn’t stop there, as the Twilight series, the Mortal Instruments series, the Throne of Glass series, and so many more rely on the “love triangle” trope. I didn’t really care for the love triangle in Hunger Games, but when I went to finally watch the movies just few a weeks ago, I watched the trope play out on screen. I’m still struggling to figure out if I like the book or the movie better, but that is for another discussion. Addey, Amber, and I agree that some tropes right now are overdone in both books and movies/television.

Tropes, as we writers and readers know, are common underlying subplots to a story–building blocks to the main thread that help develop characters. If you look up writing tropes that are over done, “love triangle” is usually always the first one listed. Why? What makes people like reading about love triangles, and why do writers feel they have to write tropes?

I went to a workshop about putting clever twists on common tropes and here is what I learned: tropes are proven concepts that readers will read, but nevertheless they are common and overused. It really is a shortcut a writer can use to describe the subplot. But, tropes can also be a sort of useful tool. Tropes are a way to express an idea to an audience, and every genre can have tropes that fit just within that particular genre.

What tropes really do as building blocks is set up internal conflict and tie the theme to the story. It can help the log line, pitch, hook, and blurb because these tropes can be used as phrases or keywords for easier searches for readers which might sell more books.

Now here is the kicker–the twisted part to make a common trope yours. Play with “what if;” what aspects can be changed. I think this is why Hunger Games did so well–because the idea, the story, the conflict, was so original and different, it intrigued other readers and writers. And now, like Addey said in our conversation, the idea of Hunger Games is no longer original as other writers have used the idea for inspiration.

So, what about the setting can be unique to your world, the occupation of the hero, the time period the action takes place in, give the readers an unusual focus, or use all of these things. Try to take a trope in the genre you usually write, and then twist it with “what if” and see what you come up with. Try mixing tropes together, torture the hero or heroine with the trope, interplay with an archetype, look at tropes while watching TV or watching a movie, and see what you would do differently with the tropes used.

For some more information and a bunch of links for other help on tropes, visit the following sites:

Really Useful Links for Writers: Tropes and Clichés

14 Popular Fantasy Tropes — And How to Make Them Feel New Again

Romance Tropes

Genre Tropes

Happy troping!

Six Word Prompt: A Girl and A Lion

Write a story or poem and tell a tale but in six words–of where this little girl came from; where she is going; if the lion she is dragging is really a stuffed animal or if it protects the little girl from monsters at night; or if the lion teaches the girl to be a little princess warrior by day and night. What adventures has that road carried them on? Whatever sparks the ignition, use it to write about this girl and her lion. 

Please comment below with your six word story or poem.

An Update on Corruption!

Take a peek inside the next edition to hear about to the selections and finalists from the editors…

Nonfiction — guest editor Nicole McConnell:

I am filling in for an editor and reading, selecting, and editing nonfiction pieces. I have read selections for previous editions to help with the volume of fiction and poetry. I also worked for a journal in college for a semester and I helped with the nonfiction section, so I have some experience. But, like all corruption in general, with some of the stories submitted, I couldn’t tell if they were real or fake, or how much was real and how much was creative license at work. Nonetheless, the stories that I selected are probably different from the style picked by Nicole Taylor, which will make for an interesting edition. I hope you pray, laugh, cry, understand, and are amazed by the wonderful stories of those whose lives have been corrupted by something. Read about one girl who believes in God once, how elements in a man’s life can be broken down into moments, how a girl lied, how a girl will always be the outlier of her family, and how an angel in red will always be there…

Fiction — Amber Porter:

This journal’s selection ranges from shady business practices, to the corrosion of the human self, and many things in between. While some stories may not appear to be slathered in corruption, there are corrupt hints and inklings spread throughout each piece. I hope you enjoy these seven pieces and the corruption that lies deep beneath their written words.

Poetry — Addey Vaters:

I am so excited for our readers to see what’s in store for issue 2.2!  Even though our themed editions are sometimes hard to edit due to the overarching theme that must be included in each accepted piece, I thought we had some amazing submissions this time around.  The poetry section will have some wonderful takes on corruption — corruption of the soul, of natural beauty, of perceptions — and as always includes some frivolous plays on language.  Readers will get to see work from new writers who have never appeared in the journal before, as well as poems written by memorable poets who have graced the pages of borrowed solace in the past.  Corruption is a conflicted issue with such beautiful language talking about such dark things, but I’m eager for issue 2.2 to get out into the world!

