GreenPrints is the "Weeder's Digest," the only magazine that shares the personal side of gardening: the joy, the humor, the headaches, and the heart—in wonderful stories and beautiful art. I am always looking for great, true, personal stories. Please look at some issues and stories at www.greenprints.com before you submit to get a good feel for what we run. If you do submit, please provide your email, mailing address, and a few sentences about yourself.
Now, what do I want?
1) The best, personal (important word, that) garden writing I can get. Expressive, thoughtful, humorous, angry, contrite, flippant, searching, witty, observant, sad, inviting— whatever! We focus on the human, not how-to side of gardening. On the people as well as the plants. After all, gardening is a relationship, not a recipe. GreenPrints explores that relationship, not by instructing, preaching, or lecturing about it. Instead, we celebrate it . . . by sharing the stories and experiences we all have trying (and sometimes failing) to get along with plants.
Do you want to know a secret? The kind of garden writing Editor Pat most wants? That will win me over every time?
A Good STORY.
That’s it. A good, entertaining, clever, moving, funny story. One with, you know, a narrative. A plot. Where something happens—something remarkable, touching, unexpected, hilarious. Let me say it again: a good story. One you’d like to hear or read. Most especially, a true story. Something special that happened to you. That's the garden writing I most want.
And, please, try to show us the story, not tell us about it. Remember the old high-school English-class dictum: Show, don’t tell. Take us through the experiences with you with trenchant details and tight descriptions. Don’t say it was profound or funny or beautiful: make us experience the feelings. (Hint: dialogue is a good thing.) (Names, too, not just “my husband.”)
2) We’re not opposed to essays, but the good ones a) evolve directly from personal experience and b) offer new insights or at least new ways of expressing old insights. We’re not opposed to fiction, either, but don’t you agree that it should offer something special that the nonfiction stories we get don’t (i.e., don’t just imitate reality).
3) One thing for sure, we don’t want sappy, gooey writing. Tender, moving, poignant is wonderful. But syrupy garden writing is a big trap GreenPrints has to avoid. (Another is preachy. We can all read lectures and sermons other places, oui?)
4) Strong endings. Many, many, many times I send pieces back to say, “This peters out. The ending is weak, obvious, trite. Give me a creative, witty, forceful conclusion. Stop the piece with a wham, not a whimper.” A good ending (some of which make a clever reference back to the beginning) can lift a whole piece of garden writing a notch and make it end with an exclamation point of strength, instead of, well . . . just . . . fading . . . away . . .
5) Length? I don’t know. We’re digest-sized, so most pieces are no more than 2,000 words. But write what you have to.
6) Payment? Did you have to ask? We pay miserably; top payment is $150 and we often pay less. I apologize. You deserve more. We pay on acceptance, buy First North American Serial Rights (unless you’ve already published it somewhere else first; we’re happy to reprint garden writing pieces—as long as they’re good!).
Thank You. GreenPrints is a caring community of gardeners. It wouldn't be, though, without writers like you.
Pat Stone, Editor