Art – Karen and Nicole McConnell:

Art has been a surprise. In the past, there has been great art, but for this journal there has been amazing art! The artists who submitted really took off with the theme of corruption. This journal, there is unique art that we never published before like interesting collages, different views of people, landscapes, the environment, and the corrupted world surrounding us. My mom and I aren’t going to say too much as we want this journal to be a bit of a surprise like it was for us!

Please stay tuned for the list of stories, poems, and artists who will be featured in issue 2.2 and even more to come as this corrupted edition is being pieced together…

An Interview with the Art Editor

Since we have a special guest art editor for issue 2.2, this week we are featuring an interview with Karen so you can learn more about her. Remember, we are still accepting art (and all other submissions) until July 1st!

NM: Do you think talent for art is a talent born with, or learned?

KM: I believe imagination and creativity is something that you’re born with. Some people are just way more creative than others. I also do believe talent for certain kinds of art is also something someone is born with. Take our family for example — my mother and father are both great artists. As kid I drew a lot and was great at landscapes. I did try creating portraits but they were never my thing, I just didn’t have a knack for them, but my father did. He can draw a face out of thin air, or replicate a photo of a person in no time and it will be perfect. I like to draw nature and broad areas from a sweeping view — where can the eye take me in my artwork? Where is the focus of the lens zooming in and out of focus in my eye? Answering these questions are the things I had talents for.

Now, I am not saying that art can’t be learned. Many people who want to draw, paint, craft, and sculpt can learn those skills. But to create art takes imagination that some people naturally have more of.

NM: What type of art do you like best?

KM: I used to as a kid draw and paint landscapes. In my young adult years, I liked to use acrylic paint and sculpt. Now, in my older adult years, l like to craft. I like to make mesh wreaths out of a few items and let the contrast of colors and this other form of sculpting take me to a new creative place. I also like to make centerpieces, basically any custom floral craft you can find at Michaels or Hobby Lobby, I love doing those myself. I display them around my home, give some to you, Nicole, and help my mother make them for churches or nursing homes and for people to proudly display on their doors, tables, and in their homes. Watching people be amazed with what I can create from wire, flowers, decorative wood, mason jars, lights, and floral picks is what makes me the most happy!

NM: So for this journal so far, what do you think of our art submissions?

KM: I am truly amazed by some of the artwork that was submitted. I wasn’t really sure what it would be like when you asked me to help as the art editor, but now that I have seen the artwork myself, I can say wow. Some of the collages are so interesting, it takes a few moments to see all that is going on. The artwork for the theme of corruption has truly made some lasting impressions on me and it’s amazing to see what people can do with art, pictures, and photography, so please, keep up the good work!

Hone in on Your Creativity!

Experience art once a month to gain creativity!

Some places to go:

Museum

Concert

To see a film

Theater

Local monuments

National parks

State parks

Go for a hike

A festival

Some place magical

Don’t just go and look at paintings or try to find art—feel art, it will find you. Embrace the emotions. Study the craft. 

Any artist knows it takes hard work, patience, silence, a flood of emotions, or a lack of emotions, and sooo much time to create—and it helps if you have natural talent. And if you don’t, the great thing about art is everyone can do it at any level. I learned how to paint like I learned how to ride a bike (both of which, I learned from my father).

So, think about the passion—where does the artist’s love of art come from, the technique—are they self-taught or professionally taught, the sacrifice art takes—working a full-time job could mean art is clocking in during personal time (unless you get to create art for your job, in which case I envy you).

Artists learn from other artists, in my opinion, just as writers learn from other writers. So, how can experiencing art once a month help you?

Writers can learn to walk into a painting. A character from a play can inspire a creation of your own. Music expresses more ways to say things in beautiful ways like poetry, since writing song lyrics is a form of poetry. Every writer can learn something from art. I am a painter, and what I feel and what I want to say I can conveying through a painting.

So when I go to an art festival, I carry around a small pocket book. I jot down what I see—colors, shapes, animals, animated people, clothes people are wearing, face paint on children, the Ferris wheel turning high in the sky, and the type of art I would like to recreate but differently and in my own style. I take these creative notes home and I can write by using them as prompts, or start a painting by trying to imitate the Ferris wheel as a clock with the people in the little buckets as the numbers.

While sitting at an art museum, I sit in front of a painting and use it as my muse to write a story. What kind of world would that painting be, what characters would exist there, and I attempt to give the story the tone the painting gives in the form of emotion.

Or while hiking, sit down to sketch the chipmunks chasing each other. Or write a story about how the leaves of trees whisper to each other.

The greatest inspiration for me is when I am connected to mother nature because she teaches us what beauty in art is after all.

Submissions Update

We have barely a month left of open submissions, so we thought we would check-in to see how it is going with each editor.

From our poetry editor:

Submissions for borrowed solace issue 2.2 are intriguing, as always!  I love our themed editions because it adds another layer to whatever I am reading — corruption seems to be a theme that everyone found inspirational, but I would love to see even more poems that adhere to this theme.

From our fiction editor:

Submissions are going, reading through lots of interesting stories, but one thing is lacking; the theme. No one quite hits the theme for me, but I still have hope as I continue to work my way through submissions.

From our art editor:

There has been some awesome art this time around, the only problem is there isn’t enough art to go around. So, please submit more art that you find unique and corrupt at it’s being. 

From our nonfiction editor:

I am finding the same thing as Amber to be true, a lot of good stories, but hardly any that relate to the theme of Corruption. With almost a month left until submissions close, there are still so many possibilities that could come my way.

What is important to remember is we love publishing both unpublished writers as well as well-seasoned writers who are always working to develop their craft, and it is wonderful to see the ideas and stories people come up with. We enjoy reading the interesting lives of other people and experiencing the beauty that inspires them to create art or take a photo.

We want to enforce the theme a little more, corruption is with us every day through people around us, the news, the media, and even crime happening outside your window at this very moment. We want to read more of these things and we appreciate every submission we get. We are still, honestly, shocked by who submits to our journal and how many submissions we get. So even if you are turned away, please try again, because in this corrupt world you never know.

-editors, borrowed solace

An Editor Update

Please help me welcome someone new to the team of editors: Karen McConnell, who will now serve as our guest art editor. I interviewed her to dive more into her tastes and preferences, and it has definitely been interesting. Her favorite part about art is the storytelling, what kind of words can be used to describe a single photo, moment, or life on canvas. She admires a piece she can walk into, and take a moment to connect with emotions, thoughts, or memories that come flying at her. She likes art that leaves her with an impression. Photography that makes her feel like she is in the picture. And anything inviting her into the artist’s mind or life.

Why was she cast into our borrowed solace kingdom?  It is directly related to her experience. Having her art work displayed before and published in Fall 2018 borrowed solace, her life is a creative one. Creativity and making art runs in her veins. Karen’s mother also is very creative and in the past owned a ceramic shop for more than 20 years and sold those creations at local festivals and fairs. Karen is also my mother.  I remember as a child she had to help out at the store by making dolls and dinnerware. At the festivals, my cousins and I would play and go on adventures around the parks and downtown while our mothers worked the stalls. Every year when I was younger, aunts, cousins, friends, and anyone who wanted to come could go to the Christmas crafting party. Ornaments to hang on the tree were made. To this day, crafting parties for my grandmother’s church, for local nursing homes, shops, family’s homes, and craft festivals are when my mother’s family gets together to create any and everything.

The new thing in art that my mother and I are both trying is diamond painting art. If you haven’t tried this already, I forewarn you, it is addictive. For those of you who don’t know what it is, you can buy them on amazon for cheap, but it is a canvas with an image you pixel in with tiny rhinestones. My mother’s first adventure into this is one good angel and one dark angel to represent the light and dark of the world. My first adventure is the little mermaid sitting on her famous rock under the moon. It is addicting because you can’t stop at one rhinestone or two or three, you have to do half of the damn thing! Even then, when your eyes need a break, it’s hard to tear yourself away from how the art will turn out and the fact that it is not finished. But nonetheless, art is something that keeps Karen on her toes, since creativity is one thing that the world has lots of left to still explore. She is excited to review all of the art that is submitted to the upcoming journal.